When I found out I was first ever pregnant I knew straight away I wanted to breastfeed it just seemed so natural and I wanted the gets for my baby/babies.
At that point though I never realised how different it would be breastfeeding different children, I always believed it was straight forward and simple (I was wrong!).
I have always tried to breastfeed with all my children.
Here are our stories:
T was my first and I so wanted to breastfeed him but at 3 days old I was still in the hospital recovering from my emergency c section and he wouldn’t stop crying. He was constantly hungry. It was then that a really lovely midwife explained that my milk hadn’t come in yet and asked if I wanted him topped up with formula. Being completely exhausted I agreed.
When my mum found out she took the information that because he needed a formula feed while my milk came in, that he would need one all the time. (I know now that’s not the case)
So when I went her house to recover (I was 17 just had a csection and had only just moved into my own house 2 weeks before and I wasn’t fully unpacked) she wanted to give him a bottle for at least 1 feed and he ended up taking to bottle better. I can’t really blame her he was her first grandchild and she was desperate to be involved. I managed to mixed feed T for 2 months before I gave up.
When P came along I was a single mum and I had no one I had to share him with. I loved it! I got to spend all my time with my boys and he took to breastfeeding straight away. So much so that when they weighed him after birth he didn’t lose the usual 10% of birth weight babies normally lose, he gained going from 9lb to 9lb 1oz in 2 days.
The bond I had with him was great and breastfeeding just made life so much easier because in middle of night I didn’t have to run downstairs and make a bottle, I never had the sterilise anything and it was completely free.
Feeding P was easy and I feed him until he was 4 and half months. It would of been longer but I signed up to college to redo my GCSE’s which was full time and I didn’t want to spend all my free time expressing milk because I had to study and raise a family.
I knew from start with E that I was going to breastfeed and I honestly thought it would be as easy as it was with P.
I was very wrong. the problems started with the fact that she wouldn’t feed for longer then 10 minutes and she would go for hours between feeds.
Then over night she changed an just fed constantly an I never got a break. She didn’t put weight on properly and at 5 weeks old I was fed up, exhausted and completely drained (in more ways then 1) with a baby that just cried and cried and cried. I told my husband I was ready to stop because she clearly wasn’t getting enough milk.
Fortunately my health visitor got a lactation specialist to come to my house. She explained that E wasn’t latching properly because she was bringing her top lip in when she sucked and it meant she wasn’t getting the full fat hind milk. That why her weight wasn’t going up an she never seemed full. She showed me what to do to help her latch properly and finally at 6 weeks we got it down.
She was fed the longest at 10 an half months (so far). I only stopped with her because it was my husbands birthday and we were having a party. I had gone so long without alcohol and I really just needed to blow off some steam. I use to enjoy the odd glass or so of wine even if I was feeding but with E having kidney problems I refused to have any once we found out because I didn’t want to risk her having another water infection.
Just like with E I knew I wanted to breastfeed with Baby. I was sure that I knew all I needed to know about feeding and it would be easy.
Again how wrong was I! Baby came along with all her surprises and was then whisked off to neonatal. She was NG tube fed my expressed breast milk until 16 days old and that when I started attempting to breastfeed her.
I had been told and read that her Down syndrome could cause problems breastfeeding but I was determined I would and that was all that mattered. In the hospital I didn’t really seem to get much support with feeding.
Yes the nurses an midwife would try to help but it they always seemed to remind me that
“she might not be able to breastfeed”
“for some babies they just can’t do it”
I know they were just trying to let me know it would be ok if she didn’t but the negativity was off putting.
There were a few nurses that were great an so upbeat. Telling me that they knew she would eventually an signing me up for lactation groups but by that point I just wanted to get my baby home. So we tried bottles filled with expressed milk which worked and within day she was discharged.
Once I was at home I started trying her at my breast before any bottle and would top her up if she didn’t latch or I didn’t feel she had enough. It was hard at first because she would barely latch on.
Again I told my husband I was thinking of quitting and it was as if a switch was flipped because the next morning Baby latched on an fed, it felt so amazing I almost cried.
I carried on trying her before feeds and she started latching more and more until I decided 1 day to not give her any bottles and she fed completely from me, she was 5 weeks old. She is now 5 and half months and we are still going strong with breastfeeding even if I have recently started to wean her.
I am so glad I never gave up and kept trying.
I don’t know how long Baby and I will breastfeed for but I’m going to enjoy it while I can. Specially as she is my last baby.
Another really good thing about breastfeeding is the fact that I had been able to express and go on to donate my milk for other babies that are ill or mothers that can’t produce enough themselves or have issues like Baby with latching. It makes me feel so proud to know I’m making a difference in the world and helping others.