My breastfeeding journey…this is a bit of a different blog for me. It’s a very personal look at breastfeeding – not so much the science but the physical and emotional side of breastfeeding. This is my journey and some of the wisdom I picked up along the way. If you want a more ‘expert’ or advice oriented approach, read my article about breastfeeding.
I had a perfect image of being a mom and that included breastfeeding until at least a year. But I have to tell you that breastfeeding was not a walk in the park for me. I used to look with jealous eyes at my friends who fed like Jersey cows with no stress and seemingly no effort.
Breastfeeding can come with challenges
I have to tell you – my journey was tough from my first baby all the way to my third. With my firstborn, my milk didn’t come in on day three. Everyone said it would come in on day three but on that day, James had his circumcision (another horrid moment for a new mom) and my emotions floundered and … no milk. I now understand that the advice I was given to feed four hourly in the first days to ‘preserve my nipples’ was the worst advise. No wonder my milk didn’t come in! In addition, I also now know that women who’s milk is late coming in are more likely to suffer an emotional blip on day 3. It was hard. I then had to fight the nurses who said he needed a bottle because my milk was not sufficient. It was a hard day.
The second thing that went wrong for me was the pain – I can tell you that my let down is not a light tingle! It is a breath-taking stab of pain that goes right through my body. I would count backwards from 30 as it came on, knowing that if I breathed it would eventually settle. I experienced this with all three babies at every feed for the first three months of feeding. People tell me my latch must have been wrong, but I think that some people do experience pain on let down that is not just related to poor latch.
Every breastfeeding journey is different
The control aspect of breastfeeding is hard for an A-type personality. You can’t measure, test or control breastfeeding – you have no idea how much your little one is getting and that can be hard for some moms.
At four months, my social butterfly wanted to pull off the breast to look around – it was impossible to feed in one go – he wanted a snack and then to check around and then to snack again. I found this so frustrating.
I also think my stress and anxiety over the care of a newborn made it hard for my hormones to do their job and just produce milk.
In all it was tough! Really tough. I managed to breastfeed my little ones until 6 months but I get it when people say “I couldn’t breast feed.” It’s a harder journey for some of us.
I guess my personal advice on feeding would have to be to get support from a lactation consultant – it really does make a huge difference. And secondly if you don’t breastfeed, you are not a failure. And please, please do not judge a woman on the way she feeds her baby – you haven’t walked a day in her shoes and in the end – we all want what’s best for our little ones.