To Breastfeed or Not to Breastfeed?
During my pregnancy I knew I would love to breastfeed our precious baby girl, however, hearing lots of other mums journeys through breastfeeding it was hard not to have doubts.
First there is the stigma of “it doesn’t always work” and older generations saying “sometimes you can’t, it makes them clingy” but, my husband and I felt we would do whatever is best for our baby girl, we were open minded and empowered to make the right choice for us as a family.
My midwives gave a brief outline of what to expect with breastfeeding, but during a pandemic this was limited and bundled in with another appointment with other things. Hardly the detail you would need for something which I would potentially end up doing around the clock for months to come.
The First Hours & DaysWe were lucky to have the most amazing, positive birth experience and our baby girl Mia was born safely in the water. I was initially given skin to skin for the ‘golden hour’, which was the most magical experience of our life with Mia crawling to my breast and latching on pretty much instantly!
The midwife praised us but said we still have to send a Breastfeeding specialist in (which you would think would be invaluable) who unfortunately was very abrupt, grabbed our baby girls head who was minutes old and moved her whilst proclaiming “this is the correct way!”. Not something I appreciated in our special bonding time and leaving me feeling a little like I had done something wrong. Off she went, with her ticked checklist and leaving me feeling like a number without much care that we were both new at this and learning. We were observed breastfeeding twice during the day and then discharged home 6 hours after birth.
When we got home it was very daunting not knowing if it would ‘work’ and not having support at hand to query any concerns on feeding. Thankfully, Mia was absolutely incredible and knew exactly what to do, we had skin to skin for days and Mia brought in all of our milk!
One of the positives of a global pandemic that we had weeks on end just us three as a family and Mia was able to be near us all the time uninterrupted, without being passed about with other friends and family.
The Midwife visited and Mia lost only 2% of her birth weight which was so great to here (6-10% is the norm and expected) so we were able to be discharged to our community health visitor and it was such a relief.
Weeks went on and Mia was becoming uncomfortable after feeds and very windy, so we spoke to a specialist infant feeding expert from the local health visiting team and she was brilliant. She was able to check our latch and position, suggesting a minor tweak that helped massively with Mia’s feeding and ultimately reduced her wind.
Breastfeeding is the most incredible experience; we made it last a little longer with a touch of specialist help & always building our confidence
One thing we are now building on is our confidence feeding in public. Mia’s not keen on being covered up as it’s been so easily accessible at home in the privacy and safety of our home, during the pandemic. But we are building on feeding in public, taking it one step at a time as Mia grows and develops day by day.
Breastfeeding is the most incredible experience, the bond and attachment we share through it is something I will always love, we adore our breastfeeding journey. Mia is exclusively breastfeeding on demand and we are still going strong at 5 months.
Tips for new Mamas: Be led by your baby, your feelings and emotions and allow yourself to lock the doors for a couple of weeks to have the time to learn to do it together!