I’ve been quite reluctant to write about breastfeeding in fear of unintentionally offending or upsetting someone. But it’s such a big part of my life now that I feel it’s ridiculous to keep shying away from it. It’s National Breastfeeding Week so that seemed as good a time as any to chat about our breastfeeding story so far.
We were really fortunate that Baby Knight took to breastfeeding straight away. I was really worried about it as we missed out on skin-to-skin due to her spending time in neonatal but she latched perfectly. HUGE RELIEF! I was convinced we’d got it and would have zero issues from then on. Bless me! Whilst I was still in hospital, Baby Knight refused to feed for HOURS. A few midwives tried to help but in the end the breastfeeding consultant visited us and helped me express colostrum on a tiny spoon. Once she’d got a taste for it we were back in action the same day. The hospital staff were brilliant so make sure you ask for help and support if you need it and don’t leave until you’re happy.
So we went home and settled into life with Baby Knight feeding every 40 minutes in the early days. Seriously. That kid can eat! (Just like her mother) So it’s no wonder really that I then had to deal with the horror of cracking and bleeding. My health visitor was really helpful and with a combination of lanolin cream, silicone shields and the fact that I am stubborn as hell we made it through. But I don’t want to make light of those early weeks as it was really difficult and I know a lot of women struggle at the start. I would dread having to feed her, my heart would sink when she would cry as I knew it would hurt. At times I would bite on a rolled up muslin to cope with each feed. Then I would be left feeling like the worst mother ever as I didn’t want to feed my own baby.
It was difficult but I had a lot of support, I knew I could move onto formula at any time but I just knew I could battle through this. The best advice I had was someone telling me it would get better and to just persevere. Now, please don’t come after me with pitchforks! I know that it is not the case for so many women and this is not a post bashing mothers who use formula straight away or only breastfeed for a short amount of time. I honestly believe in doing what is best for your own family and I was really nervous about putting this up for this reason. This is just my personal experience.
All mothers are amazing and should be confident in the choices they make for their family.
For me, it did get better. Not over night but gradually the pain decreased and now it feels like the most natural thing in the world. Baby Knight is 11 months old and we’re still going strong and I have no intention of stopping any time soon.
I’ve always used a breastfeeding cover when out and about which I would really recommend. For me, it was perfect in the early days as I could sort myself out and get her latched on without feeling like I had to rush to cover myself up. I never felt uncomfortable breastfeeding in public and I’ve even had people compliment on how pretty the covers are. I have a lot to cover up too so they help me to feel confident that I can feed her wherever I am, regardless of who is around. Now she is older they stop her from being distracted by what’s going on around her and allow her to concentrate on feeding.
I also use an app to time her feeds. This was useful in the early days as midwives/health visitors would often ask about her feeds and I was able to tell them roughly how many she had in a day and through the night, how long she was feeding for and the time inbetween her feeds. I also found it useful to know which side she was due to feed on next, when you’re sleep deprived it can be so difficult to remember! I still use the app just because I’m one of those mothers who likes a record of her feeds. Obviously I don’t know how much she is having so I like that I can see a rough guide on how she’s getting on.
So! To conclude, if you are struggling, PLEASE ask for help. I’m super lucky as one of my good friends is a breastfeeding buddy so if I ever have any questions she helps me out. You can find support from your midwife, your health visitor, find your local breastfeeding support group, use one of the many breastfeeding helplines, chat to other breastfeeding mothers. Nowadays there is so much help available that if you do choose to breastfeed, you don’t have to struggle on your own.
It is one of the most natural things in the world but it doesn’t always feel like it. It’s so hard sometimes! So pat yourself on the back, regardless of how long you breastfeed for, and be proud of yourself!
Thanks for reading,
Knight Mummy x