Many, many thanks to @MamiGz for sharing the following:
Prompted by MummyLion’s breastfeeding story for National Breastfeeding Week. I thought I’d write my own. Yes, my story is in some ways very similar and yes, I did recently bemoan my experiences of other people’s interference on the Mummy_Central blog but breastfeeding my son for the past year is something my strength of feelings about have often surprised me.
Firstly, I am not a Lactivist or a member of the Breastapo. I hate both terms. I’m not a member of La Leche or anything similar. I’m just a mum who wanted to do her best to avoid formula feeding, partly because of the cost, partly for the health benefits to me and to my child and partly for my own convenience. I’m just a mum whose been lucky to take to breastfeeding with very few difficulties and whose baby continues thrive on the boob.
I told my midwife at the booking appointment I was determined to breastfeed, funnily enough although I hadn’t been one to always picture myself as a mother, I had always pictured myself breastfeeding my child should I ever have child of my own. I guess vanity played a part, after all apparently nothing else burn calories like breastfeeding can.
Unlike MummyLion I read up very little on the subject prior to giving birth. I didn’t manage to get to ante natal classes. Naively, I just assumed everything would come naturally and happen as it would happen and that the midwives and nurses would be there should I need help. This was my whole coping strategy with the birth too and although towards the end of my pregnancy I developed Obstetric Choleastasis and had to be induced three weeks early, it did all go smoothly and certainly easier than I had been led to believe. I didn’t even swear once (most unlike me normally!)
My breasts had begun leaking some weeks prior to giving birth – admittedly, this had freaked me out a little but it helped spur me on in belief that everything would work OK. My tiny, healthy, beautiful 6lb 4oz boy was passed to me and once I was shown how to hold him his first breastfeed took place with relative ease.
However, the next few feeds weren’t so simple. Bubba was more interested in sleeping rather than feeding and when he was awake he refused to latch. I was shown how to express and fed my son colustrum via a 10ml oral syringe. I stayed in hospital for four nights and during this time was shown various positions to hold my newborn to assist feeding. I asked my dad not to visit me in hospital because his discomfort in seeing me ‘whip my boob out’ made things harder for me. I cracked the feeding by placing a pillow under babe and sitting with my feet raised from then on feeding began in earnest.
Once home it felt like my son was never off the boob, he fed every hour and half to two hours and yet still my breasts leaked and dripped like a running tap. It amazed me my body could be that productive when I myself was so tired! Breastpads were useless, I went out with flannels stuck down my bra. It was a hot summer too and in our lounge I sweated and stuck to our leather sofas. Every visitor got an eyeful at feeding time, to hell with being discrete, it was my home, my newborn and I was boiling hot.
Then at just eight weeks old my son faced his first ever flight and long haul at that. Mexico beckoned, my husband had to obtain his Visa to stay in the UK and because we’d married in Cancún we had to obtain it over there. The flight was as tiring as ever and even more stressful as new parents but breastfeeding made it so much easier. No hassle through customs and our fellow passengers hardly heard a peep as he was popped on and off the boob and slept in my arms.
Yes, my mother in law wanted me to put him on formula, I think only so she could feed him, yes my breastpump turned out to be useless and I worked a scarf around the two of us for public feeds, yes I used breastfeeding as an excuse to get away from Spanish chatter I couldn’t understand and go and sit in the air conditioned bedroom and watch American tv on cable.
We flew home almost exactly three months later. I had almost achieved my aim of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and I braced myself for the initial weaning. Solids came into my boys life but never distracted him from the breast. I decided to continue breastfeeding over the winter for the immune system benefits and as Spring came decided to continue until his first birthday, at this point planning an easy switch to cows milk.
We celebrated my sons first birthday just three weeks ago and still the big switch to cows milk hasn’t started, he takes only tentative sips from a feeding cup before screaming his refusal and begging for the breast. When playing he will tap my chest, pull at my tops or suddenly just dive bomb my chest (the dive bombing happens frequently at night as we often co-sleep).
