My Breastfeeding Journey

Before my eldest was born, I just knew I wanted to breastfeed. If I'm totally honest, I didn't even contemplate it, it didn't even occur to me that I might not be able to. I didn't have a plan B. I'm pretty lucky that in our close family we are very much pro-breastfeeding. Not in your face, this is what you should be doing sort of thing, but it's just what we have all done. It's completely and totally normal. My grandparents, my aunties, my mum, my cousin, we have all breastfed and didn't even think twice about it. That's what really helped. It was just the done thing in our family.
So my breastfeeding journey of course started the night my little girlie was born. And honestly, I struggled. She latched on pretty much straight away, when my other half and the midwives were there. But when they left, and it was just me and my little girlie, I began to struggle. It really quite hurt me, and she wouldn't stop crying. I must be doing it wrong. Why wont she stop crying?! For the first few days after bringing her home, I was still struggling a bit. I was a bit embarrassed to breastfeed in front of others, even my family and I just couldn't feed her in the normal position - the cradle hold. I don't know why, I just couldn't get the hang of it, and neither could she. The pain started to become really bad. I used to cry quietly in the middle of the night, when my nipples were so sore and cracked, and she was sucking really hard. We persevered and I then discovered the Football feeding position. Basically holding your baby like you would if you were playing American football. It worked for both of us, the soreness and pain calmed down and we were both happy. After a while we started to feed lying down, as we co slept. Breastfeeding went really well with my eldest, and I'm so glad. We lasted a year, until I became pregnant with my little guy, and she just sort of went off it.

Breastfeeding my youngest, my little boy was of course a bit easier. I knew what I was doing. My nipples had already been toughened up a bit from breastfeeding before, so there wasn't really any pain. I managed to successfully breastfeed the normal way, the cradle hold and that was that. We co-slept again, so we also fed lying down. Everything was going well. He was happy, I was happy. It all went smoothly, then I made the really hard decision that I wanted to stop. Honestly we made it to 22 months this time round, so I had every reason to want to give my boobs a break! I was so proud how long we fed for. Trying to stop was not an easy task though. I fed him to sleep, I fed him when he was upset, and I fed him first thing in the morning. I first of all stopped feeding him in the day, when he didn't really need it, he was ok about that. Didn't really notice if I'm honest! I knew I then had to stop feeding him to sleep which was really hard.  I decided the best thing to do would be to distract him from the fact I wasn't feeding him. At bedtime they both snuggled in his big sister's bed, and we had lots of stories. I then said goodnight to both of them, and popped him in his bed. For a week or so he wasn't happy about that, but I stayed in the room and he would fall asleep after 10 minutes or so. I then gradually stopped feeding in the mornings too. I'd done it. I thought to myself. I did feel really upset and guilty, but I needed to do it, for myself. A few weeks ago he woke up in the middle of the night, really upset and all he wanted was milk. I didn't give in, and I felt so guilty. But I needed to persevere. The next day he was perfectly happy, and had clearly forgiven me. So everything ended well. 

Breastfeeding can be hard, can be painful. But it's really rewarding and I'm pretty proud of myself for how long we breastfed for. I would definitely do it all over again, and I plan to in the future.

I'm sharing my feeding journey with The Honest Company, along with lots of other mama's!

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