We all know that breastfeeding is most certainly the best way to feed your baby and the life long benefits of breastfeeding greatly outweigh those of formula feeding, however what you aren’t told is how hard it is! It just seems we are told over and over that Breast is best.
I knew from the moment K and I started talking about having children that I wanted to breastfeed but I didn’t really give it a lot of thought, even throughout my pregnancy.
We did attend a breastfeeding workshop towards the end of my pregnancy, however when we arrived we were told it had been cancelled as the midwife couldn’t make it and by the time the next workshop came along Monkey was on his way. So I really had no clue what to expect.
My first night with Monkey was really hard. I didn’t have a clue how to feed him. I was producing colostrum so knew I could do it but I didn’t realise I had to teach myself and Monkey how to latch on. Naively I thought babies had a natural latch.
I called on the midwives all night long to help me but I was given different techniques and found it very confusing. I was also getting the hang of how to hold a baby and thought I might hurt him. So by the next morning I had to resort to hand expressing into a syringe and fed him that way, this meant that he wasn’t getting enough and almost lost 10% of his body weight.
It wasn’t until the 2nd night that the most amazing midwife came in who showed me exactly how I should feed him and physically grabbed my nipples and put them into Monkeys mouth when he opened wide enough. Every 2 hours she came back and by the end of the night we had our first successful feed that lasted half an hour. I was so happy but it took almost 2 weeks before I settled into feeding.
My breasts have gone through the wars over the last 4 weeks. My nipples have split and cracked numerous times, luckily I have my Lanolin Cream which is a godsend! I also panicked that something was wrong when my breasts started to go hard and I came over all flushed and felt really hot and sweaty. However as soon as Monkey emptied my breasts I felt better instantly. I remember K and I getting really worried and we called the midwife unit for advice. Turned out that this was my milk coming in, but we didn’t have a clue before it was explained to us. It’s always best to seek advice.
During Monkey’s light therapy we also discovered that I wasn’t producing enough milk to allow him to put on enough weight as he was only putting on 5g over 2/3 days. So we made the decision with the midwives that we would top Monkey up with formula after a breast feed if he needed it, which we found was the right decision.
Breastfeeding is hard and at first I thought I was failing my son because I didn’t know how to feed him and broke down on many occasions. I know now that most new mothers go through the same as I did. I’m very glad that I persisted as it has helped us to bond and I love having him close, but that’s not the case for everyone.
Its a mothers decision how she feeds her child and that decision is the right one. My advice is to go with your gut instinct. Nobody knows your child better than you do.