Friday 11 August 2017

My Breastfeeding Experience

August is Breastfeeding awareness month and I thought I would share with you my experiences of Breastfeeding... The good bits, the bad bits and the ugly bits! You can also read a little about my experience of a C-Section with Millie here too.

As you know, I had Mylo back in May and Millie is now 4 years old. I knew that when I fell pregnant with Mylo, I wanted to breastfeed. With Millie, it was the complete opposite. I didn’t feel like I wanted to even try - I wanted the ease of being able to go out if I still wanted to and not be overwhelmed with constantly feeding a newborn baby. I did actually feed Millie once as we had our first bit of skin to skin but I couldn’t get on with it after that as I was so sore from my emergency section and so tired, I didn’t have the patience. The midwives tried to get her to latch but it wasn’t working - I was becoming more and more frustrated and so was she, so she had her first bottle in the hospital and took to it fine - she was bottle fed ever since starting on Aptamil and then having to move to Aptamil comfort as she suffered with trapped wind and would bring a lot of her bottle up. 

I didn’t ever feel that I had failed as I knew that I wanted to bottle feed her anyway but I think it’s important to say that whether you have breast or bottle fed, no-one else will know. It’s not like you can point out these people in the street, it doesn’t make a difference in the long run so why beat yourself up about it at the time?! Luckily, I was never pressured to breastfeed, obviously the midwives promote it as it is seen to be better for both Mum and Baby for bonding but both times, it was completely my choice and the midwives supported it completely. 

When I had Mylo, I wanted to try and breastfeed for as long as possible and if not, at least try and combination feed. When I came out of theatre, Mylo happily latched straight on and fed for a good half an hour, after that, it kind of went downhill. I struggled to get him to latch but he was quite clearly hungry, and he took a liking to one boob over the other meaning that I was starting to get sore on that one. The midwives helped lots trying to encourage him feeding on the opposite boob every other feed and they even came and hand expressed for me to get the colostrum out to syringe feed him. During the night, I remember getting a bit teary and worked up because I was becoming sore and could see that Mylo was clearly hungry so I buzzed for a Midwife and asked if it was ok to give him a bottle... she told me that it was completely my choice and if thats what I wanted then go for it! So, I did. I gave him a bottle and didn’t feel bad about it at all. He drank it so fast and secretly I was relieved. From that point on until a little over a week later, I combination fed him. I mainly breastfed first thing in the morning, in the afternoon and last thing at night with bottles in between and it meant that I got some rest and Adam also got chance to bond with him. There was no problem with this whatsoever. Until my milk came in. 

My milk took a little longer to come in and didn't officially appear until Day 6 so I was simply just giving him whatever I could and essentially, topping up with formula. The day my milk came in, it all changed. I was in so much pain, literally toe-curling pain, I couldn’t do it anymore. I was feeding Mylo around 10am and sat crying because I was in so much pain. He was feeding fine but the pain was simply unbearable. I had to give up. I just couldn’t put myself through it when I knew that he had taken to bottle feeding fine and it meant that I wouldn’t cry every time I fed him. I felt kind of sad that I couldn’t do it - not because of the ‘hype’ surrounding breastfeeding, but because of the bond we had whenever I fed him. It’s an unreal feeling and I’m glad that I got to experience it, however, this was something that also made me want to stop...

Adam admitted around a week into being back at home that he was struggling with bonding. He hadn’t felt that overwhelming rush of love yet. He hadn’t bonded because he hadn’t had time to! Because I was focusing on feeding him either breast or bottle, Adam had missed out on the chance to feed him and bond with him. Those hours where you simply just look at them quietly and let the love sink in had been stolen from him because I did all the feeds. I hated this and reassured him that it would come... a few days after, that feeling subsided and everything just felt right. I had made a decision that wasn’t just best for me, but also for my baby and my partner. 

Breastfeeding is such a controversial topic, not amongst Mums but amongst everyone else. Whether it’s people judging others when they do it in public, health professionals pushing it onto new Mums or friends that have had such success giving false hope to Mums. Hopefully, hearing 2 different stories of my breastfeeding journey will give an insight to what it can be like to breastfeed if you’re thinking about doing it yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I fully support it for those who can do it but I honestly don’t feel that it matters - if formula wasn’t as good as breastmilk then it wouldn’t have been made and we wouldn’t be feeding it to our children. A few things that I couldn’t have done without whilst I was breastfeeding though were the Lanolin nipple cream - this stuff was a lifesaver when my nipples started to crack and also a well-supported nursing bra. The one I used was from Bravado - it was so comfortable and I actually still wear it now. It was fully supportive especially when I was sore and aching once I had stopped feeding and had removable pads too! What I did was took the pads out and replaced with nipple pads to soak up any leakages! Another new option on the market you may want to look into is ThirdLove's new nursing bra, which comes in wired and wireless versions. 

But, when it comes to breastfeeding - it’s not Breast is Best, it’s FED is best. Do what’s right for you, not for everyone else! 

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