As a 21-year-old mama, I’m so proud to be breastfeeding my baby girl

From the moment I received a positive pregnancy test, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I read up on breastfeeding and this really helped me understand more about what it would involve and the benefits it would bring. However, due to being large chested and having flat nipples, I really needed help and support to get breastfeeding off to a good start. This is my story as a young breastfeeding mama.

I read up all I could about breastfeeding

I knew from the second that the test came back positive I wanted to breastfeed, however, I had absolutely no idea where to start. None of my family breastfed so I wasn’t too sure where to look for support. I went on to do my own research then I came across a few groups on Facebook which have honestly been my godsend!

None of my family breastfed so I wasn’t too sure where to look for support.

To begin with, I had no idea of the benefits of breastfeeding. All I knew was that it was free and saves me money on bottles and formula – as well as less washing up (because let’s be honest, who likes washing up?!).

When I really looked into breastfeeding I came across all the other benefits it has. I discovered the difference between colostrum and ‘milk’ and how every single feed is different because your milk adapts to your baby’s individual needs. It really is incredible stuff and I’m genuinely shocked people say formula is just as good! Does formula create antibodies? I don’t think so.

Hypermesis made pregnancy tough

I had a really rough pregnancy. I suffered from hyperemesis up until a month after giving birth. I was really worried that because I was so ill I wasn’t going to produce anything to be able to feed, however this is where the lack of education and support comes in. Ultimately I knew that I could still have a successful journey.

After being induced due to pre-eclampsia, I gave birth to my beautiful baby daughter Harlow in hospital. When it came time to feed her I had no clue what to do.

Midwives said the latch was good, but I was so sore

I am fairly large chested and have flat nipples so it wasn’t as simple as just bringing baby to the boob. I had one really lovely lady in the hospital who helped me latch after giving birth and I just knew this was for me.

I am fairly large chested and have flat nipples so it wasn’t as simple as just bringing baby to the boob.

After that, I had a couple of midwives who came to assess my latch in hospital. They said it was good and that was it. Due to giving birth in the middle of a pandemic help was even more sparse than before.

We went home the day after Harlow was born. On day 3 we had the midwives come to us and again I was told my latch was fine and I was doing a good job. However, by this point, my nipples were blistered and bleeding, and feeding was so painful

The online support groups were my biggest support

This is when I went and dived into the Facebook groups. I search for posts that related to my issues, I listened to what people had to say and I really do believe doing that is what kept me going in the tough days. These groups gave more support in one conversation than the two weeks post-birth I was under midwife care.

I found comfort in the rugby hold position and using the flipple technique. Soon my nipples healed and I really do believe the help I had online is why I’m still breastfeeding over 6 months later.

As a young breastfeeding mama, I am so proud

I haven’t had the most difficult journey but as a 21-year-old who had no support or guidance, I’m so incredibly proud of my journey. I’m proud she latched right away. I’m proud she only lost 1oz of her birth weight. I’m proud I have the confidence to feed and share my story publicly. I’m just immensely proud overall.

Harlow and I are six and half months into our breastfeeding journey now and still going strong! I love breastfeeding and there are so many benefits for us both…not to mention how much money I’ve actually saved as well!

I haven’t had the most difficult journey but as a 21 year old who had no support or guidance I’m so incredibly proud of my journey.

My advice for others starting out on their journey

I’ve actually spoken to a good few people about my journey and have helped others along the way and my words of wisdom would be

  • ENJOY IT – time goes by so quickly and rough periods really don’t last and it’s not forever.
  • IT DOES GET EASIER – I’m proof of this!
  • SEEK SUPPORT WHEN YOU NEED IT – people stop breastfeeding because of the lack of support so make sure you get support from an IBCLC, support group or friend/family member when you need it. 
  • FREQUENT WAKING IS NORMAL – do not let people tell you that babies waking in the night and cluster feeding isn’t normal because it is. They are babies they wake up for feeding, for comfort, for many things (look into the 4th trimester)
  • CLUSTER FEEDING DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE LOW SUPPLY – it’s baby’s way of upping your supply to meet their needs – it’s not a sign of low milk supply. More milk removed means more milk made.
  • YOU’VE GOT THIS – it’s a beautiful journey and you’ll thank yourself for not giving up.

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