Emily shares her breastfeeding experience with us today and also gives some great advice!! Thank you Emily for sharing with us! You can find Emily on twitter @OnlyWantsOne
I was 19 when I had Lola. After a super quick and easy labour I bounded home with this tiny little thing that needed me 24/7. When I was pregnant I had always envisaged feeding Lola myself, but looking back on it now I think there was a massive lack of knowledge and understanding on my part about how to actually feed your baby effectively.
We managed about 4 days exclusively, before I gave in (and that is still how I view it, defeat) and I gave her a bottle of formula. She slept, she seemed happy, content. Now I know that’s not because formula is better, but because we hadn’t managed to get her latching on right in order to feed properly. Bottles are easy; it just flows out meaning she had to do no work to get her full tummy.
From here it all went down hill – “topping up” with formula, hiding bottles / sterilisers / dummies from the health visitors and midwives because they all seemed too scary and unapproachable. When Lola was about 16 weeks she was bottle fed completely. I hadn’t realised it before but I can’t remember the last time I breast fed her, and thinking back on that makes me very sad.
Second time round I was prepared, I knew what was about to come so I prepared myself! Older, wiser, different much more supportive partner, fantastic midwife, and sheer stubbornness helped.
Ruby was born in December, planned home birth but ended up in hospital after a 14 hour back to back labour. Home within hours luckily!! Still I found though that by day 3 my nipples were raw. Ruby wanted to be held, loved and fed constantly. My poor partner was sent out to buy lansinoh, which helped at the time – but a semi break through was made when my sister suggested nipple shields. Ruby was about 10 days old by then.
Amazing, she fed properly for the first time and it was completely pain free. However after attending a local BFN group I realised what a pain they were. Determined that at 5 weeks we would get rid!! Well, it took a whole day of skin to skin, and tears from both of us, but we managed it.
Some times still our latch seems to get lazy, and we have to do some work to retrain her, but mostly I am so glad that I continued to feed her. She’s now 19 weeks old and exclusively being fed by me. It’s created an amazing bond that sadly I don’t think I had with my older daughter.
My tips for any one pregnant who want to breast feed would be –
Don’t buy bottles and sterilisers etc prior to having your baby, because when its hard at 3am and you’re exhausted and it hurts, you will just give your baby a bottle – what you need is support in place instead.
Do what feels right, and what works – the amount of raised eye brows I get because we co sleep amazes me!!
Find a local group to go to, and I would go when you’re pregnant first to meet them!
Get the BFN number – use it
Be honest with people, your health visitor will have seen it and heard it all before (when I first met my health visitor this time round I answered the door with “I hate breast feeding” she laughed – and I don’t any more!!)
Lastly, enjoy it and stay calm. It’s not a competition. No one asks “and how soon after you had him/her were you up doing the weekly shop / washing the car?”
(And if they do ask, tell them to shhhhhhhh!!)