Breastfeeding Journey


I have probably written a post about breastfeeding a million times and then deleted it each time. It is a subject that always gets people talking. I decided to breastfeed Clem however I can understand why people do bottle/formula feed. After just four days of trying to feed Clem I almost gave up. I sat on the bed in tears, my nipples extremely cracked, broken, sore and bloody, Clem screaming at me because she was hungry. As I sat there I sent Jesse to Boots to get formula. I was sleep deprived, I’d been trying for four days to feed her and in my eyes I was failing. I was ready to give up. I had the bottles all ready and waiting to be sterilised.

Breastfeeding is not an easy thing to do. During the pregnancy we joined our local NCT group and did our ante-natal classes with them. One of the sessions was specifically about breastfeeding. It lasted for 3 hours and I definitely think they could do a whole day session on it, it did seem like there was a lot to cover in not a lot of time. The main thing I got from the class is that breastfeeding should not hurt. Yes there will be a slight pain when you first start, you do have a baby latching on after all but it shouldn’t last longer than 30 seconds.
Before we left the hospital I was feeding fine, Clem was latched on properly and it all seemed good. Then we got home, I got more tired, and something just went wrong. We were struggling. I couldn’t get her to latch, I couldn’t get a good position. I ended up surrounded in pillows trying to get a good angle. I lost all confidence in myself, I thought I was a terrible mother unable to feed her baby. This might have been because it was still only 4 days after giving birth, I was extremely tired and still recovering from labour. My boobs were full, and sore yet I couldn’t feed Clem due to the pain. No one tells you that your milk doesn’t actually start to properly come through until about the fourth day. By this point along with the formula I also had a breast pump. I had read online that trying to pump might help. We also got nipple shields to help heal my nipples.

She didn’t like the formula, she couldn’t get on with a bottle even when I had expressed some milk. The shields sort of helped but we still had problems and my confidence had gone. As it was the weekend I didn’t know if I could contact anyone, but luckily the midwife was coming on Monday afternoon so I could ask fo help then. I have to say she was great. She gave me some good advice and really helped me with positions and posture. I was free from the pillow fort I had built up around me. As the days went on, things got better, my nipples healed pretty quickly and Clem was putting on weight so it was all good.

There has definitely been times when I’ve wished I had given up and we stuck with formula/bottle feeding. Those times were mostly in the middle of the night, during a massive cluster feed when I’d had less than 2 hours sleep. I wish I’d been able to share it with Jesse. Also you don’t get as much freedom with breastfeeding, especially when they won’t even take the milk you’ve spent ages expressing. Clem has never taken to a bottle but here we are 11 months down the line, still going strong on the boob. I’ve fed her in all sorts of places, in the local park, sat in the back of the car in a car park, cafe’s and restaurants. I’ve never experienced any issues whilst breastfeding in public. I don’t use a cover up as Clem really doesn’t like it and it makes her fussy and cry which isn’t very helpful.

I’ve got other breastfeeding updates which can be found here – Still breastfeeding?!  and here – Goodbye Breastfeeding – end of our journey.

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