Breastfeeding a 1 year old and I’m not going to stop!

Dear people passing comment in how I feed my child!

I firstly want to say how “happy” I am that you decided to express yourself and tell me your opinions and thoughts in me breastfeeding my child!

I would now like to express how I feel about some of the comments that you made and I would like to put you straight.

Yes I have a 1 year old
Yes I am still breastfeeding
and no I don’t have any plans to stop!

I know to some people breastfeeding can be a taboo subject (“it’s too sexual”) and a few really don’t agree with it in public (“put it away, it’s disgusting!”).
I’m sorry but if my child is hungry or thirsty and they want breastmilk, I’m not going to hide away in the toilets or let her suffer to appease you.
Just like you can’t leave me to happily care for my child with out making your unhelpful comment.

I will point out that breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world and it is actually recommended for you to breastfeed your child until they are 2.

So when you decide to ask me “Are you planning on stopping soon?” Or “Don’t you think she is getting a bit old to breastfeed?”
My answer is simply

NO!

See my daughter is only 1 year old and our breastfeeding journey started out as a rocky one.

From the night she was born, I had many health professionals telling me “she might not breastfeed” because she had Down’s syndrome and due to her stay in neonatal, she was tube feed for the first few weeks. Meaning I had to express every drop of milk just so I could feed her. This was before I even got to hold her.
Once I was able to try and feed her. I was jumped at the chance but again it was full negative people telling me “it might not happen”.
I came close to giving up because I just wanted my baby off the NG tube and feeding for herself, because then she could come home.

Luckily after 3 weeks we made a break through when she started to take a bottle of my expressed milk. I knew once she was home I would get her breastfeeding from the comfort of my home, without negativity or professionals breathing down my neck. It took a while, a lot of tears and stress that pushed to the point of giving up. But we got there and at just over 5 weeks old I got my baby fully breastfeeding.

Because of the struggles we went through and because she is my last baby. I am not going to give up this opportunity to make my daughter happy and give her what she needs. Just to make someone I don’t know more comfortable.

Yes I will be discreet. In public I may cover myself with a shrug or blanket. That isn’t because I’m ashamed or for your comfort but mine. (can’t be getting frozen nips now can we)

So next time you want to make a passing comment about how someone else cares for their child. Please walk pass me and actually say it to some one who wants to hear it. I’m busy listening to the happy murmurs of my feeding child 🙂

Yours sincerely

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The woman breastfeeding her 1 year old.

Nikki ❤

Binky Linky

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Breastfeeding and why it was for me.

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”

and

“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.

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Nikki ❤.

The weeks that followed.

The first few days after Baby was born, while we waited for confirmation that she did have the Down syndrome. Where a blur of tears and a roller coaster of emotions.

Because she was rushed to neonatal shortly after birth I spent my days in the hospital by Baby’s side listening to the beeps of the machines an willing her to fight and get better. I would sing to her an tell her she had to fight as she had all her brothers an sisters waiting to meet her an shower her in love an kisses.
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If I wasn’t by her side I would be hidden in my room expressing what the midwife called “liquid gold”. So that once Ivy could have milk mine would be waiting for her. Luckily I had a really good supply, so much so that after a week of expressing they asked me to start home freezing because there freezer was full of my milk.

On day 2 I had to go home an leave her at hospital. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I remember the empty numb feeling I felt when I walked into my house to be greeted by all her things I had laid out before I went into hospital. Her crib an Moses basket just waiting for me to place my bundle inside. This was meant to be a happy time but instead I found myself crumpled an crying on my kitchen floor. That night I had my husband move all her stuff an cover it with a large sheet, so it was still waiting for her but it wasn’t a constant reminder.

Baby didn’t make much improvement until day 3. When her blood pressure started to regulate an slowly but surely they started removing wires. By day 5 we had our confirmation that yes Baby had trisomy 21 which meant she had a extra 21 chromosome. Where as we have 46 or 23 pairs she had 47 so she had 22 pairs and 1 triple set.

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I’m not going to lie it wasn’t what I had hoped for and I had told myself they had made a mistake but now the confirmation proved I was wrong and my fears came rushing back.

All I could think was how was I going to explain it to my kids, would people accept her and would they blame me?

Deep down I knew I loved her with all my heart and her having Down syndrome didn’t matter as long as she got better.
But my fear clouded it all my emotions because I still had to come to terms with everything.
I found myself worrying if she would sit up, crawl, walk or talk?
And all I wanted answers to expel my fears and for someone to tell me it was all going to be ok.

My husband was great an never seemed to bat an eye lid. He loved Baby without question and accepted everything really well. He was my rock and helped me to just focused on the good. He also spent most of time looking after kids and didn’t even complain that he hadn’t so much as had his first cuddle with her until she was over a week old.

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On day 5 Baby came off the ventilator and was breathing for herself. Which meant we were finally able to hold her again. She still needed support with oxygen but she was starting to make major improvements. After another week of minimal support she slowly started spending more time in just normal air and didn’t need as much support. Finally when she was 16 days old she was moved out of neonatal and was put on the ward where I could be with her full time to help get her feeding before she could come home.

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I don’t think I have ever been so excited to be having sleepless nights an dirty nappy duty.

I had been expressing like a machine to keep my milk supply up because I wanted to breastfeed. I had read that children with Down syndrome can breastfeed, but there could be issues due to her low muscle tone, such as weak suck and sleepiness but I wanted to try. In neonatal she was fed with a Nasogastric tube or an NG tube which went up her nose an down into her stomach. I tried for the first few days I was with her full time but the hospital weren’t happy as she didn’t wake for feeds during night and was having problems latching.

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After 4 days of trying to breastfeed all the stress an pressure I felt I was under ended up affecting my supply an it drop considerably even though I continued to express. So I decided I would try expressing an bottle feeding just until I got her home an then we would try in the comfort of our home.
She took to the bottle really well. She still didn’t wake for feeds but she would sleep feed and it was another step closer to getting her home.
After getting her feeding from bottles everything just seemed to slot into place. She had her NG tube removed at 22 days old an she was allowed home the next day.

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I was so overjoyed to have my baby home. To finally have my whole family back together again 🙂

The first few days home where full of feeding, expressing, nappies and sleeping when we could. Slowly but surely we all got in to a routine and life became easier and her Down syndrome became easier to accept. Once I got to spend time with her to see how amazing she is and what she was capable of I knew her fighting spirit was still going strong and when ever I have a down moment or things start to look bleak she amazes me again.

She did it on her first week home when she started to latch properly and I started having some success with breastfeeding. By 5 weeks old she was exclusively breastfeeding and gaining weight well.

I have a feeling my little girl is not finished with her surprises yet and going to be one that never gives up just like me.

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Nikki ❤