Parenting // My breastfeeding journey

I can’t believe that almost eight months in and I’m still breastfeeding. I am so proud of us.

I always wanted to get to three months, and after the first six weeks dragged by, the next six whizzed by. Then I set a target of six months thinking there was no way could I make it that far. Then I did.

Looking back at the early days, it seemed even more unlikely that we would do so well. I didn’t even think about Wilf latching on till about two hours after he was born. I totally forgot about it and the midwife didn’t mention it. It was only when I moved onto the ward that it suddenly occured to me so I asked the midwife what I was meant to do and she seemed a little shocked that I hadn’t yet done it. That was my first pang of mum guilt. She then helped me and he latched straight on. It felt uncomfortable. Not quite painful but not painfree….

After leaving me to it for a few hours I didn’t feel confident and so the breastfeeding specialist spent some time with me before we headed home that afternoon. I felt much better but still not confident and assumed that would come with time.

I continued to feed him at home for the next few days. Feeds lasted a while and were getting more and more painful. Finally the pain had got so bad that I started to wince everytime Wilf wanted to feed. My nipples were so sore and I was in tears as he fed. 

I sought help from the labour ward, who, over the phone told me that it all sounded normal. The next day I wasn’t convinced and was panicking at Wilf’s weight. He seemed to be losing all his weight before my eyes. I called the community midwife who offered to get someone round the next day. The feeding specialist came to ours and told me that the latch was wrong. I felt awful that I hadn’t been feeding him correctly but so pleased that my gut feeling was right and that this pain wasn’t right.

She showed me what to do and we haven’t looked back. There were some nights where we just couldn’t get the latch right, but I knew what was wrong and what was right and now we don’t even need the light on and those troubles seem like a distant memory.

At 5 weeks we introduced expressed milk via a bottle as we wanted him to feed with a bottle. We continued to do this once or twice a week, most weeks for the first few months. 

At 16 weeks we introduced formula for the first time at his dream feed. All seemed to go well and that feed continues to this day. At six months we introduced two extra formula feeds a day and now I only feed him when he wakes in the morning and when he goes to bed in the evening. I also feed him during the night but currently, he rarely wakes during the night at the moment…
I always felt bad for not enjoying feeds more. Because it is bonding time so I should have all the feels about it, but Wilf has always fed for so long, usually hour stints. At 5 months I was told to feed him on both sides at each feed and it just takes so long. I have always been up for a minimum of an hour for each night feed and have had to plan programmes to watch for day feeds as I am glued to the sofa for so long. I guess I wasn’t really sad about the feeds reducing, but now they are so infrequent, it does feel odd and I don’t know how long we will continue like this. I can’t see me still feeding him at a year, but then I never thought we would make it past three months…

T

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