Baby: My breastfeeding story


When I was pregnant I was often asked if I was going to breastfeed and my response was always - if I can. It was the part of having a baby that I felt most unprepared for and something I don't think you can read too much about as every experience (and body) is so different. I exclusively breastfed Florence until she was 15 months so thought I would share our story. Sorry it's so long - there's a lot more to breastfeeding than you could imagine! 

When Florence was born we put her on to my left boob straight away and you could see her trying to latch but she couldn't do it. We had a little break and then tried her on my right side and with that boob she latched straight away - good old right boob. The feeling when she started feeding was just amazing, I felt so relieved and hopeful that I would be able to do it. We spent the next two days in hospital for a couple of reasons - one being that the midwives were keen for me to be confident in feeding from both sides. There was no pressure for me to go home and although I wanted to get back to my home comforts, I am so glad I stayed and had that initial support.

Feeding from my right side seemed to be OK once I'd got her in the correct position etc, but we did struggle with the left side! The midwives helped me try different positions but I definitely found the standard cradle hold the most comfortable. I was desperate for her to feed from the left hand side as had visions of me forever feeding from one side and having lopsided boobs! We had a comedy moment when Chris and my Mum were both trying to help her to latch on - a situation I never thought I would be in, but it worked and we all cheered as she fed from my left boob and we rushed to get a midwife to see.

Breastfeeding in the early days is intense. Each feed (of which there were many...so many!) I would have to get set up with a cushion behind my back, have a big bottle of water to hand, my phone and Chris would have to pass her to me in the right position to help her latch. Sometimes it would take a few tries and it was the real learning of a skill for all of us. It's amazing how different it is once they get bigger and it becomes more established, as they obviously become bigger, stronger and know exactly what they're doing - she would latch herself on in seconds. Chris was basically my waiter in those early days and was amazing - he took care of everything so I could focus on feeding and even though the feeds were long (some were an hour) it was nice to just sit on the sofa watching TV or messaging friends on my phone. Can't say the same for the night feeds when you're exhausted and have to try to stay awake whilst they cluster feed.

The worst part for me by far was the sore nipples. I used to hear that if they were sore there was something wrong with the latch but surely your nipples need to toughen up a bit first! The initial soreness as she latched on was not pleasant - I would grit my teeth and fists to get through the first few moments. My left nipple became cracked and bled too. Luckily I have lots of friends who have babies and they reassured me that it would stop being painful and if I could persevere through the first few weeks it would become so much easier. And they were totally right! I found piling on the lansinoh and using the Multi-Mam compresses and the Medela hydrogel pads a godsend (wish I'd discovered these earlier) and really helped to heal them. 

Once we'd got through the initial soreness, I found myself loving breastfeeding - more than I thought I would. It was so easy and convenient, especially as my confidence at feeding in public increased. It was pretty smooth sailing although I did have quite a few blocked milk ducts which are really not fun - I found lots of massage, feeding and expressing, and an electric toothbrush on the lump always helped to dislodge it. 

Another thing I wanted to mention was getting Florence to take a bottle of expressed milk as this only happened when she was around 5 months. We tried her with the Medela Calma bottles, and Tommy Tippee in the early weeks and she would initially take it and then refuse -it was pretty heartbreaking seeing Chris trying to feed her and her screaming. The turning point for us was trying the amazing Mam bottles and making sure the milk was really warm. It gave me a new found freedom.

As we started weaning, her feeds naturally dropped down and by a year we were only on two a day in the morning and night. I always thought I'd stop at a year but I felt so emotional about stopping and I also liked how her morning feed gave me more time to snooze in bed! She was still really enjoying her feeds and it didn't feel quite right to stop. By 15 months she was down to just the morning feed and was hardly taking anything so when we stopped it felt completely right and I didn't feel emotional at all, which was a nice surprise! I loved our breastfeeding journey and feel very lucky that we were able to do it for so long.

Daisy x



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