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Quintessence Breastfeeding Challenge 2017

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Kate 2

gingerpixel_photography__newborn_photography_1_15948I have to be honest – I was pretty ambivalent about breastfeeding when I was pregnant. My sister had a terrible experience, which I found very off putting, and I’m the kind of person who tends to get a bit snotty when I think I’m being told what to do! So all in all I wasn’t particularly interested. Things started to change for me very slowly. I had a lot of books on pregnancy, and they all emphasized the importance of breastfeeding, so I started to do a bit more research. Of course I read all about the health benefits which did have an impact and made me think about things a little more. I feel very irresponsible saying this, but it wasn’t the health benefits that really convinced me in the end, although I know that should have been more than enough. When I was six months along, I visited my sister in law who had a gorgeous little ten day old boy. He started crying at one stage and his little body was just rigid in discomfort. My mother in law (who had never breastfed) made a little comment about the constipation caused by formula, and it was like a eureka moment for me! I decided that any amount of discomfort for me was so worth it if my baby could avoid moments like that.

I was induced in the end, as I was ten days over, and due to a couple of issues (cord caught around my little one’s neck) I had to get quite a bad cut and had a forceps delivery. My little one was absolutely perfect and a big baby (nearly nine pounds). I tried to feed her straight away but my blood pressure dropped so her daddy cuddled her for a while. I tried again back in the labour ward and she latched for a couple of minutes but didn’t really feed. We kept trying that evening, but it was pretty much the same each time. That night when everything was quiet, I took her out of her little crib and took her into the bed. I remember that it was very quiet and dark. I lay on my side and managed to latch her on and she fed so perfectly! She fell asleep and I felt so happy. I felt like a real Mum and felt that I might actually be good at this mothering business! I fed her a few times more that night and the next morning when she did her first poo I was so proud it was
ridiculous!

The ward was very busy so I begged to be allowed home that day and they let me go. When we got home, I kept a breastfeeding “diary” – counting exactly how often she fed, on which side, and for how long. That seems hilarious to me now, but I was so serious about it at the time! I was so concerned that she was getting enough, and that I was feeding her enough. If I’m lucky enough to have another baby I won’t worry about stuff like that again. If the baby is content and having plenty of wet and dirty nappies, she’s getting enough! So that was the beginning of our  breastfeeding journey! We had our teething problems in the first three weeks. I had sore nipples (my little one had a terrible latch and I didn’t recognise that despite all my research) and my stitches were awful. I think the worst bit was about eleven days in. I was literally crying from the
pain of my stitches, and having sore nipples too really didn’t help. But we persevered and a couple of days later things started getting easier. By the third week the problems just disappeared and suddenly it was easy. More than easy. It was beautiful. If you’ve never done it I’m not sure that I can communicate what it feels like to breastfeed your baby. I have never in my
life felt so content, or so complete as I do when I am feeding my little girl. It is amazing.

I’m self-employed and had to go to my first work meeting three weeks after having my baby. Major challenges! With some fantastic support I was able to keep going. I had to put my little one in the crèche from four months, but was able to express milk for her and she took a bottle without too much objection. I thought I would feed her for six months, but when I got to that
stage it seemed nuts to me to give it up. My baby is ten months now and we are still happily feeding. She is in crèche until 4pm (on solids and water now) and feeds in the morning, after crèche, again in the evening, at bed time, and (unfortunately!) a few times in the night. She is in her own bedroom now (she was co sleeping) and I am just about to start cutting out the night feeds. I used to pump milk for her for crèche and now that I don’t need to do that anymore I am donating some milk to the milk bank for premature and sick babies.

I’m not sure when I will stop feeding my daughter. I imagine that she will grow out of it fairly naturally of her own accord. She’s an independent little creature so I think at some stage I will introduce the don’t offer, don’t refuse technique. I am so grateful for what breastfeeding has given us. My daughter rarely cries. I have never had to walk the halls with her. She has never had colic, never been constipated. She is so content, confident and happy. I think breastfeeding allowed me to re-connect with her after the crèche in a very powerful way.

So that’s my story! If you are new mom and you want to breastfeed my best advice is firstly, do some research (a jack newman book would be very helpful) and secondly – trust your instincts!