I always knew that breastfeeding was best for baby but it wasn’t until I did a pregnancy breastfeeding class with my first baby that I found out exactly why. Not only was it amazing for baby, but for mother too. I have ulcerative colitis and breastfeeding is proven to help prevent gastro problems. This is one of the many reasons I went on to feed all three of my daughters.
Three girls, three different breastfeeding journey’s
I fed my first daughter Phoebe for seven months, stopping because I thought I had to. At the time I was experiencing a flare-up of my ulcerative colitis and I was told to stop feeding her due to the medication I needed to be on. I later found out this wasn’t the case which upset me.
My second daughter Violet fed until a week after her second birthday. I am currently feeding my third daughter Margot who is now two years old.
I was experiencing a flare-up of my ulcerative colitis and I was told to stop feeding her due to the medication I needed to be on.Rachael
Margot calls them ‘ba bas’
Margot is very vocal and when she wants ‘ba bas’ (her name for my boobs and milk!) and it’s very hard to distract her! But it’s lovely to have to take the time to stop what you are doing to have those cuddles with an older child as they often come off for a chat!
The only thing is Margot isn’t a big fan of drinking any other fluids which puts a little more pressure on me, especially if it’s a warm day as I’m always concerned about her becoming dehydrated.
An ulcerative colitis flare up left me hospitalised
Just recently, I was admitted to hospital with my ulcerative colitis. It turned out that I got food poisioning from a KFC I’d eaten and that flared up my condition. I ended up in hospital for nine days and it was horrible to be separated from all my girls, particularly Margot. I was so weak from what happened that a nurse had to hold the breast pump for me whilst I expressed milk. In my absence my husband was able to give Margot milk off a spoon, as that’s the only way she would take it.
I wasn’t sure what would happen when I got home but Margot asked for ba bas as soon as she saw me and I couldn’t refuse. The bond breastfeeding gives you with your child is beyond anything you could imagine, and with an older child who can clearly ask for milk, it’s extra special to bring them that comfort too.
The next challenge was breastfeeding with Covid-19
Having just got over my ulcerative colitis flare-up, it wasn’t long before I was knocked off my feet again – this time with Covid-19. My husband had it first and then me. Throughout my diagnosis and being ill I’ve continued to feed Margot and she has been perfectly fine. She didn’t get any symptoms – none of my girls did, thankfully. I’m feeling much better now but still waiting to regain my sense of taste and smell.
Throughout my diagnosis and being ill I’ve continued to feed Margot and she has been perfectly fine.Rachael
Breastfeeding long-term can be so rewarding
This year has proved challenging in more ways than one but I’m glad to still be breastfeeding my little girl now that she is two. It solves so many problems; if she’s tired, thirsty, hurt herself, scared etc, breastfeeding can solve all of those and more!!
I never ever thought I’d be feeding well past one year, or even two years, but when I look at my girls’ healthy skin and hair while they are feeding I realise I am responsible for those things too! It fills me with such pride.
For anyone thinking of breastfeeding longer term, I’d say not to overthink it or worry. It can be very rewarding. Plus, I still enjoy a glass of wine so don’t think you need to stop living your life if you feed for longer either!
What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes the colon and rectum to be become inflamed.
According to the NHS the main symptoms of ulcerative colitis are:
- recurring diarrhoea, which may contain blood, mucus, or pus
- tummy pain
- needing to empty your bowels frequently
1-7 December is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week. You can find more information on the Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness group on Facebook.
Would you like to inspire and empower other mamas by sharing your own breastfeeding story? Sign up today to add your story! We’d love to hear from you.