I want to start by saying that breastfeeding does not “just happen” from the get go.
Your baby isn’t born knowing what to do. It is something that you and your baby must learn, together. Have patience with your baba; have patience with yourself.
Also. Two babies are never the same. In alllll of the respects.
These are the best bits of advice I was given.
Sadly, my BF journey with Eli was exceptionally difficult. I had an NCT group of mothers; who all appeared to be naturally breastfeeding-gifted. I struggled with Eli’s latch. In hindsight, we wonder whether it was tongue-tie as he also had speech issues when he started talking. Anyway. I would grit my teeth and cross my fingers at every single feed. I’d fight back the tears when with company and let them free flow down my cheeks at home. The pain was unbelievable. I was cracked. Sore. Shattered. Shocked. Full of worry and felt immense pressure to ‘perform’.
I was also ridiculously scared to feed in front of friends, family and in public too. For fear of being told off, ridiculed, just a “look” caused me to panic and go straight home. I had many a break down whilst trying to do shopping when Eli would start to stir during that short window between feeds.
At 6 weeks we went to a wedding and I bought a @Medela Swing to express. I ended up expressing for a further 6-8 weeks until my supply dwindled. I just couldn’t get the feeds and expressing in. We then went onto SMA and Eli was a much happier baby for it. I was happier for it!
Edie however; a totally different baby. Edie took to the breast from her first feed and ran with it. I was possibly more relaxed this time. I had YouTube’ed everything in terms of latch, positioning and everything in between. I was armed with so many resources – just incase. I had nipple shields, I had Lansinoh, I had a new @medela, I put no pressure on myself and set no expectations. I was also a more confident mother but I still had the anxiety of feeding in front of friends, family and in public getting to me. This is something I learned with patience and understanding your baby. I also had a bank of clap-backs ready, just incase. I knew my legal rights as a mother too.
At our 6 month check I was still exclusively breastfeeding Edie and loving every single second. Yes there were days when she would cluster feed 24 hrs. But I just loved it. Absolutely loved it. Was I more attached to BF because of our miscarriage? Maybe? Was I more determined because I’d had such a shit time with Eli? Who knows. That midnight feed, curled up in bed together was actual bliss. It felt like it was just me and Edie awake on the whole planet ✨
But at that 6 month check, the HV suggested Edie wasn’t gaining enough weight. We were monitored and then referred to a paediatrician. I was advised to introduce Formula and solids as per the guidelines. I reluctantly went with it. Edie went with the changes, without fuss and ran; until the only breastfeed session left was that midnight feed. Which, by one point turned out to be more routine and comfort than sustenance any longer. We made it to 8 months or so.
I don’t remember our last breastfeeding session. It just stopped one night after a few nights of fussiness.
Which kind of breaks my heart.
But I cherish every single day that she fed attached to me. I really do.
Have I googled and researched re-lactation? Of course I have.
But Edie? She’s happy. She’s thriving. She’s an SMA baby now too.
Breastfeeding mothers. I salute every single one of you. It hurts, it’s confusing, it’s damn tiring, no matter how little or long you decide to breastfeed for.
And if you feed your baby by bottle or breast, who even cares. Fed is best. That’s all that matters.
THEY ALL EAT CHIPS OFF THE FLOOR HOWEVER THEY MAKE THEIR START IN LIFE ANYWAY. SO 🤷♀️