In support of breastfeeding, I have decided to share my experience…
Whilst pregnant and once Jack had been born, the first question every healthcare professional would ask me was ‘will you be / are you breastfeeding?’.
Quite honestly, I took no notice and felt no pressure from them. My pressure came from within, I wanted to do what was best for Jack! As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I decided that I would breastfeed. I felt it was natures way and also the best and healthiest option for both Jack and myself.
As soon as Jack was born, he quite literally searched for boob. Known as the breast crawl, a newborn’s natural instinct is to find it’s mothers breast in search of milk. So amazing, this still blows my mind! He latched on easily and all was fine. Once he had finished he latched off and fell fast asleep. This was easy and quite honestly, I felt incredible.
Whilst in hospital I attended a breastfeeding session and was shown different ways to hold Jack whilst feeding him. It seemed easy enough and throughout the day tried different positions during feeds.
When we took Jack home, everything was going to plan and Jack was feeding well, I felt pinned to a chair most of the time as he was always hungry and wanted feeding regularly. We rarely left the house as a result. How could such a little person want so much milk?
Around about day 4 or 5, the lack of sleep started to take it’s toll. Even though Trevor couldn’t help with feeding, he would sit up through the night with me so he too was running on empty. We was exhausted.
Trevor had to take his time off using annual leave so returned to work after just a week. Unfortunately, the Paternity Pay offered to men quite frankly isn’t enough to feed a goldfish. It was at this point that things became really difficult.
I was suddenly feeling very lonely and would go all day without food or drink because I was always feeding or seeing to Jack. A mums job I know, but I had no idea just how time consuming and stressful it would be. The house was quickly becoming a mess and I was drained.
Unbeknown to me, the general tiredness and lack of food and drink started to take it’s toll on my milk supply, so things got progressively worse. Jack was suddenly always upset and in turn so was I. I felt helpless. What was I doing so wrong? Suddenly, about 2 weeks in I just broke down. I couldn’t do this, I wasn’t cut out to be a mum. Jack deserved better and I just didn’t feel like we was bonding at all. I felt more like a vending machine. Trevor would literally save me from drowning in my own tears when he got home from work and took over everything else whilst I fed Jack.
The next time I saw the health visitor I just burst into tears. What a useless mum I was! She assured me everything was going fine and that I was doing a fab job but arranged for her team breastfeeding specialist to pay us a visit. She came a couple of days later and gave me some fresh ideas and told me that I should not begin to express until my supply was well established!
At the end of week 3, I was feeling somewhat healed and decided to travel to London so that Jack could meet the family. We was still having a nightmare time with his feeding and I looked and felt like rubbish. Thanks to breastfeeding and the 500 calories per day it needs, the weight was dropping off of me. Anyway, we hadn’t yet travelled with Jack so didn’t know how he would be so I decided that I would need to express some milk for the 2hr journey just incase.
It was then that I realised what the problem was! I only managed to express 2oz of milk in 90 minutes. No wonder poor Jack was always hungry and upset, the poor boy was starving!! This made me feel worse, an absolute failure.
Over the next week, I tried everything to make it work and I mean EVERYTHING! However, come the end of the week I was a mess. I remember sitting on the sofa having Jack latched on and just staring through the wall sobbing like a baby. Except there was no sound, just tears! I felt empty. That was it, as soon as Trevor got home from work I drove to Tesco and picked up some formula powder. This had to stop!
In trying to do the right thing by Jack, I was totally doing the wrong thing! I was putting myself under so much unnecessary pressure in trying to breastfeed that I was totally missing the point. The most important scenario by far was to have a happy mummy and baby.
That evening, I felt the most enormous relief in feeding Jack using formula milk. I most definitely did not feel guilty, I had done my best! From that moment both Jack and I were happy. Our bonding over the next few days was amazing and Trevor and I was able to get some better sleep as Jack was sleeping for longer. Jack was an entirely different baby and everything became 100 times easier!
My advice to any new mum is not to feel pressured into breastfeeding. Most certainly give it a try but be sure to know when to call it a day!
My total admiration goes to all you mums who are able to breastfeed or to those who give it a try. But at the same time, my total understanding goes to those who choose not to or who cannot for any reason. A mum should have the right to choose what is best for HER family and outsiders should think twice before they judge.
So, when baby no.2 comes along, will I breastfeed? I’ll definitely give it a go and if it should be successful then it shall be a bonus!
Some helpful breastfeeding links:
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- Becoming a mum – how hard could it be?
- A luxury overnight stay in hospital after giving birth
- Beauty for Busy Mums – My TV appearance
- A message to you Daddy on Fathers Day