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.
Lauren’s breastfeeding journeys with her 2 sons.
Was / has your breastfeeding experience been positive? Explain your feeding journey.
My first son I fed until he was one. It was a journey that’s for sure! I struggled to feed him and he ended up on formula top ups as his blood glucose was low. I had difficulties getting him to latch and I ended up using medela nipple shields. I then struggled to get him off these for about 6 months and I got really hung up on this even though my son was still being breastfed. I loved the bonding you have when breastfeeding is fully established. I really enjoyed having those moments with my son and knowing that it was my body that was giving him everything that he needed to grow.
I’m now 5 weeks in to feeding my second son. I’d forgotten how difficult the first 3-4 weeks are. I have persevered through the pain (and cluster feeding which I didn’t experience with my first, prob due to the formula top ups), knowing that I will come to love breastfeeding again. There were tears along the way with the dread of the next feed but we are finally through the other side!
How long did you breastfeed for? Did you plan on feeding that long?
I fed my first for a year and that was my intention if I could initially feed. I knew there were lots of people who want to feed and can’t so I was always weary of not setting myself too much of a goal until I got over the initial latching issues.
Did you have support from health professionals?
The support from the breastfeeding support group run by the midwives in Cardiff was a life saver. There was someone at my house from the first day i returned from hospital. UHW have three breastfeeding support ‘drop in’ clinics each week and they are absolutely brilliant. Without the support of these ladies I would have given up long ago. I know that this is not the “norm” across the different boroughs and I’m very blessed to have this in my area.
Did you have support / help from family/ partner / friends?
My friend had a baby a month ahead of me and she was there at the end of the phone at all hours of the day and night. My mum also accompanied me to the clinics so she could see how they were latching the baby on and could give me advice when I was back at home.
What was the best breastfeeding advice you were given?
Take them off if it’s hurting. Give your boobs a rest by expressing if the pain gets too much – it’s amazing how much they can heal in 12 hours. Put breastmilk anywhere it hurts. It’s like magic!
What is something you wish you were told about breastfeeding before you began?
That’s it’s a journey. And considering it seems to be the most natural thing to do, it’s more difficult than it seems. Also some tips I found useful – invest in a pump so you can express when it gets too much physically and emotionally. And know the early signs of mastitis so you can nip it in the bud! And there is a “can I breastfeed in it” Facebook group that shares breastfeeding friendly clothes found on the high street that aren’t nursing specific. Most people are on a budget so they don’t break the bank either. (I didn’t hear about this until much later on)
Did / have you ever experience negative comments whilst feeding? Was you worried you would before you started?
Thankfully I didn’t experience any negative comments. I was worried I would be confronted when I was feeding in public but it never happened.
What was your favourite thing about breastfeeding your baby?
Just seeing how content they are when they are feeding. The bonding is incredible!
What kept you going on the hard days/ nights?
Just knowing that it would be easier in the long run. Not having to carry bottles around or worry about sterilising etc. Not having to comfort a crying a baby whilst their bottle cools. And knowing that they are getting the most natural thing they can and it’s on tap!
Thank you so much to — for taking part, if you would like to take part then please email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Breastfeeding for a month or decade, your journey counts and we’d love to hear from you.