Before turning six months, my fussy son began refusing my left breast and now only feeds on the right. Consequently I’m decidedly lopsided and so now not only have to dress for ease of feeding but to disguise the difference in size too. I miss wearing whatever takes my fancy and glamorous bras. My husband misses his wife’s boobs, I miss being able to take medication when I feel rough. I still drink the very occasional glass of wine because it is only very occasional. I do feel more tired than I otherwise might because breastfeeding is physical. I do get formula mummies chipping in with ‘but he’d sleep through if you gave him a bottle’ type criticism but who am I to deny the person I love most in the whole world something that he loves and provides him both comfort and nourishment out of vanity or silliness.
I don’t know how much longer breastfeeding will continue, this time there’s no initial six month target, or waiting for certain seasons to end, we will just sit it out and see how much longer both enjoy it. We’ll keep trying the cows milk. Really only my son will have the final say, though he does have teeth now and if he becomes too chewy…………….
COMPETITION NOW CLOSED.
I am *terribly* excited to announce my very first ever blog competition! And with my love of clothes what could be more appropriate than being able to offer you fashion-loving gorgeous people out there a whole ten quid off a fabulous upcoming online boutique? The site is easy to search, by item, price or colour and i am already in love with their floral chiffon shorts and cute panda t-shirt, as well as some of their stunning maxi dresses.
"Founded in 2011, SEEN was created through the frustration of lack of support for smaller independent UK designers and labels and our aim is to introduce and show case their collections through this website. With our mix of designer menswear & womenswear from independent designers our wide range of pieces offer something for everyone and budget, including everyday wear to couture and celebrity worn."
So, without further ado, I will hereby launch this competition *cracks open bottle of champagne on blog helm*
and leave a comment below telling me you have done so.
Winners will be chosen randomly on the 15th July at 23.59pm BST, so good luck!
When I began writing a blog, blogger was my first choice – nice and simple, quick to set up and with a good handful of templates to make it look pretty and a little more personalised. However as I delved deeper into the blogging world, I began to realise the limitations of blogger – it sometimes failed to work properly, there were insufficient ways to alter the look and feel of the blog and was suitably inflexible with the minor details of blog creation. Looking at other peoples creations, I began to lust after a ‘posh blog’ and soon came to realise that the blogs that I aspired to were all self-hosted and created using wordpress.
I decided to search around for a hosting company that could help me set up my wordpress blog because I had printed out instructions about how to install wordpress and it just seemed really really complicated. I came across several, but MHHosting had the best prices and what swung it for me straight away was the customer service. @MHHost always seems to be on twitter, so at any time of the day or night he/she/it is out there tweeting the answers to my silly newbie questions and sorting out minor difficulties. They even set up my wordpress so that all I had to do was make it look pretty and start writing!
So now I have this wonderful new shiny new blog to play with, I thought that I’d write this little post by way of thanks, for helping me, and being patient, and always there for me. Like the perfect man, but without the bed-hogging and burping and other relationship unpleasantries. Thanks, MHHost.
When I planned to breastfeed my son, I really had little to no idea what to expect. Most of my peers bottle fed after a few weeks and I’d heard horror stories of pain and discomfort and not being able to produce enough milk. I attended a breastfeeding tutorial as apart of my antenatal course but the only plan I really had was to go with the flow and see what happened. I suffered a dreadful depression in my pregnancy and I doubted my ability to feed my son as well as doubting my capabilities as a mother in general.
After an enormously long labour and assisted delivery, my baby lamb was put to my breast and miraculously latched on with little assistance. The first few days in hospital were a blur – remember they kept me in because my son wasn’t feeding properly, though I can’t really remember any serious problems other than he slept for a long time the first night, and so would I, if I’d been on a journey that took six and a half days! In the middle of one long night, when I couldn’t comfort him, the nurses took him away and gave him a bottle. To this day I am so very cross about that, but at the time I was fragile and lets face it, you trust nurses.
The first few weeks following the birth I stayed at my Mums house and it went by in a blur of sleeplessness and seemingly constant feeding. My nipples were cracked and sore and I seemed to be a big sweaty zombified milk machine – constantly leaking all over the place. I’d stay up feeding and reading, not daring to go to sleep whilst my son was latched on because I’d heard horror stories of squashed babies, and because when I had accidentally drifted off in hospital, I was roused by the screeches of a nurse, who had frightened the living daylights out of me with her reprimands for daring to sleep with my baby. It was so hard to fight the urge to sleep – every time I fed, I seemed to be overcome with the same kind of comfort and drowsiness that my son so obviously felt.
