My breastfeeding story

26 Feb

I have waited a long time to post my breastfeeding story. Breastfeeding is such a contentious issue; whether you succeed or you don’t, someone always has an opinion. I hope that I tell the story in a positive way, without preaching the gospel of the boob, but I want people to know that with determination and the will to want to, it can end up not being too hard.

When I had my daughter 4 years ago this week, I decided that I was going to breastfeed. I’d bought some Tommy Tippee bottles in TK Maxx of all places and someone had given me an old microwave steriliser, but I hadn’t bought any formula. I’m not sure why I didn’t buy any, it just hadn’t crossed my mind that I might not be able to breastfeed. Was it naivety or determination?

Just born

Just born

When my girl was born she was put straight on me and I fed her straight away. I needed help from the midwife, but we managed it. The next day on the ward, a student midwife sat with me as I tried and she was happy that I’d fed her ok and we were allowed to come home.

It wasn’t all plain sailing; I remember texting my mum at 6am on the Saturday morning after Evie was born on the Wednesday, and saying that I couldn’t turn her off! I’d been up all night with her crying and she couldn’t latch on. My mum turned up within 20 minutes and with a sane person in the room with us, she fed.

I had a great midwife visit me in the first few days, who gave me advice such as how to use the feeding pillow properly so that I had two free hands to manoeuvre the baby and simply to put my feet on a little step stool as I was sat on the settee so that my feet weren’t uncomfortable and it was one less thing to distract me.

Once we got through the first few weeks, we were plain sailing…until Evie decided that she would not drink expressed milk from a bottle anymore at four months old, but that’s another story! It seemed to me that I had so much stuff to cart out with a new baby, that the fact that I didn’t need to remember formula as well, just made things easier.

I tried to express milk every day and I froze as much as I could in pouches and on the few occasions that I left her with her daddy or grandma, she would have my milk from a bottle (until she was four months old of course).

I returned to work when Evie was six months old, she’d decided to drink my expressed milk by then but not formula. I continued to breastfeed her until she was 9 and a half months old. I expressed milk before I went to work to leave for her and also I locked myself away in a prep room during the day to express again at work. In fact, she didn’t have any formula until she was about 8 months. Looking back I’m not sure how I managed it, but it was something that I felt strongly about and I just did. When I decided to stop, it was the right time. My milk supply had wound itself down and I had not problems stopping. I’d done enough and she didn’t miss it at all.

When I had my son in October last year, I decided that I would feed him myself again. A strange health visitor who came before the birth was almost trying to put me off it seemed as she told me that it might be difficult even though I’d done it before…I ignored her!

Again I had no formula bought “just in case”. This doesn’t really mean much though as we are in spitting distance of any number of 24 hour supermarkets had I needed some in a rush.

Just born

Just born

I had a really (relatively) easy and quick birth this time and again I fed the baby straight away. This time it was so much easier. Even though Isaac had to learn what to do, I knew so much better this time. In fact we were so successful that he gained 7oz in his first five days!! Gained!!!

It wasn’t all easy though. When he was a few weeks old I felt really fluey and had an ache in the side of my boob. I put it down to being really engorged with milk for the first few days after my milk came in, but then I started wondering if I might have mastitis. I went to the doctors the next morning and I was diagnosed with mastitis and prescribed antibiotics. I felt better really quickly and I was glad that I had caught it early before it got any worse.

I haven’t even tried Isaac with a bottle this time. I feel that I don’t want to give him formula and I don’t have the time or the inclination to mess about sterilising breast-pumps and expressing breastmilk. I’m not in any great rush to leave him and go anywhere alone, so I figure that when I start to wean him at 6 months and he gets used to different flavours and different things in his mouth then I’ll try him with formula then. I’m not going back to work until he is 11 months old so I’m in no rush to get him on a bottle for that, so we’ll just see how I go. I might change my mind, but at the moment this is how I feel.

So that’s how it was for me! I’m not preaching about breastfeeding in the sense that I think that everyone should do it, but for me and my babies it worked and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

My identical babies! Evie on the left and Isaac on the right.

My identical babies! Evie on the left and Isaac on the right.


9 Responses to “My breastfeeding story”

  1. me_jstme February 26, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    It’s lovely to hear your positive story. I always feel guilty for having had a relatively easy time when it comes to breast feeding as I know so many others who had a terrible time. I tend not to talk about my BF journey with them for fear of them thinking I would be all judgemental, disapproving etc at their choice to change to formula so early but I do understand it’s not always an easy thing to do. It’s so nice to read that Isaac will be on booby for so long. Why bother with all the sterilising faff and breast feeding is such a wonderful way to keep your baby extra close. I miss it terribly.

    • bakingaitch February 26, 2013 at 8:07 am #

      Thank you. How silly that we feel guilty for managing to breastfeed just as we would have done if we’d not done it!

  2. Cybèle February 26, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    Great idea for posting a positive experience! I really struggled with my first one but was determined to feed her myself, as I suffered very badly with eczema for years and wanted to do as much as I could to help prevent her getting it (in the end, she ended up with hayfever but that’s more manageable than eczema). I had mastitis twice and then thrush, but once that was sorted out and once we hit 8 weeks, it suddenly turned into plain sailing. I never really enjoyed it as some mothers do but I’m immensely relieved I did manage it – I went back to work when she was 3 months old and she had a bottle with expressed milk, and like you I expressed at work. She weaned herself at 11 months and went straight to a cup from then, no formula at all, just straight onto cow’s milk. With my second one things were so much easier – he was bigger so he seemed to know what to do, I knew what to do and we never looked back. In fact, i got asked to demonstrate at a breastfeeding workshop as we looked so natural. He weaned himself at 10 months – just looked at me one evening, stuck his thumb into his mouth instead of latching on and went to sleep!
    Like you we never had formula in the house and I’m sure that helped in the early days – if I’d had access to a bottle and formula, I would have given in. With a lot of support and perseverance, I got through it and I’m glad I did.

    • bakingaitch February 26, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      That’s another great positive story. Thanks Cybele x

  3. Gemma March 1, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Great positive story, they really do look identical!

    Found you through the Friday Baby Shower!

  4. Alice (@mumsmakelists) March 2, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

    Great post – Alice x

  5. Karoline March 5, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Sounds a lot like my experience, neither of mine where fussed about the bottle & refused it after about 4 months too. Both of mine had some formula once they where happy drinking from a cup & were getting to nosy to want to bf through the day. We droped the last feed just after their first birthdays

  6. Alice (@mumsmakelists) March 8, 2013 at 12:25 am #

    Just to let you know that I’ve featured the post at this week’s Baby Shower – it’s such a great positive story. Look forward to seeing you there, Alice x

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