Breastfeeding in Elaine’s words.

Whether your breastfeeding journey is just beginning or 10 years in we all have different experiences. In this series I will be sharing journeys and experiences from a range of people who have breastfed or are currently breastfeeding their littles.

Elaine had an emergency section following 2 days on/off labour. 
She went back to work full time when my son was 10 months old.

Was / has your breastfeeding experience been positive? Explain your feeding journey.

Not right at the beginning.  I was very flat nipple-wise so latching on was difficult as there was nothing to find! The nurses in hospital tried to get him on but it was traumatic as they gripped his head and left finger prints on his ears! I ended up bottle feeding him in hospital for 3 days as there was no real help. I tried to express but my milk hadn’t come through anyway. 

How long did you breastfeed for? Did you plan on feeding that long?

I always said I’d feed him for as long as he wanted to and that’s how it worked. I expressed a lot too and my freezer was full of milk bags! I fed him until he was 2 and half.  We’d put him in a toddler bed and about 2 weeks later he decided he didn’t want any more. I was happy he’d decided to stop by himself. 

Did you have support from health professionals?

I went to a booby group a few times and they tried to help with positions for my left boob as it always hurt but nothing ever really worked. My right was always the best boob. Eventually I gave up with my left. 

Did you have support / help from family/ partner / friends?

When he was 3 days old my family descended upon us. My sister has 3 children and breastfeed them all so offered to help.  She gave me a silicone nipple cover and once he’d found that he was away! It drew my nipples out so I could leave them after 2 weeks. My partner was supposed to give him a bottle of expressed milk at night but he’s a heavy sleeper and never woke up so I ended up giving it to him instead. He was a bit rubbish at that. 

What was the best breastfeeding advice you were given?

Probably from my sister with the nipple cover. She also took me bra shopping as I didn’t have any. 

What is something you wish you were told about breastfeeding before you began?

-I wish someone had looked at my nipples and suggested I was a bit flat and to get a cover so I wouldn’t have had 3 days trying to feed him without success and resorting to bottles. Though without that bottle experience, he might not have accepted bottles later on when I needed him to. Who knows! 

I also wish that more help was advertised outside hospital too.  I was lucky that there was a local booby group but my friend was left to fend for herself. I was also lucky to have had an experienced sister who could help. 

More post pregnancy related,  I wish someone had told me about the night sweats/ back ache that followed birth. Everyone says about the lack of sleep etc but no one had mentioned that. I’d had a section and didn’t know if everything was normal! 

Did / have you ever experience negative comments whilst feeding? Was you worried you would before you started?

We were met with disapproving looks on our bra shopping experience when he was 7 days old.  We sat in Costa and had dirty looks from a leather- skinned old woman who was showing more skin than I was. I didn’t care though,  my son needed feeding. 

What was your favourite thing about breastfeeding your baby?

Definitely the bond and closeness between us.

What kept you going on the hard days/ nights?

Support from my partner and the knowing that the hard nights will be over eventually. 

Thank you so much to — for taking part, if you would like to take part then please email me Breastfeeding for a month or decade, your journey counts and we’d love to hear from you.

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