My sister gave birth to her fourth child just two and a half weeks after I gave birth to our first. What great timing! I’d seen her breastfeed all three previous children and so to me, it was a totally normal part of motherhood.
When it actually started for me, I felt I knew very little about how to do it. The midwife helped with the first latch, but after that we were pretty much on our own. I expected the baby to wake when she was hungry but she just slept and slept.
Thankfully, there are so many wonderful places and people who are offering support, we were able to continue our journey with success.
I looked for help and support straight away
She only fed about 3 times from being born to getting home the same evening and then the symptoms of jaundice began. I wish I had read up about feeding before she was born to avoid this from happening. The health visitor arrived the next day and spoke to us about frequency of feeds and to wake her if she was asleep and it was time. “Never wake a sleeping baby” was running through my head and that was the first time I realised that you can’t believe everything you read, or listen to every bit of advice; you have to go with what is important and right for you and your family at the right time.
Thankfully, there are so many wonderful places and people who are offering support, we were able to continue our journey with success. Thanks to Koala on the Wirral and resources shared by Bambis in Liverpool, I was able to adjust my latch so any pain just disappeared.
Cluster feeding was the hardest for me
The hardest days for me were the cluster feeding days. The thing is, you don’t know it’s going to be a cluster day until you’re in it. There I was, planning to get the garden path weeded, but baby was feeding every 2 hours and each feed was 1.5hrs long.
I felt drained, exhausted, like I couldn’t get anything done and then I felt immense guilt. Why should I want to get anything else done other than nourish my baby? After reading about cluster feeding, I realised it was just baby’s way of cleverly adjusting my supply to her needs and the cluster feeding days never last. So now I just accept my fate on the couch and enjoy the excuse to stay put!
I’ve never had any negative comments while I’ve fed my baby in public but that’s all down to my sister and seeing her feed with such confidence. She’s my hero!
Breastfeeding in public
There were some interesting questions from family members “how long will you feed her for?” “Is she feeding again?” “When will you try a bottle?” “What about going back to work?” But I knew most of them came from curiosity rather than judgement. When I started meeting friends out, it became apparent that it would be really handy to know what places were like before we committed, and so the idea for my Instagram page “Where’s Breast to Go?” was born!
Through this page, I’ve chatted to so many mums and become part of such a supportive community, it’s become clear that talking about breastfeeding and showing myself breastfeeding out and about is so important in supporting and empowering other mums. Thankfully, I’ve never had any negative comments while I’ve fed my baby in public but that’s all down to my sister and seeing her feed with such confidence. She’s my hero!
I plan to breastfeed as long as I can and as long as baby wants, but as I’m returning to work very soon I will have to pump for her daily feeds. Thankfully I will be home in time for the last feed of the day which is my absolute favourite. After being away from her all day, it’s our moment to reconnect, relax and recharge. There is no better feeling than snuggling up at the end of the day and watching my baby fall asleep on a full belly.
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