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.
Was / has your breastfeeding experience been positive? Explain your feeding journey.
My feeding journey has been pretty much completely positive. I knew I wanted to breastfeed before I even became pregnant with my eldest. I have never bought any bottles or formula (which may or may not have been a good idea) just incase I was unable to breastfeed, it’s just something that clicked with me and we were on our way!
Aside from a few restless nights, horrendously sore nipples and soaking wet bed sheets during the first few months with my first born, everything seemed to settle down and we both new what we were doing, we had a rough routine and everything felt like it was as it should be for us!
I then became pregnant with baby number 2, my little boy and my eldest girlie weaned herself off at 18 months. Pretty much the same happened with him, it all clicked and he happily breastfed until age 2, which was when I decided I needed a break. You may think it selfish but for almost 4 years of constant feeding I needed my boobs back for a bit.
Then my youngest was born 6 months ago and we are happily feeding again!
How long did you breastfeed for? Did you plan on feeding that long?
I fed my boy for the longest so far – approximately two years. I never thought I would feed for that long, I figured a year at the most as they’ll be having food then so they wont want or need it any more! How wrong was I? I am so glad I fed for as long as I did, and I will happily keep feeding our newest bundle until we both feel it’s time to stop.
I’m going to be totally honest here. Before I had children, I naively thought that it was strange for children to be breastfed past age 1. Like I said above I just figured they didn’t need it, so why were they still doing it? I’m ashamed I ever thought that if I’m honest. Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world!
Did you have support from health professionals?
Not a huge amount, but yes I did receive support. I was given advice about different positions when I couldn’t quite master the basic cradle hold and tips on how often to feed. But in all honesty, with my first, I cried myself to sleep that very first night. Partly because I was exhausted, and she wouldn’t stop crying, because I wasn’t feeding her correctly! She wasn’t getting enough and it was painful for me, and the clear lack of support then was something I wont forget unfortunately.
Did you have support / help from family/ partner / friends?
Absolutely. 100%. My family have always been very pro-breastfeeding, and I was brought up seeing other family members breastfeed, so to me, it was just the norm. I didn’t even think twice about it! Also my cousin and I both had babies pretty close together so we were breastfeeding our babies at the same time, which I think helped too.
My husband has in all honesty never mentioned it! He asked if I wanted to breastfeed in the beginning, I said yes and that was that.
What was the best breastfeeding advice you were given?
“Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, so when baby needs feeding, you feed her!” End of. No hiding, or sitting alone embarrassed.
What is something you wish you were told about breastfeeding before you began?
That there are 100 different positions you can breastfeed in, and you might not be able to master the most common cradle hold, but you may find a different position easier for the both of you!
Did / have you ever experience negative comments whilst feeding? Was you worried you would before you started?
I’ve had a few double takes when out in public, but aside from that no. Yes I was worried about it a bit, before feeding in public the first few times or so.
What was your favourite thing about breastfeeding your baby?
The closeness. I definitely feel like it’s helped me and my little ones develop such a strong bond as we have. I love that I can give them that comfort that they so desperately crave, and I can cheer them up just with a snuggle and a feed. It’s such a beautiful moment.
What kept you going on the hard days/ nights?
Sleep. Extra sleep, and lots of it. I feel like many people choose not to breastfeed because then that means that they will always have to be the one to get up in the night, feed baby and get them back to sleep. That they don’t get to take turns in who’s turn it is to get up, but that’s not true. Sure you have to feed baby, but that doesn’t mean that your partner can’t take over with the nappy changes, burping or comforting back to sleep in the early days, while you go back to sleep!
But yes, I need my sleep. So I used to, no, I still do take advantage of a spare half an hour, or hour in the afternoon for a quick snooze. Or go to bed earlier occasionally to catch up on sleep!
Saying all that though, the hard days and nights are nothing. Nothing compared to the wonderful, amazing bond and experience of breastfeeding your babies.
Thank you so much to Sarah 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.