This post is about my breastfeeding experience, for my three children. This post has nothing to do with breast is best or anything like that. To be completely honest with you that used to be my mantra. Until I got with my partner 9 years ago. His 2 older kids who are the same age as my older 2. Both our children are in perfect health and they were bottle fed.
I now honestly believe bottle or breast are both best. It doesn’t matter what option you choose just as long as you do one of them. 🙂 Okay, that big topic aside let me share my personal experience of breastfeeding.
My First Meeting with a Midwife
When I was 18 I got pregnant with my first. A midwife came out to my home and asked me questions. One of them was breast or bottle. I had this overwhelming urge to say breast. I wasn’t breastfed as a baby and neither were my sisters so I’m not 100% sure why I said this. It’s not like I knew any different than bottle fed but I just knew I wanted to breastfeed. I used to do the night time feeds with my little sister from the age of 12 years old. So I think, having to boil the kettle, measure out the powdered milk formula, losing count as I was so tired and having to start again was just a bad memory for me so I think I was enticed to breastfeeding more as I knew you just had to get my boob out and done. lol
My First Child
My son was born, I took him home after six hours but I’d been given pethidine during labour. This made Dennis sleep for a whole day after. I woke up the next day with too large extremely full/hard breasts with milk soaking my PJ top from nipple area to my PJs short waistband. It was the first milk so it was a lot sticker than normal milk and it had kind of glued itself to me. I had to get into a bath in my PJs to get it off. Ouch!
For the first couple of days I struggled to breastfed Dennis, he just wouldn’t latch on. My midwife came around and told me to pinch my nipple and guide it into his mouth. That was the turning point, he latched on and loved it and from that point, I never had any problems. I did have a few occasions when I breastfed him out and some people were disgusted with me. I ignored them and carried on with feeding my baby.
My health visitor came out when Dennis was 6 months old. She told me that I had to stop breastfeeding now as my breast milk had lost its iron. As I was 19 years old at the time and very nieve I listened and did as was advised. I put him on formula milk. I wasn’t happy with my decision almost straight away.
Dennis gained a lot of weight and became even hungrier. He also became ill getting every cold around and then every single one leading into a full blown chest infection. We all suffer from Asthma in my family and he hadn’t had any problems while I was breastfeeding but within weeks of going to bottles, he was constantly ill. I am not a scientist but I would have been happier, now knowing the facts, to keep breastfeeding him until he was ready to wean himself naturally of the breast or it was time.
My Second Child
My second child, Holly was a totally different experience as I knew better. Holly was attached to my breast almost constantly since the moment she was born, she never seemed content unless she was near or latched onto my nipple. During the first month my nipples because saw and cracked and breastfeeding was extremely painful. I tried all the nipple creams available but nothing worked as she fed so often.
My midwife advised me to express some of my milk of in-between my fingers and rub it over my nipples. I honestly didn’t think it would help but I was at my pain point, I couldn’t take much more of this. Every time I fed her I was in agony as she was reopening the wounds on my nipples. The next day after doing this my nipples were completely healed, I couldn’t believe it. It worked. I breastfed Holly for 18 months, at this point I stopped it as she would very often bite my nipple and make me bleed. Over the 18 months, I’d get the occasional rude person in regards to breastfeeding in public but if anyone had an opinion I’d say I understand but explain I wasn’t going to not feed my child. They would grunt, pull and face but give up and walk away.
My Third Child
My third child, Bella, yet again was a completely different experience. As with the others, Bella’s birth weight dropped slightly in the first few weeks. My midwife said that if she didn’t start putting weight on I’d have to stop breastfeeding as my milk wasn’t nutritious enough for her. My midwife sent my milk off to be tested and when the results came back he said that there wasn’t anything wrong with my milk, he was actually shocked how good it was. So I continued to breastfeed and she did start to put weight on. I breastfed Bella for 18 months, I was planning on doing it for much longer due to knowing she was our last child, I talk about this is my post ‘We Knew We Were Done Having More Kids‘ but she weaned herself off the breast at this point naturally.
All through this, I’ve loved how breastfeeding encouraged me to spend extra bonding time with my children. I loved the closeness I felt. Also, on the plus side, it was free (except when I switched Dennis to formula at 6 months) we didn’t have to buy bottles, sterilise them, buy formula, make bottles for night time feeds when half awake. I struggled with all my pregnancies due to having Obstetric Cholestasis with my first child (which I talk about in my Birth Stories page) I was petrified I’d have it with the others that I couldn’t enjoy the experience of pregnancies at all. But, I did enjoy breastfeeding so much and I’m so happy I was able to do it.
The NHS Website is a great resource for helpful information for breastfeeding.
The advice I can give to mothers who are thinking of breastfeeding
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you decided to try it and it doesn’t work out for you or you can’t do it for as long as you want, understand that you did your best. Even one little sip of breast milk right after birth can help your child, you don’t have to hit a certain milestone to feel like you’ve done a great job. You’ve carried/grown a mini human being, brought that child into the world. You’ve already done enough, you don’t have to try and do everything.