Saturday, 23 August 2014

To breastfeed or not to breastfeed....that is the question.

One of the many questions I got asked during my pregnancy was "Are you going to breastfeed?". At the beginning of my pregnancy I had made my mind up and I wasn't going to, my husband was happy with whatever I had decided. I had researched the pros and cons of both bottle and breast feeding and personally at the time I felt that it would be too weird getting my boobs out all the time to feed and at 22 years old I really didn't want leaky boobies to add to my list of reasons to hate my boobs.

My first booking appointment at the hospital you are given your maternity notes folder and it has a vast amount of information on breastfeeding and the whole "golden hour" thing. The midwife didn't even ask which route I was going to take, she just assumed I was breastfeeding and booked me in for the breast feeding clinics over the following months. It wasn't just medical people I felt slightly pressured by, a few friends I spoke to brought the subject up also. Of course I was fully aware of the amazing benefits breastfeeding provides not only your baby but also yourself. I suppose the main reason I changed my mind and decided to breastfeed was the possible prevention of cancer. My own mother sadly died of breast cancer when I was 5 years old and in my mind I thought I'm so stupid to not do it for that reason.

So as I approached the end of my pregnancy and buying the last bits and bobs, I decided to give breastfeeding a go. In my head I said that would breastfeed for a good couple of months with the help of expressing when I was able to.

As soon as Joey was born he latched on straight away and guzzled for a good 2 hours (He must have been a hungry boy) after that it all went a bit wrong. He would latch on and then stop and then start and then stop again. Before I was discharged I had several people from the breast feeding clinic trying to help but I was still so exhausted I just wanted my own bed. I was confident that once we got home that things would be better. Things were better...Sort of, the first night home was pretty horrendous, breast feeding still wasn't fully established and I was starting to get very stressed. I very nearly went to the shop to get him formula. But after a few days he was feeding brilliantly,  instead of losing weight like most new babies do he actually put 4 ozs on in 4 days, which was a relief knowing that I was doing the right thing. It was physically draining me, obviously I had to do all the feeds I couldn't just give hubby a bottle.

As Joey got to around 4/5 weeks old i started to express and OMG it was the best thing ever! I expressed mainly for nightime feeds but when he was 5 weeks old i had a bit of an emergency with my grandad where I was in A&E for 6 hours in the early hours of the morning where I just couldn't feed or express so had to resort to giving him his first formula. From then on I started to combine breast and formula which worked really well but then shortly found that because he was actually using the boob that my supply decreased. When I was trying to express maybe only 2oz was being produced each time. I have now completely stopped lactating, in an ideal world I thought that I'd still be breastfeeding at 6 months. I'm really glad that I did decide to breastfeed though even if it was only for a few weeks.

Too much pressure is put on mums to breast feed, some people just genuinely can't and it must be so distressing to mothers who cant establish breastfeeding.

I'd love to hear your own experiences on this...

Thanks for reading :D

Lolly x

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