When I fell pregnant first time round I knew I wanted to breastfeed, I knew the benefits and I just knew that’s the path I was going to take. What I didn’t know was how it would make me feel and the journey and bond that would be created. Powerful would be an understatement.
My first was a natural feeder, took to the boob like a duck to water. But my milk decided to take 6 agonising days to come in which resulted in my baby being very hungry. Hungry baby equals screaming baby. But I knew the issue was my milk not coming in so I persisted and it finally came in making baby and mum happy. She was a long feeder, sometimes up to 45 mins each side. As a first time mum I listened to all the advice that was “kindly” given to me. Some of this advice was make sure you feed baby on schedule, 3-4 hours between feeds, don’t let them fall asleep and never feed in bed as baby will get used to being in your bed.
By the time my little girl was 4 months I had had it, not with her, not with motherhood and not with breast feeding, but with the advice. I had this little girl really not happy and mummy not happy as I had my heart telling me to do it all differently yet my head saying ‘you should listen to the advice’.
My heart won. That day I realised I knew my baby, I knew what she needed and when. I started demand feeding- sometimes she would go 4 hours others she would go 30 mins before next feed. I let her peacefully drift off on my boob looking quite relaxed rather than prying her off in fear of her falling asleep on the boob only to have her wake screaming. I also started feeding her lying down on my bed where she could also peacefully fall asleep, in my bed. The change in my baby was amazing. She was so happy and content. I was so relieved and glad I listened to my heart. Our breast feeding journey began the minute she was born but it was enhanced the minute I let my heart and baby take control. Our breast feeding journey took us to 18 months, she loved it and so did I. The only reason we stopped was we wanted a sibling for her and I cannot fall pregnant whilst feeding, yes I am that 1% where breast feeding really is a contraceptive.
My breast feeding journey with my son was just as powerful but it started in a much stronger way thanks to lessons learned first time round. My milk came in the next morning after giving birth at 11pm the night before, which made things a lot easier. He fed a lot more quickly, he was done and full in 10 mins. He fell asleep on the boob every time and I let him, he co slept with me so we often fed lying down and he had boob on tap at night (and day). I had not a care in the world what others thought of the way I breastfed or where I breastfed. He cried and I fed him (of course I checked nappy, if he was tired, etc also). He was still feeding through the night past 12 months and I began getting the ‘he doesn’t need it’ or ‘ he’s too old for breast feeding,’ advice but ignored it all. He was comforted by it so he did need it. At 16 months we were wanting to try for #3 so I knew I would have to stop feeding to do so, but he wasn’t ready so we waited. I tried weaning (gently) again at 19 months and he was ready, he didn’t ask for feeds or need them.
So now we expect #3 in 11 weeks and I cannot wait to form another bond with this baby through breast feeding. It’s magical, powerful, uplifting and natural. I’m not sure if I was just lucky or I was made to breastfeed but either way I am so thankful for the opportunity. Watching your tiny newborn suckle away is so heart-warming, then watching them attack your boob when hungry is so funny and as they get older and smile while feeding is beyond beautiful. I never felt breast feeding took up any of my time, I feel it creates time with my babies.
Kate Day is a freelance writer , social media manager and blogger. Visit her blog at Tutus and Trikes