Welcome to the second instalment of my guest series on breastfeeding. The series aims to share the good and the bad of breastfeeding and show that there’s no such thing as ‘normal’ when it comes to feeding stories. This week MummySetra is sharing her experiences.
Mummysetra’s breastfeeding experiences
As a healthcare professional, I knew all about the benefits of breastfeeding, and knew it was something that I wanted to do (if I could). I didn’t put too much pressure on myself about it before baby arrived, as I knew that as long as I gave it a shot, even if it didn’t work, as long as baby was getting the feeds he/she required then that’s all that mattered. During my pregnancy I became more and more aware of the pressure out there to breastfeed, and had a friend who thought she had totally failed as a mum when she couldn’t breastfeed.
When the little man was born, we did skin to skin within the first few minutes, and I was amazed at how he worked his way towards my nipple—it was absolutely amazing. The midwife came in a few hours later just to check that the latch was fine, and we were good to go.
The first few days were tough, especially when my milk started coming through, and when I think back, I feel as though it was all a bit of a blur! I was lucky that his latch was good, and he seemed to take what he needed without many issues. I had one case of sore nipples which was quickly fixed by the miracle that is Lansinoh cream, but all in all, no further issues (very lucky I know)!
I had purchased a breast pump so that my husband could help with feeds, but the little man refused to take a bottle until he was about 4 months old, which meant there was a lot of pressure on my shoulders, especially when the 4 month sleep regression hit. I was also never a fan of pumping, as I felt like it would take ageesssss to get a decent amount of milk.
I had always assumed that I would breastfeed until 6 months (as recommended), but I was lucky that I was part of an NCT group where everyone carried on breastfeeding, and that made me do so as well. We hadn’t had any problems, and I was really enjoying the bonding, so I decided to keep going with it. I had initially been a bit anxious about breastfeeding in public, as I wasn’t one of those women who is happy to just whip her boob out in the middle of a restaurant. A friend of mine had bought me a feeding apron when he was first born and it was the best thing ever for me, and completely put me at ease breastfeeding when out and about.
At around 10 months I felt as though I was ready to stop. I needed some time out for me and wanted to start losing my baby weight before I started back at work, and have the flexibility to go to the gym in the evenings without having to worry about the bedtime feed. We were down to 3 breastfeeds by this point and switched each one on a weekly basis to formula, which he took to really well.
I think there is a lot more that can be done to support breastfeeding mothers, as apart from the initial help from the midwife, I don’t feel like there was any further support offered to me. Thankfully I had the NCT girls, and the blogging community who offered me advice when I needed it. And, thanks to those support networks, we carried on breastfeeding for 10 months successfully, and enjoyed the journey.
Thanks for sharing your experiences MummySetra. I totally relate to this. We really struggled with getting Jacob to take a bottle, so I too felt the pressure. It’s great you were so supported by your NCT friends.
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