I love breastfeeding. But before I go further, I want to say that this isn’t an overly mushy post about the joys of breastfeeding, its a realistic, honest story of my journey to loving it. In addition I want to add, that feeding your baby any which way that suits you is ok. As a mummy, it’s important to do what’s right for you and your little one.
This is just my story, for which I ‘fell’ into breastfeeding. I never intended this, and my pre-Tommy self has to admit that I made a very poor, uneducated conclusion on the subject. However, upon seeing my baby I felt there was only one option. It’s funny what your emotions drive you to do.
[Just so in love with this little monkey]
It’s one of those many experiences in my life that have enriched my sole and made me a better person. From the moment Tommy first latched on I surrendered, to continuing to be the sole provider for my tiny, precious baby. To give up time, energy and my body to put him first. Always.
When I became pregnant, I knew (and hoped) that life would change. People had said your life will no longer be about you, and I longed for those days. I was prepared for my body to alter in pregnancy, for my time to be a big waiting game, and for the inability to plan ahead. With the ultimate sacrifice being the labour, that brings your baby into this world. I say sacrifice, I know this is dependent on personal experience. However, I felt I was sacrificing my pain threshold, body and mind to push my baby out of me. Which I was more than happy to go through (and even now I admit, I will happily do again and again). Nonetheless, after all that, I wasn’t ready for what came after.
[My baby boy]
The media and societies projection of a post baby mother is one who can fit into her jeans, feeds every two-three hours and wears make up everyday. Which is what I presumed was normal, and thought would happen once I had finished this whole pregnancy lark. However, you won’t be as surprised as me to find out that the reality is very different. The hardest of this was the breastfeeding, sometimes non-stop all day and night. It was draining, terrifying and life changing. However, I made it through feeding Tommy for a year. I was proud of myself for the challenges I had overcome and for never second guessing my babies needs over my own.
[Using the nursing rooms became my safe space, where I felt comfortable]
When Emme was born I was more prepared, for the change and prolonged dependency a baby has on my body, mind and life. Also, I feel society is progressing in a more healthy, honest approach to the realities of motherhood. With the help of websites such as Channel Mum and relatable celebrity figures posting real life photos on social media. Breastfeeding is normalising, and a positive postpartum mind-set is promoted. Overall, I was in a better head space and confident in my parenting style. Partly due to my age and experiences, but also due to societies shift in influential noise.
Emme’s birth was traumatic and long which affected our breastfeeding journey for many months after. My milk came in fine and unlike Tommy’s experience I didn’t suffer with the initial cracking and bleeding (thank you purple cream). However, she has a shallow latch and for months we sought a specialist’s opinions, discussing a possible tongue tie, never coming to a definite conclusion. Finally, we sought the help of an osteopath. My sceptical mind kicked in, but I was desperate to feed this tiny baby and would of tried any source of advice. It was our saviour. After a few months of weekly treatment, we were discharged. The breastfeeding wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t painful and she gained weight well.
[Breastfeeding on holiday, drinking non-alcoholic wine (pretending its as good as the real thing)]
Time passed and my baby girl grew and our breastfeeding positions changed, but I still am so very much in love with this ability to feed her. It connects us together, and allows us time to gaze into each other’s eyes and rest our minds after long days. She is still very much a part of me and needs me, only me. This time is precious and I know that it won’t last forever so I am soaking it up, and prolonging every feed, cuddle and kiss. For one day, she will stop and I will be back to being just me, but for now I am all hers and I couldn’t be happier.
[So in love with this squishy one]