Breastfeeding… where do I even begin. I suppose a good start would be from the first time that I attempted to get Henry latched.
I had watched so many videos of baby led latching straight after birth so I new it was something I wanted to attempt to do as soon as he was born.
Once he was placed on my chest I already had my bra behind my head and both boobs out ready for my baby to find his way to my nipple, little did I know that it wasn’t going to be quiet as easy as what I had watched. I gave him some guidance and tried to hold my nipple in a position he could reach… still no luck. He was pretty content so I wasn’t concerned that we was starving. Then sure enough over came a midwife and asked if I needed help… here is where I might be different to a lot of people, I was more than happy for her to intervene and show me her secrets of getting the first latch. She helped him to find my nipple and once he was on he seemed content so I thought that was it!! I’m a pro breast feeder but funny thing was that this was just the beginning of a 5 month journey for us.
In those first few days of being at the hospital I had many midwifes grab my boobs and Henry’s head and try position them correctly. So many times I was asked… “how does that feel?”, “you’ll know when it’s right because it won’t hurt”, but anyone who has breastfed before knows that in the early days everything hurts, even if the latch is right it still hurts. Until your nips turn to stone they hurt, they get little blood blisters, get pinched into weird shapes and by day three your milk comes in and it feels like your whole breast has turned to rock. (For anyone reading this that hasn’t got kids, don’t let this scare you. I swear breastfeeding has been one of the most incredible things I’ve ever done).
Henry and I had a rough time with our breastfeeding experience shortly after my milk came in. He was a fussy baby at the breast, constantly pulling off and on which in turn made him a gassy baby. Eventually after I wore out Google I came across a random suggested post on Facebook which led me to a page about tongue ties.
I had Henry checked by multiple people locally who couldn’t see an obvious tie but to me I knew something wasn’t right.
A trip to Sydney and little snip and he was a changed baby!!!!! For the very first time after 12 weeks of hell trying to feed my little man, he finally fed until he fell asleep…. my baby was MILK DRUNK. I dreamt of this happening as for us as most breastfeeding sessions ended in tears from both parties and the use of a dummy to help calm and burp the little guy. So to have Henry fall asleep at the breast was the most incredible thing I had experienced. It brought me to tears.
Breastfeeding has its ups and downs but amongst all of this there are some amazing times and it’s not until your breastfeeding journey ends that you realise how special it all was and how a mothers instinct is always right. I was so close to changing to bottles when Henry was born but I knew deep down he wanted to feed from the breast but something was stopping him. Sure enough it was a tongue tie.
The funny thing is once he became a pro at feeding from the breast another bump in the road of motherhood hit us and breast refusal was upon us yet again. Yes it could have been the occasional bottle here and there that caused him to prefer a bottle feed but most likely it just came with his age. Around 4-5months it’s really common for babies to get fussy at the breast again. In some cases it’s your period returning (which was me…ugh I nearly think getting your period back is worse than labour), others it might be the mini pill kicking in and they also just get distracted at this age and would rather look around at the world instead of calmly feed from you. During this time a lot of mothers question themselves and their supply rather than just realising it’s a phase. For me… I was already contemplating changing to formula anyway and when he started refusing the breast I don’t think I was mentally prepared to go through with it all again. Changing to bottle feeding was a tough choice but the right one for us.
Sadly I gave Henry his last breastfeed only 6 days ago at his normal 2am wake up. At the time I had no idea it would be the last, even though I had been debating changing to bottles fully and I had been mix feeding for a few weeks.
I feel sad that I didn’t cherish the moment more but I’m also glad I didn’t know it was the last time because if I had of known I probably would have been a blubbering mess.
I’m already counting down the days that I hopefully get to breastfeed again, as there is something so special about being someone’s sole source of nourishment and creating a bond that no one else has with this little person. I’m just so glad that I can go into my next breastfeeding venture with much more knowledge and experience to be able to look beyond the tough early days.
Don’t be fooled, breastfeeding is tough, it looks natural but in the beginning it will honestly feel like the most uncoordinated thing you will ever try to do.
If you have the support you need and can get through the early days, breastfeeding can become one of the most beautiful ways to bond with your baby.
For those who couldn’t breastfeed, although it can be an amazing experience nothing beats a bottle. Henry always preferred a bottle and it made the transition so much easier for us.
Watching my husband feed Henry is such a special thing to witness and I’m just so glad that I’ve stepped back and let him experience the bond that comes with feeding.
We are just so lucky to have options these days. Support is available at every corner and although breast is pushed from birth at most hospitals, if we decide not to or can’t it’s becoming more and more accepted because fed is best and at the end of the day being able to breastfeed or not doesn’t determine what kind of mum you are. We are all incredible!!!
Keeping a little human alive is tough, so hang in there, I assure you it all gets easier xx