Thursday, 6 August 2015

BREASTFEEDING: Our Experience

Back on a cold, windy Wednesday night in February my husband and I ventured out to our fourth NCT meeting - the focus of this class? Breastfeeding. You may be surprised that we both went to the breastfeeding class, after all isn't it just the women that needs to know about the hows/whats/whys/whens of breastfeeding?
Quite the opposite, in fact all eight couples turned up to the NCT class together. It was an eye opening moment - the moment when I learnt heard about how to breastfeed. Prior to this class I didn't know anything about breastfeeding, other than the whole 'breast is best' mantra that seems to surround you as soon as you get pregnant. (Side note - Personally I disagree that 'breast is best' and nothing else should even be contemplated. I think we should be educated about breast and bottle, leaving the final decision down to you.) So it's safe to say I went into this breastfeeding class not really knowing what to expect. They showed us videos, step by step guides and gave us dollies to 'breastfeed' - all of which was pretty overwhelming but very helpful at the same time. If you do want to breastfeed I'd highly recommend doing a bit of research before giving birth, the Internet has plenty of guides on how to do it and there are lots of breastfeeding support groups that often welcome pregnant ladies too. If I hadn't done a bit of research I would have approached breastfeeding in completely the wrong way - who knew you had to get so much of your breast into the babies mouth? Kind of makes sense, as its called 'breast'feeding and not 'nipple'feeding!

We both learnt a lot but you never know how your going to find breastfeeding until the time comes. So fast forward to the 3rd April 2015, the day our daughter arrived into the world. The moment came when I had to put everything I had learnt, read and watched into place - I had to try and breastfeed our first child. I remember that moment so vividly, Isabella was put onto my chest for skin on skin and she was screaming. Her delivery wasn't the smoothest, she was pulled and pushed and pulled some more, so her poor little head must have been really hurting! 

After about 15 minutes she starting rooting around - trying to remember everything I'd learnt while dealing with delivering the placenta and the emotion of seeing our baby for the first time was tough. It was overwhelming to say the least. So I aligned her nose with my nipple and hoped she would latch on properly, the last thing I wanted was sore nipples to start this breastfeeding journey off. After a couple of attempts, and with little input from any of the medical staff (they were too busy dealing with me!) Isabella latched on! As a complete newbie to breastfeeding I didn't know if she was latched on 'right' or if she was getting any colostrum or what it should feel like, but she was on and I felt relieved/happy/overwhelmed. I have to say having my husbands support was invaluable and because he knew about breastfeeding too (from the NCT class) he was able to offer the reassuring comments I needed. The midwife eventually came to see if we had a successful latch and with a small amount of adjusting Isabella was feeding and I was crying uncontrollably!
Since that first feed we have been extremely lucky and had a pretty smooth experience of breastfeeding. Isabella has always fed really well and I didn't ever get really sore nipples or any of the other problems that can make breastfeeding very hard. I feel extremely lucky that we had such a positive experience, as there are so many stories of women who have had a negative experience with breastfeeding or at least a negative start. 

About 2 days after giving birth my milk came in, which was pretty uncomfortable as I felt ill, had rock hard breasts and the let down was painful enough that I had to adopt some of the breathing techniques usually used during labour! That passed after a couple of days and it's not been painful/uncomfortable since. Though I'm now dreading Isabella getting teeth....ouch! 

I love breastfeeding Isabella, it is 'me and her' time that we get to have multiple times a day - bonding time. However I don't exclusively breastfed, and haven't done since she was 3 weeks old. We always planned to do combined feeding (a combination of bottles and breastfeeding) and it has worked so well for us. I was initially worried she would take the bottle and then reject me, but she's such a hungry baby that its never been an issue. I've always demand fed her, as I was finding that there was too much contradicting advice from the NHS - I just wanted to listen to my baby and trust me when I say she lets me know when she wants feeding! She now has two bottles within a 24 hour period and I demand feed for the rest of the time. This works for us and for Isabella - so everyone in our little family unit is happy :)

As long as you and your little family unit are happy then that's all that matters!

Feel free to leave me a comment.

Helen x
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5 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your story! I'm hoping I have such an enjoyable experience as you. I found my breastfeeding class so overwhelming so let's hope it comes naturally to us both. :)

    Paula ♥ | http://www.la-vida-fresa.com xo

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  2. You are very lucky to have had smooth sailing with breastfeeding. I desperately wanted to breastfeed and was so confident. I'm not exaggerating when I say it turned out to be the worst experience of my life. I only lasted a week but now that we are on formula we are so much happier. I don't think I have cried since the last time I breastfed. Its refreshing to see people who support any way of feeding. As long as your both happy and your baby is fed right?

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  3. So glad you are having a wonderful time breastfeeding, it came easily to me but I know it doesn't for all and I wish the pressure wasn't so apparent. Thanks for linking up x

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  4. This is just such a huge issue - there's far too much pressure surrounding it as well. I'm due in 3 weeks and I can honestly say that feeding is the thing that I'm dreading the most and that's stressing me out. I just don't understand why something 'natural' is so difficult in a lot of cases. I feel immense pressure to breastfeed from society and even from my husband. I want to provide the best for baby. But I think there are downsides to exclusive breastfeeding that they sweep under the carpet, and a lot of the 'evidence' about the health benefits is not based on an awful lot, scientifically speaking. I was bottle fed as well, as my mother had recurring mastitis, and I turned out just fine if I do say so myself! I also live in a well to do area with a lot of middle class families where people are very judgemental about parenting and bottle feeding is not done at all. I worked myself up so much about this that a community midwife came out to see me. I was expecting her to say 'breast is best' but she was really open minded and helpful, and I talked to her about combination feeding. I'm really pleased that its worked for you. Most of my antenatal groups were quite dismissive about it - their line is 'one or the other and stick to it.'. But all the midwife said was that each baby is completely different, and although some babies don't like changing, some are fine. So I guess we'll see when he gets here! Emotive issue :S

    Sarah | www.seriouslyshallow.co.uk

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that you've been worrying about it loads but I completely understand, as I was the same. When your baby arrives your priority is to provide for them, being that through breastfeeding, bottle feeding or a combination. Personally I think that you just have to do whats right for you and your baby - like you say babies grow up to be happy whether they have been bottle or breast fed. You just do what you want to do :)

      Helen x

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