Last week was World Breastfeeding Week (WBW)
WABA coordinates the global World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) campaign that aims to inform, anchor, engage and galvanise action on breastfeeding and related issues.
During early pregnancy I was very keen to breastfeed, and I had made my mind up about how I was going to feed my baby once she would arrive. We attended a face-to-face workshop on breastfeeding, which was delivered by Charnwood BRAS. They were fantastic, I would highly recommend this wonderful support network and I am sure there are many others around the country that do similar and equally an amazing job.
My birth was difficult, a little traumatic and I needed assistance, which resulted in forceps being used. I know many individuals have been through, it’s hard and it leaves a mark on your babies (it did to ours). My daughter screamed for days, with what I can only assume was a really bad headache. From this our breastfeeding journey started and due to this it was hard.
Every time I picked her up and moved her, she cried, she must have been in pain. This was so hard to listen to, your tiny brand-new baby screaming! Feeling like an absolute failure for struggling to understand her needs but reassured it was purely due to forceps and once she feels better, she would be great (no tears basically).
Initially the aim was to go to St Mary’s Birth centre in Melton Mowbray, but that needed to change as my waters broke so we ended up at the Leicester General Hospital and transferred to St Mary’s Birth Centre once baby had arrived. They were amazing! I honestly do not think I could have managed BF without their support. My daughter was in pain with her head and had tongue tie and it was frustrating, tiring and hard.
Having to have to massage my boobs to get my milk coming in was interesting. Sitting there looking at my baby, with a syringe and of course trying to gather my milk for my baby. Struggling to latch and struggling with the breastfeeding it was all getting a little hard and deflating. However, the staff at St’ Mary’s were just incredible! So supportive, there all the time day or night and I mean every hour throughout the night to help me feed my baby, wiping away the tears caused by the pain, the frustration and just the overwhelmed feeling of becoming a new mum. I honestly could not thank them enough.
I eventually went home 6 days after getting to St Mary’s. I know! That’s so long right…. But I didn’t want to go home. I was scared to go home with my baby and to breastfeed without the staff there for support, guidance and encouragement. I’m sure I couldn’t have been the only one feeling like this .
Going home was interesting and difficult. I could not get my daughter to feed off the left breast, we tried every trick in the book. Eventually after weeks/months of doing everything I could, it got easier. At the start when I went out, I fed of the right side, so it was less stressful, the more I relaxed the better it got.
I did find breastfeeding easier to be honest, however, the longer I breastfed the more I felt my mental health slip. I did notice really early on within the first 6 weeks that things were not right really. How I felt and my emotions in regards to me, my bonding with my daughter and everything in that respect.
My HV assured me it was normal, but I knew it wasn’t. So, this on top of the difficulties in breastfeeding, the lack of being able to leave my baby at all, putting her to bed all the time, not being able to put her down for a nap at all got too much. Long story cut short, I was diagnosed with PND 2 weeks before my daughter turned one.
From 8 months old, I had started to reduce certain feeds. The first one was the night time feeding and for the next 2.5 months we gradually reduced the feeds. My daughter never took to a bottle, so we kept trying but it didn’t work.
I was still incredibly pleased I had managed 10.5 months. Not going to lie I was desperate to get her onto a bottle, but it just never worked out.
Each person’s journey is different. I just wanted to share mine as I know others who have struggled, and it can happen but be proud of wherever you are at.
To be honest, I believe fed is best and I am currently expecting baby number 2. I can honestly say that I will be bottle feeding (for many, many reasons). I can honestly say that I am dreading the thought of being asked how I will feed my baby because breastfeeding takes me back to some difficult times mentally. It’s just the fear, so I’m avoiding it.
You are not alone if you are struggling. There are support groups and if you attend our sessions there is a huge directory sent to you on session 1 in regards to feeding – bottle & BF.
Feel free to share your up’s and down’s.
Love Sam x