Back at my house the round the clock feeding continued and the first three months became a blur of feeding, sleeping, nappies. Trying to do ‘normal’ things like shopping and making a cup of tea and seeing people had suddenly become ever so complex and every time I planned to leave the house he seemed to want a feed. My boobs were enormous and heavy and became increasingly painful and every time he wanted milk I inwardly wanted to cry and cry. It wasn’t until the tell-tale red lines of mastitis appeared that the doctor gave me some antibiotics to ease my agony.
I had no support from is father – on the contrary, he told me I was breastfeeding just to spite him, and that I should wean my son onto bottles. When I fed my son, his dad would look at me with unreserved disgust, as if I had just exposed my private parts in public. It wasn’t just him either, I had other comments such as ‘you’re not going to do that in here are you?’ as if I had just squatted down to wee on the carpet or something. Rather than put me off though, these comments fuelled my inner strength to carry on with my breastfeeding because I knew in my heart that what I was doing was a wonderful thing for my son, giving him the very best start in life.
Our breastfeeding journey has continued, and at eighteen months I sometimes get raised eyebrows again, and a feeling that people think I am spoiling my son, or making him dependent on me, or that I’m going to raise an adult asking for ‘bitty’. I have wavered, because as strong as I may be, comments do sink in just a little bit. The fact of the matter though is that at the moment, my son loves his mummy milk, his face lights up with joy if I mention it and he will stop whatever he’s doing and make a beeline for them. When he is sad or hurt it soothes him. When he is tired it helps him sleep. When I have forgotten to bring a snack for him, I have a nutritious meal under my bra. I have never had to get up in the night to make bottles, I have never had to sterilise or worry about finding the money for expensive formula milk and the healthy start vouchers have instead gone on fresh fruit and veg. We did end up sleeping together,and as a single mum I think that breastfeeding helped me enormously with the night feeds – if he woke, I just whopped one out and fell back to sleep. I don’t think I’d have been ale to cope otherwise with the sleeplessness. I had a few weeks of soreness when the teeth appeared but it didn’t last long.
I am very grateful to breastfeeding week because I have been wondering ‘what next’, and reading all about extended breastfeeding has given me peace of mind that what I am doing is still a wonderful thing for my son, that it will help him become healthier, more sociable and intelligent. Already he seems to be generally healthier than other kids his age and he is so happy and confident and so very rarely cries. He has never been sick since he got past the regurgitation stage and he’s had a handful of little colds but he is remarkably resilient and copes better than I do with illness. This could just be his character, but I like to think that my magic milk has helped and will continue to benefit him until he decides to wean himself, whenever that will be. My body has somehow managed to produce precisely the right nutritional mixture for my son, and that is something I find incredible, and awe inspiring.
Breastfeeding is a magical, incredible experience and if anyone would like help or support from an ordinary mum, feel free to email me.
A brilliant website that I was reading today is: http://www.kellymom.com/
If you would like to win an Emma Jane nursing bra, click here: http://smilinglikesunshine1.blogspot.com/2011/06/emma-jane-nursing-bra-giveaway.html (This blog also contains the link above, as well as other breastfeeding links)
Please also check out this wonderful site with numerous breastfeeding tips and guides: http://babychangingstation.com/breastfeeding/
I got this recipe from my good twitter friend Talon, it’s really delicious and can be eaten as a topping for fish, meat, vegetables, pasta, anything really. Not a very good diet food but oh, your tastebuds will thank you.
“1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/4 cup chopped FRESH parsley. Important that it’s fresh.
First, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter’s melted, add the cream. Simmer for 5 minutes. You can stir if you’d like. Then add the cheese and garlic, stir it in. Parmesan cheese doesn’t melt well so it’ll be stringy but, I like it that way and if you don’t you can try to substitute it for gruyere or something but, I haven’t tried that. My sauce every one likes uses parmesan.
Remove it from heat then stir in the parsley (which is optional) and you’re done.”