Breastfeeding. The Mummy Blog GUEST POST

Breastfeeding. Easy, right? Just put your boob in their mouth and jobs a goodun?
Not quite.

I knew from quite early on in my first pregnancy that I wanted to breastfeed. It’s what I had my heart set on and nothing was going to stop me. I read all about breastfeeding and how it works, what to expect and so on. I even went as far as not buying any bottles or formula in, I was so set on feeding him myself.

Fast forward a few months and the big day came.
My baby boy was here! He was born early at 37 weeks bang on, by just a few hours. And he was small for gestational age, at just 5lb.
We were incredibly lucky that he didn’t need any help or NICU time and we were allowed home the following day.

Our journey has been a rocky one, to say the very least.  He did not have his first feed until he was a few hours old as I was stuck being stitched up to high heaven. Our first hurdle was flat nipples. (Sorry boys if this is an uncomfortable read - but ya ladies like to overshare).  As he was so tiny and my nipples were flat it was incredibly difficult for him to latch to me let alone feed. We managed to get him to take one breast but he couldn’t get the hang of feeding on my other. And I ended up feeding him with nipple shields on that side for a total of seven weeks until he learnt to feed from it himself.
(Quite possibly the most stressful seven weeks of my life)

Then came the paranoia.
 “Is he getting enough?”
“He’s gone 4 minutes past 1 hour since his last feed, I NEED to feed him or else he will starve”
I started to track each feed. Every. Single. Feed.
And it became an obsession. What time he fed, how long for, what side was it on.

Then came the pumping obsession. Pumping between feeds. Pumping whilst he was feeding. Tracking every millilitre.

“10ml less this time, my supply is drying up” I’d think to myself.
And I’d panic, not leaving the house so I could stay home and feed and pump. Feed and pump, feed and pump.

Ultimately I became a slave to my own breasts. To the milk that I produced.

Unhealthy obsessed.

Nothing I had read prior to his birth said this could happen.

Nothing told me of the unimaginable pain of cracked, bleeding, burning nipples. I’d only read of “slight uncomfortableness in the beginning”

Nothing of nipple shields, low supply, over supply, pumping variable outputs, changes in fat content or baby's feeding habits for no particular reason.

I’d heard nothing of people developing and ocd compulsion around their children’s feeding patterns.

I went through stages of “nursing aversion” were the thought of feeding him made my toes curl and made me want to take him off of me and never feed him again. And I felt horrible but I pushed myself to keep feeding. And it would pass!

It was a long, and rocky road in the beginning and one I look back on and wish I’d of had someone just to tell me it gets easier and mean it, having gone through even an ounce of something similar to me. It felt like I was the only mother to have so many issues. I just wanted to feed him, and that’s all I ever wanted to do.

Lots of people suggested formula or trying a bottle. The formula idea at the time was a no go for me, I felt like if I gave it to him I’d failed and it make me feel like I could just too front he very edge I was standing on.
We tried bottle after bottle, but no such joy. He couldn’t take to the teat. Not one single teat of the 10+ brands I tried.

There was nothing, I felt like anyone could do to help me, and I wasn’t helping myself at all.

After around 5/6 months things started getting easier, he fed normally and I gradually weaned myself off of tracking his feeds. I weaned myself off of pumping so regularly and I stopped worrying myself into oblivion  over tiny mls of milk.

And it was the best thing I ever did.

I fed Zachary right through my second pregnancy until I went into early labour at 32+4 weeks. He was 17 months old.

17 months!!! Holy moly, that went by fast.
And I breastfed my second, Evie with no issues or problems at all.

No tracking feeds.
No excessive pumping.
No maintaining an oversupply.

Just pure, wonderful feeding.

And oh my god. What a world apart it is.

If I could go back in time and give myself some advice, I’d tell me to stop worrying. Stop obsessing and living this horrible low feeling life where everything revolves around breastfeeding.
I’d tell myself to GIVE HIM SOME FORMULA if it made me so unhappy and anxious wondering if he was getting enough.

I’d tell myself to get a grip, breastfeeding didn’t increase my worth as a mother.
And I’d tell myself to enjoy my time with him more. For he will grow so unbelievably fast. 


Follow Shannons journey through her Instagram page "themummyblog"

Cheers for reading. 

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