My Breastfeeding Story: Initial doubts and wanting to pursue natural breastfeeding
Mum, Natalie, shares her journey of breastfeeding her son, including her fears about breastfeeding after a Caesarean, and wanting to continue her natural breastfeeding journey for as long as possible!
When I feel pregnant, I vowed I was going to breastfeed. Some of my friends had breastfed their little ones, and so it just seemed that natural breastfeeding was the best choice for me! My initial goal was to at least try breastfeeding my son initially, and then if all went well, I would aim to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months.
I was booked in for a planned Caesarean birth, and I had to spend fourteen days in hospital before the surgery on bed rest due to major placenta previa. I was worried about my goal of breastfeeding and if my surgery would interfere with this once my baby was born. I made it very clear to the midwives and consultants how much I wanted to breastfeed and I was reassured that all efforts would be made to get baby feeding as long as everything went well with my surgery.
Thankfully no problems arose during surgery and I began feeding my baby boy as soon as I got back to the recovery ward. It was magical, bizarre, beautiful, surreal and special all rolled into one.
We got to go home when my son was four days old. I found that breastfeeding became very difficult, exhausting, confusing and emotional, as I had nobody to turn to like I did when I was in hospital. My baby fed every hour or sometimes more frequently but I didn’t want to give up. It was painful and upsetting when all I could focus on was the fact that the baby’s latch hurt, but I would not give in. I battled through the hourly feeds and the cracked and sore nipples but yet it was still beautiful. I ignored the housework and just put my feet up on the couch and enjoyed breastfeeding my child.
I was nourishing and nurturing my baby with only my own body, just like I had done for the last 9 months. 3 months whizzed by and the pain and discomfort eased off, I found that our breastfeeding journey became really enjoyable and such a beautiful experience.
Despite only initially planning to breastfeed my baby for 6 months, I got to the 3 month stage and the thought of giving up in only a few month’s time was unimaginable to me. It made no sense to me to change my baby’s milk, to start again with bottles and formula when I had just battled so hard to make breastfeeding work for us. I decided I would breastfeed until my son was a year old.
Fast forward to now, my baby boy has just turned one, and there is no sign of weaning yet (especially during the night), but that is okay as we both love it. Breastfeeding is my baby’s natural comfort as he doesn’t have a dummy, and I feel lucky I am able to have this journey with my son.
People judge me but I no longer let it consume me, as I will look back on this time and choose to remember the sweet moments me and my son have shared, not the small minded comments of strangers.
If anyone ever doubts their ability to breastfeed, my advice would be just to try. You may just surprise yourself and find yourself breastfeeding for a long time and you will feel so proud of yourself! Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing and I hope it is normalised sooner rather than later as I can’t think of anything more natural than feeding your baby the milk that is designed for him/her. I would never judge a mother for how they feed their child so it is really heart-breaking that so many breastfeeding mums are on the receiving end of negative comments.
Thank you to mum, Natalie, for sharing her breastfeeding experience. If you would like to share your breastfeeding story please email, firstname.lastname@example.org