Breast is Best

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.


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Jenny Paulin Reply

    You are so right – no one tells you how hard breast feeding is. I also had problems with getting my bay to latch on and luckily for me my OH’s mum was a complete star and guided me through it. If she hadn’t I don’t know if I would have been able to carry on.
    It sounds like you are getting there though – which is just brilliant 🙂
    Such a great post x x

    • Clara Reply

      Thank you. I really struggled & we’re still getting the hang of it but it’s a learning curve & as long as he is happy, I’m happy. Glad you had someone, it makes me want to volunteer to help other mums x

  2. Liz Weston aka @TheLizWeston Reply

    BF is a hugely emotive topic for so many women. And quite rightly so – if you do it and it works for you and your baby, you may be so proud that you want to shout about it from the rooftops! And if you have a go and it doesn’t work out out, or you don’t like it, you’ll have the feeling that you need to defend yourself for the rest of your life. It really does divide people that much.

    For me, I fed my first so beautifully and easily for 11 months and 2 weeks. It was heaven. I was so pro BF, I was so proud of myself and my body. Then he self weaned – I think in part because I had the bump for our baby growing a fair bit at that point (we’ve got a 16 month gap). But with the second baby, it was so much more hard work, hard to get it going, hard to keep on the boob because there was a 16 month old bouncing around in the background. It was just all hard work, and I was doubly tired from the parenting I was doing. But somehow, we got to 23 months together before he self weaned.

    I don’t know why I’m sharing this. I just wanted to put it out there that different babies have different mouths and bodies and some love BF and some don’t. Part of me wonders if I would have been happier second time around if I’d formula fed at some point? I can’t work out when though as I would have always beaten myself up over it emotionally, because BF is so good for mums and babies.

    Happy Mums = Happy Babies. Do what makes you happy x

    Liz Weston aka @TheLizWeston

  3. Bex @ The Mummy Adventure Reply

    I think the most important thing is to have the best intentions for your child – wanting them to be healthy and fed however you do that is far more important than how they are fed. Well done for sticking through it as doesn’t sound like you have had it easy but ultimately as you say, doing what is right for your little family is the most important thing. This way you both get to feed little monkey too which must be lovely! x

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