I knew I wanted to breastfeed spud from early on in my pregnancy, I hadn’t done it with madam and had always somewhat regretted it. I was adamant that I would and nothing was going to stop me! Dad was massively supportive of me and to be honest I’m not sure I would have managed to feed spud without his support and encouragement. It was pretty tough going at times.
I had this bizarre notion that it was going to be easy / straight forward, after all breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world so just how hard could it be? How naive I was.
Spud was born at 7.29pm on a Wednesday evening after a very long labour and within 15 mins or so was enjoying his first feed. It was fantastic, it was easy, it was everything I’d imagined it would be. I felt an enormous sense of pride that I would still be responsible for providing spud with his nutritional needs now that he was outside his home of the last nine months. The first few days were fine he fed a lot it seemed to going well we were happy & healthy but that soon changed along came engorged breasts and excruciating pain.
Fast forward to my 6 week check up at my GPs – I’d been struggling with feeding, he was feeding hourly but only for short lengths of time, I was having issues with latching on. I’d been hoping that my visit to the Drs would provide me with some sort of support, maybe a bit of knowledge to help me overcome these issues. You see I didn’t know anybody who had breastfed and there was no support groups in place in my area at the time so I was completely going in alone (with Dad constantly reassuring me that I was right not to quit and would get it eventually).
Initial checks done – me and spud are fine, he’s not put on quite as much weight as they’d like but was perfectly healthy. End of the appointment is approaching and the Dr asks is I have any concerns/questions so I quickly fire all my feeding worries at him in hope of some answers to be told “Well maybe you should just bottle-feed him then!” I was beyond shocked and cried nearly the whole way home from the Drs. I felt like a failure.
Determined not to give in so easily I persevered, I was barely sleeping, feeding constantly and feeling like a pretty shitty mum. Weeks went by I was regularly visiting my Health Visitor to get spud weighed and he was doing really well he’d got back on track and was on his centile (hardly surprising as he ate so often). Then one day I went to the Drs to see the Health Visitor and for Spuds weigh in but it was somebody else as mine was off sick – and I’m so glad she was. The new HV was just chatting away to me about him and I was exhausted, emotional and burst into tears. I explained what was going on (as I had done to my own HV & GP) and she told me to feed him there and then. She told me I was doing it wrong and showed me how to do it. Spud then had his longest ever feed whilst I sat chatting to her (queue in the waiting room building – sorry) she was the only person (except Dad) who understood what I had been through. I left the Drs feeling like the world had just been lifted from my shoulders, and a baby who was about to have his longest ever sleep.
The HV (nice new one) then phoned me daily for over a week to see how I was doing, and gave me her mobile number after she was happy that I was fine to contact her directly if I ever started to struggle again.
Flash forward again:
Spud is 6 months and still feeding well.
Spud is 1 and still feeding well.
Spud is 2 and still feeding before bed.
I fed Spud until he no longer wanted me to, which was not long after he turned 3. I feel so proud of myself for doing so and for sticking with it even when it was so tough. I am eternally grateful to Dad and the HV for helping through it! Oh and the tubes of Lansinoh that I needed so often. I’d do it all again happily!
Oh and I did it all without expressing any milk too – don’t even get me started on the issues I had with trying to get a breast pump that I could use successfully.