Little Sunday Story time written by Rosa
Our breastfeeding journey
I hadn’t really even thought about breast feeding before I got pregnant. As in, I knew it was a thing you do and obviously i would like to do it, but until I was pregnant I hadn’t really even given it a second thought.
Fast forward to the end of pregnancy and we’re attending a breastfeeding workshop to get the lowdown and become ‘pros’, or so we thought. My husband had done some reading and listened well in this class so he now felt he was a qualified Lactation consultant. He was a bit obsessed with the magic quality of a boob, as he had learnt all the massive benefits of breast milk. First time in our relationship when looking at boobs on the internet and talking about them non stop was actually ok for my husband to do! Basically we felt pretty ready and that we knew what we were doing, get that latch and it’d probably be fine.
September 19th.Our baby girl enters the world at 3:54am. We’re all fine, it was hard and exhausting but we’re all safe and well. Within minutes she’s on my chest and we’re looking at getting her to latch. Which seems ok, and we get on with our first day as parents in the hospital. Not really knowing what we’re doing, sweating out in a boiling labour ward, craving a shower, eating muffins. She seemed to know how to feed, but within hours I realised that actually this is BLOODY PAINFUL.
Once we are home, I’m battling through the first few days of feeding. My husband is great, making sure I have a drink, assisting me with her latch, bringing painkillers and generally willing me on. Still this is VERY PAINFUL. Lots of googling for remedies to stop the pain, frantic messages to a midwife and mum friend. HOW LONG WILL THIS HURT FOR?!!..Amazon Prime is my friend as I order various creams and ice packs that will solve this issue. obviously at this point she’s also started cluster feeding. Yippee! So not only is it painful each feed, each feed also seems like every 5 minutes. At this point I started to feel terrible, because every time she wanted a feed I would really wish she didn’t, and each feed would make my toes curl with the pain. I started to resent the feeds and then I would be upset with myself for feeling like that, thinking I was a terrible mum. I started saying to my husband that we had made a terrible mistake having a baby. What in hell had we done?!! Exhaustion and post birth hormones were turning me into a crazy person. There were nights when she cried, I cried, and my husband looked on feeling helpless. I didn’t understand why something so natural could hurt, it made no sense. What I did know, however, was the more I battled through, the more I wanted to do this for my baby girl. I had to keep googling, “what are the benefits of breastfeeding” to remind myself why I had to do this.
A week after birth I started to feel unwell, and eventually we had to ring the doctor as I was feverish. I was told to go back to the ante natal ward. Cue lots of tears because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to feed my baby if I was in hospital. It suddenly dawned on me that now i possibly couldn’t feed her, I REALLY want to be able to carry on breastfeeding. Luckily I could. I was hooked up to an IV drip to give me two days of antibiotics as I had an infection from birth. This put a further spanner in the works as it proved difficult to lift my baby to feed with tubes and needles in my hand, so my husband had to assist each feed. Literally just felt like one challenge after another! Back on the muffins from the hospital cafe, these were a saving grace!
When we finally got home again, we got back into the swing of the feeding. And gradually, the pain started to subside and I didn’t feel a resentment towards her every time she wanted to eat. It was also at this time that I attend a breastfeeding cafe. I went into the Hall where this was held, with a really bad attitude, thinking how on earth could this help, I’m really sulking at this point and just want to go home again. Luckily my husband pushed me through the doors and I sat down, with a biscuit and hot tea placed in my hands. On that day, my level of confidence change immediately because I was surrounded by loads of breastfeeding mothers going through the exact same thing. So we all sat there with our nipples hanging out drinking tea. Honestly it was liberating and a game changer. And I was going to do this breastfeeding thing. With this change in confidence, I felt able to feed in public and as the pain reduced day by day, I was now getting into the swing of things. I COULD DO THIS!
Fast forward a couple of months and I don’t even need my cover, I couldn’t care less if someone sees a flash of boob, by baby is hungry. My husband had his response ready for anyone who might object or pass comment. But actually he’s never had to pull this out of the bag. Honestly it almost started to become funny, the places you could breastfeed a baby. London Bridge station concourse, a park bench, in a lay-by, in the car. Just whip it out and you’re done. It was all worth it to feed that little human, who by now was doing so well from mummas milk that she had rolls like the Michelin man.
To my utter amazement we’ve managed 6 months of breastfeeding exclusively and I honestly couldn’t be more proud of myself. It’s been teamwork with all three of us but it’s worked, we did it, and now I think I’m going to carry on until, well, I’m not sure when, but we’re carrying on.
It’s been the best journey of my life and has cemented such a lovely relationship between my baby girl and I. It’s also just reminded me of how great my husband is. He’s been so supportive of this journey and I wouldn’t have been able to continue without him.
I don’t want to brag but WE SMASHED IT. CHEERS, CLAPPING, CHAMPAGNE. Take a bow.