My Breastfeeding Journey

World Breastfeeding week 2018 has just ended.

My breastfeeding journey has not been an easy one. We have had highs and lows. But it has been worthwhile.

My journey began a little over 7 years ago with the birth of my first daughter and it was hard. She wouldn’t latch, she wouldn’t feed, all she wanted to do was sleep. And the more she slept the less energy she had to latch. It was a vicious circle. We sat up all night long, attempting feeds on the hour, every hour. I expressed drops of milk that we tried to feed her from a finger and from a beak. Eventually after 3 days we were readmitted back to hospital as she had lost too much weight.

We spent 4 days on the SCBU. After an initial tube feed, with lots of support from the excellent staff there I managed to feed using shields. By the time we went home she was nursing happily every few hours, and after a couple of weeks I managed to get rid of the shields.

It was not an easy start, and things remained difficult. My daughter was a small baby and never got back up to her birth percentile. Although she was happy, healthy and nursed regularly I was told my milk wasn’t enough, wasn’t good enough, wasn’t giving her what she needed. (On one occasion I was told my milk couldn’t possibly be good enough as I didn’t drink cow’s milk!!!). I lost count of the number of times I was told we would need to supplement with formula.

I stuck my ground, refused to give formula and eventually got the confidence to trust my own mothering instincts. Things were never as difficult as they were in the beginning but we struggled through fussy feeding, nursing strikes, teething and an awful breastfeeding aversion when I was pregnant with my second daughter.

Daughter number 2 latched on within minutes of her birth, and nursed pretty much continuously for the first few weeks of her life. There were never any concerns over her weight, but that doesn’t mean our journey has been easy.

My second daughter fed every couple of hours through the night, all night, every night for about 4 years. It was exhausting. I made some half-hearted attempts to night wean, but mostly I was just too tired. So, we coslept and I fed her.

With daughter number 2 I have had different comments. She’s too old, she doesn’t need milk anymore, it’s not got any benefits beyond 12 months.

Last night she woke with a fever, didn’t want medicine, didn’t want anything, except her milk (her nummies). Within half an hour she was happily asleep again, next to me. Maybe nutritionally she doesn’t need the milk anymore. Some days she doesn’t nurse at all. We are finished with the days when I need to be around to feed on demand. But that doesn’t mean there is no need.

Nursing to her is more than milk, more than comfort, more than security. Nursing is mummy’s magic.

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