My breastfeeding journey began almost two years ago now. When I was pregnant I was determined I wanted to breastfeed as I didn’t with my eldest and always regretted it. I did lots of research and spoke to other Mummas who had or were currently breastfeeding to get a range of experiences, tips and advice. I also spoke to my midwives at appointments about anything I needed to know. Finding out things through social media great too and watching YouTube videos was also helpful. I decided not to buy any bottles as a potential fallback, I wanted to go all in and give it my best shot.
I was so relieved to have a positive birth, after a traumatic past experience
I’d had a traumatic birth with my first baby which I do believe impacted why I didn’t breastfeed her. Thankfully my second birth was a totally different and really positive experience. It was quick, I had no pain relief and honestly felt great afterwards.
I could not wait to feed her. I remember asking the midwife if I could and she of course said, she’s your baby you go ahead. So I put her to my breast and she instinctively knew what to do. She latched on with ease and I cried with happiness and relief. I knew we were going to do this together.
To begin with, we had some latch issues
For me, the start of breastfeeding definitely wasn’t easy. We ended up having some latch issues and I had extremely sore and cracked nipples but I didn’t want to give up. I reached out for support wherever I could and I was so lucky I had an amazing midwife who came and sat with me at home. She observed me feeding and helped me adjust positions.
I also had a great health visitor who was a breastfeeding expert. She came and checked for tongue tie and again helped me with positioning and getting the latch right. I went to breastfeeding groups too which was great, meeting other breastfeeding Mums and accessing great support and information.
We ended up having some latch issues and I had extremely sore and cracked nipples but I didn’t want to give up.
The hardest part was hearing the unwanted opinions of others
Some things I found tough in the early stages were feeding in public. I was always so nervous about it but got over pretty quickly. Now I will literally feed anywhere without a second thought. I also found cluster feeding hard with having another child. I did feel a lot of guilt for the amount of time breastfeeding took and that I wasn’t giving my eldest the attention she deserved or needed but she was so great at understanding. The nights were hard as it was only me doing every single night feed and only me able to settle her. We ended up co-sleeping and feeding lying down which was a godsend for us.
The final thing I found hard was the noise and opinions from others which I just tried hard to block out and go with my heart. I kept getting told she’d sleep better if I gave her a bottle or I’d get a break if someone else could feed her but it wasn’t what I wanted. It’s ok to stick to a decision and still say it’s hard, because it is! It doesn’t mean you want or need to change anything if you’re happy with it.
I kept getting told she’d sleep better if I gave her a bottle or I’d get a break if someone else could feed her but it wasn’t what I wanted.
I just love nurturing my baby in the most natural way
There are things I just adored about breastfeeding right from the start. I could go on and on about it! The closeness, the bond, nurturing my baby in the most beautiful and natural way. The way she’d look up at me while feeding and then slowly close her eyes and fall asleep. Her little hand resting on my breast, the cheeky smile poking through while feeding. The instant calmness breastfeeding bought to her even if she’d been so unsettled and upset beforehand.
Also I just loved the convenience of breastfeeding. No preparing bottles or worrying about taking bottles when you go out, just whack a boob out and you’re all good.
I’m now experiencing a weaning toddler
We are currently still breastfeeding at 22 months although Claudia has now naturally night weaned which I’ve been filled with emotions about. I will definitely miss those snuggles and night feeds. She still feeds in the day time, she’s never been the best eater and has always preferred milk but she’s getting there with her eating now and definitely asks a lot less for “boo boo” (her name for breastfeeding). I’m currently doing ‘don’t offer, don’t refuse’, so I don’t offer a feed but if she asks I let her whenever she wants still. I’m a big advocate for child led weaning/natural term weaning.
I honestly never thought I’d be feeding an almost two year old. When I started I had the idea in my head that they turn one and you just stop but for us (and for many others) that just isn’t the case. Claudia was still utterly obsessed with breastfeeding when she turned one and I knew there would be no chance of her stopping any time soon, so I just went with it. Pushing aside outside judgement I’ve continued to feed her on demand and I’ve shared and talked about our journey online which I’m so proud of.
Claudia was still utterly obsessed with breastfeeding when she turned one and I knew there would be no chance of her stopping any time soon, so I just went with it.
I’d always recommend a new mama follows their instincts
To anyone thinking about breastfeeding or at the start of your journey or maybe struggling in any way, the one thing I would say is always follow your instincts. You know what’s best for you and your baby. Get support, surround yourself with likeminded people whether online or in real life, speak to professionals who can help you. Educate yourself, read books or online articles, follow breastfeeding social media content.
Remember there’s no one right way, we’re all just finding our own way. Also, reward yourself! I’ve bought myself little breastfeeding pins when we’ve reached certain milestones. Pat yourself on the back and remember what an amazing thing you’re doing for your baby. Take hundreds of photos and videos because trust me they grow so fast and you’ll want them to look back on, especially when they’re not feeding as much anymore and eventually stop one day. Treasure every moment, every feed for what it is, a truly amazing and wonderful experience.
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