Mum, Donna’s Breastfeeding Story
"I decided to hold out until Chloe was here to make a decision on breastfeeding; I didn’t want to put undue pressure on myself in case I couldn’t, found it too painful or struggled with the amount she wanted. However, I did have a preference to want to breastfeed and bought a Medela Freestyle Breastpump in preparation as it was important for us that Daddy and our family could feed Chloe too.
I found a mix of people expressing their opinions on breastfeeding whilst I was pregnant (It’s amazing how when it comes to parenting choices, everyone has an opinion and they’re not afraid to tell you even when you haven’t asked);
- Some were extremely adamant you should breastfeed and lacked knowledge of some mums’ difficulty to breastfeed - especially the older generation.
- Friends who had had difficulty and moved to mix feeding or were unable to breastfeed were much more of the opinion that you should try it out and see if it works for you - everyone is different.
- Then once Chloe was here, a set of my friends were very pro breastfeeding, providing lots of information to support my journey.
I love the fact that I can feed Chloe within seconds of her starting to pucker, no need to plan, prepare, just unhook and off we go. We have breastfed in public uncovered in locations ranging from the bank, coffee shops, restaurants through to shopping malls, car parks, supermarkets and the train. It makes going out easier and less stressful to plan for. I was expecting some disapproval when breastfeeding in public due to all the media campaigns, but I have yet to experience any.
NCT Breastfeeding Support Group:
We were lucky that Chloe took to the boob straight away and has done so ever since - 5 weeks in, and we’re still going strong!
My nipples were a little tender at 3 weeks so I decided to go to a NCT support group to check my latch. I even bought some Medela nipple covers but never got round to using them. I was reluctant and nervous to go to the support group, it was like going to get graded on one of the most important things I’d been doing as a new Mum. My main thoughts were:
- What if I’d been doing it wrong? I would feel like I had failed my daughter, failed as a mother in one of the main jobs I needed to do.
- What if the people there were judgemental or patronising? I wouldn’t want to open up on something so personal and special. I would feel bad at not knowing the advice that was going to be given.
But… the support group was great! All my dread and fear went out the window after about 5 minutes, we were offered coffee, had a very friendly and relaxed chat about who we were, motherhood so far, what we were unsure about and then in our own time breastfed whilst the counsellor watched from a distance. There was no microscope, no judgemental faces and no “Ohh you shouldn’t be doing that.”
I experienced nice, simple and calm recommendations on what may work for Chloe and I, what to try and if it didn’t work then the offer to come back to the next session and try something else. While at the support group the counsellor raised some lovely, reassuring points:
- Each baby is different
- Each baby has their own way
- What works for one may not work for others
- What works one day may change and need to be retaught the next day
- None of this means you are doing it wrong!
The best piece of advice I received was: Change Chloe’s nappy in between breasts, this way she would wake up after the change and drink more so she would be able to settle for longer and when she finished on the second breast you would find her easier to put back down to sleep in the night.
I expressed when my milk came in to relieve some pressure but did not store it. My god, my boobs felt like they were going to explode! It wasn’t until week 3 that I started expressing to use and store expressed breastmilk.
I pump after the morning feed and then also at the missed feed when Chloe takes a bottle. The expressed milk from the morning pump, I have been placing in the freezer for future stock, and the breastmilk pumped at the missed feed I have been refrigerating for Daddy to use the next day.
Some days I forget to pump on that missed feed because I am catching up on much need sleep (zzZzzZz!), it makes the morning express more fruitful, but it also means my boobs get rather engorged and can leak during the night.
I’ve also been pumping whilst feeding Chloe to save time and we have been using the Medela Freestyle and the bustier to be handsfree – this normally gets me 5oz in 10 minutes. If I pump in the evening I use the double pump function.
Pumping has meant we have been able to go out and leave Chloe with Grandma for an evening and I have been able to catch up on sleep, with a 5 week old, this has been great."
A huge thank you to Donna Ore for sharing her Breastfeeding Story with us. If you would like to share your experience of breastfeeding on our blog please email our PR team on firstname.lastname@example.org for further details. Thank you.