Thanks for hopping on over from Baby Foote, here is my contribution for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 1, ‘The Start of My Journey’. Sponsors today include Boobie Milk with a £50 voucher, Cherub Chews who are offering a breastfeeding necklace and Loveyush who are offering a breastfeeding scarf for our Grand Prize winner. Over £700 worth of goodies are up for grabs entries via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
Breastfeeding Just Gets Better
Before I had my Baby last October I knew I was going to breastfeed. My Mum had done it, my sisters all breastfed, I just knew it was how I was going to feed my baby. I took heed of advice given “get lots of box-sets in, you’ll be stuck feeding for hours on end”. I had my nipple cream ready to go and had attended a local breastfeeding group so I knew where to go and who to speak to if I was struggling. I felt fully prepared for what was to come.
Fortunately for me when my baby arrived she was also happy to breastfeed without much issue. Her latch was good, she knew what she was doing, I was lubing the nips frequently, husband had mastered cutting up my meals and feeding them to me, so it all seemed relatively easy. That was until she got colic.
At just over two weeks old something changed in my baby. At almost every feed, after about 10 minutes she would start to crease up and windmill her little arms and legs as if in pain. She would then scream and scream sometimes for hours at a time. It was heartbreaking, distressing and wearing, for both of us. At six weeks old she got her first cold and with that came her first nursing strike. Around this time (I think linked to her cold) she would only feed while lying on her left side, so I had to learn the rugby hold, I don’t think I ever really mastered that one though! After a couple of days she returned to breastfeeding but now, to make matters worse, she became almost angry and highly distressed (expressed by yet more intense screaming) if I ever offered her a feed and she didn’t want it, which was a lot! I became anxious and temporarily obsessed about encouraging her to feed. Techniques trialled to get her to feed included lying down, standing up, feeding while walking, feeding while she slept, bottles, husband giving bottles, at that point I would have fed her upside down on a trapeze if she would take my milk! I felt completely and utterly rejected by my own baby, that paired with the constant screaming meant that I just hated breastfeeding, and at times my baby too.
I continued to breastfeed, in part because my baby refused the bottle, but I also couldn’t handle the fuss of sterilising bottles and offering milk that seemed to go to waste. I found the support of my own Mum crucial for surviving the difficult times, her experience meant that she was able to offer me the best advice I was ever given which was simply, “have faith in the Baby”. She encouraged me to trust that my Baby would feed when she was hungry and to relax more when she declined feeds. Teaching myself to relax and have faith in my baby’s ability to monitor her own intake of food has been one of the most beneficial changes I have made as a parent.
I first noticed a change in our relationship to breastfeeding when my baby was about 10 weeks, she paused one day in the middle of the feed and looked at my face in such a way it suggested she was thinking “wow, have you been attached to this boob the whole time?!”, then she gave me the biggest grin, it was a beautiful moment. The 10 minute feeds reduced to 7 minutes (I never did get to put my feet up and enjoy box sets) and with a little more time the colic went away. My baby continued to berate me for daring to offer feeds when she wasn’t hungry until she was about 5 months old.
I have found that as the months have passed the experience of breastfeeding has become increasingly enjoyable for us both. When Baby learned to sit up independantly she could sit upright in my lap to feed which she much preferred. As she has come to understand language I can ask her if she wants milk and she can let me know if she does or not before I shove my gargantuan boob in her face. When she comes off from a feed I ask “have you finished?” and she has the ability to decide herself if she wants to latch back on or not. I no longer feel anxious that she will have a melt down in public if I offer her a feed. We have so many more tender moments when we breastfeed now, as she runs her fingers through my hair and touches my nose. I think we both just generally feel more relaxed, and feeding IS easy now, so convenient and enjoyable.
At almost 10 months, I am so glad that I continued to breastfeed, through the colic, the screaming and the three nursing strikes. It’s not always perfect, I’d prefer not to have to get up to feed twice a night and I must have exposed my nipples to hundreds of people by now as she pops on and off for feeds in the day. But you know what, I really don’t mind, it won’t last forever but my memories of this journey will.
Following on from my journey, please do hop over to #PositiveAboutBF to see how her journey began and be in with more chances to enter the grand prize draw. Remember you need to earn 50 points to be eligible, full details can be found on the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Site.