Thursday’s Blogging101 task was to write a post inspired by another blogger. Ok so I’m a few days late but I was inspired by It’s not broken, it’s a jigsaw’s post about breastfeeding and decided to share my own experiences. It’s a topic I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while.
Breastfeeding has been a lot different second time round. A lot harder, but a lot more enjoyable and rewarding.
With my first baby, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to breastfeed but I thought I should at least give it a go. Izzy was drowsy from the drugs so she didn’t show any interest in feeding the first day, and didn’t feed much for the next few days. I think I have forgotten much of our breastfeeding journey due to the haze of sleepless nights, but I don’t recall any major issues aside from the occasional sore nipple. But I never fed in public, instead expressing and taking bottles of milk out with me. Even in the house I would go into a different room if we had visitors. I enjoyed the closeness and the bonding, but it was a stage that I wished away and I was pleased when it ended. We introduced formula after 2-3 months (mainly due to the amount I was having to express if I wanted to leave the house) and stopped altogether at 5 months.
With my second, she rooted around for a nipple very soon after being born and for the first few feeds I thought I had a natural on my hands. But then the pain started. She was latched on properly (the midwife and health visitor both checked) but my nipples were raw. Every time I went to feed her I would feel a sense of dread and tense up, anticipating the toe curling pain, trying to hold back the tears. Sometimes I would bite down on a muslin cloth until she had latched on and the pain would ease a little. Being on call 24/7 for feeding meant I was exhausted too. Despite the set back, I felt more confident this time round. More confident to ask for help. I got advice on different feeding positions which helped (as she wasn’t constantly rubbing on the same sore bit of nipple), and persevered.
Two weeks of painful, cracked and bleeding nipples and then I had mastitis. Complete with the aches and flu-like symptoms. It was the closest I came to stopping breastfeeding, but I’m so glad I didn’t. Things got so much better after that. Everything settled down and feeding became not only comfortable but enjoyable. The special bonding time, the closeness and skin to skin contact.
Four months in and we are still exclusively breastfeeding. Of course, there are still some challenges, but after the pain of the first few weeks I can live with sometimes swollen and leaky boobs.
The biggest difference this time round though, is that when Clara was just one week old I fed her while we were in Nandos. And my confidence for feeding in public has grown and grown. I no longer hide in another room when we have visitors or take a bottle out with me, I feed her whenever and wherever is needed, with pride instead of reluctance.
It’s been a difficult journey, but very worthwhile and I hope it continues for at least a couple more months. It may be natural, but breastfeeding can take its toll, physically and emotionally. However, seeing her grow and thrive and knowing that it is all down to me? You can’t beat that feeling.