A while ago I asked a series of women to share their breast feeding stories with us.
I was inspired to do so after speaking to a good friend, who had recently become a mother, and was finding breast feeding difficult. She had, as I suspect many other mother do, thought that breast feeding would just happen; something that mum and baby would ‘naturally’ know how to do. In some cases this is true but in many cases it is not and it’s a skill that both mummy and baby have to master.
I therefore thought it would help mums out there to hear some real life stories about breast feeding. We had such an overwhelming response that we decided to publish the blog in two halves. After a busy few months we have finally managed to out together the breast feeding diaries part two:
Jenna, 29, North Yorkshire
I’ve had two children and breastfed them both, on both occasions I found it extremely difficult at the beginning which initially left me doubting whether I would even be able to breastfeed however with amazing support and determination I was able to do so.
As a first time mum, I was really unsure of everything and quite honestly scared I’d break her! I couldn’t even sleep with the light off for the first two weeks as I was so worried. I gave birth to April on the Thursday and by Saturday I was so upset Liam (my husband) went out and bought me a breast pump. I exclusively expressed for two weeks. I hated it, I hated the admin of cleaning the bottles, the fact that I’d feed a bottle of expressed milk then express for the next feed immediately after. I was drained, thankfully Liam was on paternity leave so I did have help. A friend recommended that I try nipple shields, so I bought every brand known to man and gave them a go. Sure enough this worked and I was so happy. However, I then felt I had yet another struggle; I was only able to feed using shields. The only issue was the sheer anxiety that ran through my body when I got the shields out and fed April. I feel it’s nerve wrecking enough to feed without the worry of 1. Trying to discretely put on the nipple shield 2. Trying to get your screaming baby to latch in a public place. (Whilst feeling like everyone is staring at you…even though later on you realise nobody actually was)
April was about 7 months old when I was out with her and forgot my nipple shields, as she needed feeding I just tried to get her to latch and hoped for the best. I was amazed that she latched, from then we didn’t need to use shields and I fed her until she was 2 years and 1 month.
With my second child Ellie, I was quite scared to try breastfeeding, I felt worried about hurdles I might face. Ellie latched straight away in hospital, however this quickly became sore and I started to struggle feeding her. My nipples were bleeding and I wanted to do anything but feed her. The pain was so unbearable it made me scream out. I received daily support from the community midwives who were brilliant. Between cup feeding, syringe feeding, using mam compress pads, expressing and only feeding on my ‘good side’ within a few weeks we came out the other side. This time round I feel so much more confident and comfortable feeding in public.
Two babies and both times I’ve struggled at the beginning, but I tried to remind myself it’s new to me and it’s also new to the baby. I’m so thankful to everyone who supported me, without support I think I would have given up. I feel proud, proud to be doing the most natural thing ever and it’s so beautiful to watch my beautiful chubby baby grow from my milk alone.’
Breast feeding I find is such an emotive subject as to me something that is so natural was the hardest thing in the world for me. For me, it wasn’t the latch that I had difficulty with but my body didn’t really produce the amount of milk needed for my children to thrive.
With Ava, my first, we got to about 12 x weeks of BF & she stopped putting the weight on as I struggled as she always fell asleep on me & as such never really knew how much milk she’d consumed & when it got to a point where I was feeding her every hour, I decided to begin mix feeding her. As a result, I mixed fed her for 9 x months. However, with my other 2 x children, the decision was kind of taken out of my hands as they were dairy intolerant by the time they were about 6 weeks old, albeit they seemed to “tolerate” breast milk better (I don’t really consume a lot of dairy in my diet), the struggles of producing enough milk which required a breast pump which was extremely time consuming when I had other children to care for. I hope this help someone reading this today that might be struggling. We are all different and we all have a different feeding journey.
I had my little boy in March 2019. From first getting pregnant, my intention was to breast feed, but nobody tells you that it isn’t as easy as people make it look.
My little one had a severe tongue tie when he was born, so he really struggled to latch on. I had every midwife in the hospital helping me get him attached, but as soon as I was on my own, I just couldn’t get it to happen. He would get upset because he was hungry and I was getting upset because I felt I was failing. I gave in and gave him ready made bottles, because I felt like I couldn’t do it.
I had a visit from a midwife the next day when I was back home, and again, she helped me get him to latch, but he was taking no milk, as he just couldn’t latch, and I tried expressing some, but hardly any milk was made. It was very disheartening,my husband was wonderful and convincing me that I just had to keep trying and it wasn’t any reflection on me as a mum. I would cry at night trying to get him to latch, before giving in and getting him a bottle.
At 4 days old, he had his tongue tie cut, but I was told he still had a posterior tongue tie. However, after his tongue tie cut, he still wouldn’t latch properly, until the midwife suggested I use a nipple shield. My little man was able to latch on straight away, and like magic, I was actually feeding my son myself!!! It was the most rewarding feeling- magical moments between us.
We have recently had his posterior tongue tie cut, and now, his latch is perfect. we have come on leaps and bounds and I am so proud of myself and what me and my little boy have achieved.
Without the support of my husband, Midwife’s and breastfeeding teams, I would have given up, but I am so happy now that I stuck with it. My little boy is thriving and, I feel like we are the dream team now!!!
Three different ladies with three very different stories. At Cover Me Baby we believe that fed is best and that all mums should be supported, informed and empowered to feed their baby in which ever way is best for them and baby. We hope that this blog helps mums to realise that everyone’s journey is different and unique to them and what we plan is often very different to the reality.
We would like to thank each and everyone of you for sharing your story with us and we hope that it empowers all you wonderful mothers out there!