My Breastfeeding Journey...Wednesday, March 29, 2017
So.. this is a post I have been writing in my head for weeks as it is something I really wanted to share. I hope it can benefit some people out there and also maybe benefit me in a sort of form of therapy.
Before Finn was born I knew breastfeeding was something I really wanted to do/try. My mum breastfed me, my brother and my sister and I knew the facts - it was meant to be the best start for your baby, would be easier than making up bottles and also save a lot of money on buying formula. I was under no illusion it would be easy, Id read a lot about how hard it could be getting your baby's latch right, that it was (even if you were doing right) painful in those first few weeks but that it would get better. I felt like I was ready for the fact that maybe it wouldn't work out that I would leave the hospital and buy formula on the way home. I was prepared for Finn not being able to latch properly or that it would painful for a while what I wasnt prepared for was my situation..
When Finn was born he was instantly put on my chest for skin to skin contact and there he stayed for the first hour which is the most important for bonding, keeping him calm by regulating his heart rate and keeping him warm next to me. With the help of a midwife he was latched on and started feeding while I was being stitched up. From day one Finn had no issue with latching on, he knew exactly what to do and I was so grateful, I also experienced basically no pain at all. Hallelujah I thought! I can do this, it ain't that hard..
When we left the hospital and got home things started to change, the midwives had noticed while we were in hospital that Finn was very unsettled between feeds, he cried a lot and didnt sleep much.
When we got home this pattern continued, Id feed Finn and he would fall asleep but within anywhere between 30 minutes - 90 minutes he would wake and cry again. We took him to the doctors a couple of times and were told different things, he has reflux and colic, maybe he has a diary allergy, maybe he is having headaches from my labour taking so long, he is cluster feeding and going through a growth spurt. All the while I continued with breast feeding, Finn gained weight with ease but I was having to feed him every 2 hours all day and all night and in the mornings and early evenings it would be continuous for hours on end. This I was not prepared for..
I went to breastfeeding support groups and spoke with the midwives who all told me Finn was doing great and definitely getting enough breastmilk due to his weight gain.. of course he is getting enough I thought, Im feeding him for 45minutes at a time and not getting a break of longer than an hour between feeds. I was told all I need to do is feed Finn and rest, these were my only jobs.. but the 'rest' bit never came. Finn never slept for more than 1-2 hours which meant I rarely got any sleep. I started to get upset and was clearly exhausted and started to resent feeding - it was not this great bonding experience that I had hoped.
I couldnt have a shower without feeling guilty if I heard Finn cry, as I felt he was my sole responsibility and I was the only one who could feed him. Dave & I became accustom to Finn only being upset when he was awake and never content. Then after further talks with my lovely health visitor and another midwife at 5 weeks we decided to introduce one formula feed at night to give me a little break and a chance to sleep. Finn slept for 4 hours!!! Yes he did have colic and reflux but clearly his main issue was a massive appetite that I just couldn't meet. At 6 weeks we decided to introduce more formula and slowly cut back on the breast feeding. Now Finn is just over 2 months old and I am breast feeding him once or twice a day between feeds and he and I are doing so much better. He sleeps for hours at a time, is no where as unsettled and I am able to enjoy breast feeding him and also being able to get some rest.
It has been a hard journey and one that riddled me with guilt, and still sometimes does.. breastfeeding was something Finn & I both seemed to master very easily but in other ways it clearly wasnt meant to be. My friends and family were a great support and no one pressurised me to keep going, except myself. But a happy mum means a happy baby and this is something I thoroughly believe.
I could not have believed how hard breastfeeding could be in so many ways, and now totally understand why people have support groups specially for breast feeding mums! Saying that it hasn't put me off and if I was to have more children in the future I would definitely try again and would be better prepared for the pros and cons that come with it.
So there you have it, that was my experience with breastfeeding.
If anyone has any questions or concerns or just wants to chat about breastfeeding or their experiences. Please feel free to contact me on twitter or via email. :) xx