My breastfeeding journey has been completely different with each of my children and over time I have gone from really not being into it, to now where I feel confident and natural in my role as a breastfeeding mother. This little lady was set on feeding the moment she was born and where as I usually like to wait for a while, she certainly had other ideas routing as soon as I held her, and having no other option really than putting her to the breast. I’d say she threw me in at the deep end, but since then she has been a natural little feeder and helped me be (mostly) relaxed and confident with breast feeding as a whole and when out and about too.
As I say this hasn’t always been the case and back in 2010 as a 1st time mother breastfeeding made me uncomfortable, fed up and I really found it all rather weird! With Ethan I put this down to lack of knowledge and support. I probably should have asked for more help, but in the end I only managed 5 weeks of feeding him on me. I remember crying with the pain every time he latched on and feeling like I was being attacked by a toothless piranha. I would cringe whenever Nathan would say “I think he’s hungry” and it was all pretty awful! He also had re-flux which did not help the matter because it meant most of the feed came up shortly after and he would then want to begin all over again minutes later…I tried to convey this to various Drs but to no avail and it wasn’t until his weight had dropped and he was hospitalised that re-flux was diagnosed. As he had thickener to add to his feeds, formula and bottles seemed easier and a welcomed arrival into life.
When I look back at all of this I was just so awkward and clueless as a new mum, I didn’t know what I was doing, had no understanding of after birth pains/cramping’s from feeding and so wondered why pain was present with each feed, and the whole experience made me resentful and pretty sad. I wish id had received more help or known how to access it and been able to be better at breastfeeding, you just assume its natural that it will work but in fact its a lot of hard work, demanding and time consuming and I realise now on number 4 baby that you really have to commit and work at it! So yes I do wish it could have been different with Ethan because I still feel at times I let him down but it is what is and I have learnt and increased in confidence from then and he is healthy and strong so its Okay!
Megan was more pleasant, with some experience and confidence to ask for help I was able to feed her for 4.5 months and combining up to 5 months before stopping completely. I know what helped me at this stage and that was the tube of miracle cream my friend gave me from Lansinoh; if you have ever used it then you will know what I mean, but it is most definitely one of my new born essentials – especially if you plan on breastfeeding. It helps you over the painful 1st few weeks as it has a numbing quality and just feels great. It helps stops sore nips and is fantastic. I also got into the habit with her of expressing and then if I ever felt awkward when out and about I had some breast milk with me to give her. It also helped for Nathan to give her a last feed about 10 whilst I slept and then both of us would sleep well.. me about 9pm – 2 / 3ish and then through til the morning and He 10.30 – Morning…it was a great balance. My asking for help before we left the hospital combined with that beautiful tube of lanolin cream and expressing were definitely the answer to me feeding her myself for 5 months.
Of course then we had and lost Poppy and I never thought I would miss the opportunity to breastfeed so much. It was torturous to take a pill to stop the milk coming and knowing I would never need it. I would lay awake at night with tears streaming down my face, all too aware that I should be feeding my child and not being able to…The whole thing was not only a trigger for grieving but it was a trigger of determination that this time I would breastfeed and I would do it well. I would persevere if it was hard and I would prepare myself mentally to do it. I felt a sudden love for it and no weirdness. Thankfully our little lady has a natural latch, feeds regularly (sometimes it was far too regularly) and other than the initial latching on early on, it is now pain free and we have a good bond going on with it all.
I have been grateful to have the support of Lansinoh once again with their nipple cream and what I can only describe as THE BEST breast pads on the market, as well as trying out their manual breast pump. Now that we are 10 weeks and very established I have been mixing things up with expressed milk too over the last 3 or so weeks when we have been travelling in the car or at church, or just generally to store it for the future. I have always had an ample milk supply and so the breast pads which are super absorbent have been perfect for me. I have probably tried most, but these are number 1 in my eyes and worth that little bit more. I once had them on all day as it was so nuts and there was no risk of leaks as they just expand and take in more moisture turning into a gel like feel. Their bags are excellent to store milk in and I have several all in a row now in the freezer and the pump is so simple to use I can get a 4oz feed off in a good 10 minutes or so.
Breastfeeding and expressing is going so well this time and other than the exhaustion that comes as the result of the odd night feeds still, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I feel so chuffed that I am doing this and that I am finally doing it well to the point I feel happy and she is content. Just last week I used one of my freezer samples as I wanted an evening out to sands… I defrosted and Nath fed her and it worked so well. I never thought 6 years ago I would be so natural with breastfeeding and enjoy the opportunity to, but such is life and I love the routine Alice and I have, made easier with the Lansinoh products.
Disclaimer: Lansinoh sent all of the aforementioned products to me for free in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and pictures are entirely my own.