Myself and Chloe have been on our breastfeeding journey for over 11 months now. I was so sure that by now it would have ended. When we started I set myself a target of 6 months but at times even that didn’t seem achievable. I had mastitis on numerous occasions, Chloe wanted to feed all night every night or so it seemed and I was drained. Add to this I was admitted to hospital for an emergency lumbar puncture and then suffered complications afterwards too. It’s amazing really to think we didn’t stop at that point. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t sit up at all but we managed and days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and here we are nearly 1 year later. Crazy.
I think part of why I have continued is because for Chloe at least it came so easily. She was born and within minutes she latched on..and never seemed to come off! It was natural, wonderful even to watch.
When we made it past 6 months of exclusively breastfeeding I thought ok well that’s all I set out to do so every week now is a bonus. I have almost stopped many times since then but for one reason or another we just carried on. Now looking back I can see that maybe for me it wasn’t the correct choice but I’m still glad we did it. For Chloe. For us.
You may think reading this that we have stopped but nope!
We have cut out all daytime breastfeeds and instead she has a bottle around midday which she seems to really enjoy. She still has a morning and an evening feed and sometimes 2-3 during the night but at least one nighttime feed has now been replaced with a bottle from Dad.
I have seen firsthand both the benefits and also the negative side to breastfeeding.
The bond with Chloe has been incredible and I will cherish those moments forever.
But the constant drained feeling?
The sore boobs? The regular bouts of mastitis? That I don’t think I’ll miss.
The fact that until a month or so back I didn’t feel comfortable about leaving her with anyone for more than a few hours because I worried she would need milk when really I needed a break a long time ago.
The way she was clingy with me in a way that Izzy never was.
The nightmare of trying to get her to take a bottle after 10 months of exclusive boob.
The harsh fact that not everybody loses all their baby weight when breastfeeding. In fact quite the opposite. I’m always hungry. It’s really and I mean really really hard to diet when you are always hungry and sometimes when you are very tired it’s so much easier to grab a slice of cake than make a healthy snack.
The lack of sleep. I definitely think breastfeeding can have an impact on a baby’s sleep. I’m still all for it and I don’t think that formula fills them any more but I think feeding from the breast is about being so close to the mother and the skin to skin contact and if your baby wakes in the night they are far more likely to cry for your breast than a bottle purely for the comfort aspect.
But there are the perks too. The way I could settle her with my boob when nothing else would. If she was unsettled I could just rest her on my chest and it was her happy place. If she was unwell and wouldn’t eat any solid food she would always still take milk as it was her comfort as well as her fuel. The fact that I didn’t need to sterilise bottles or buy formula or get up in the middle of the night to make up a feed.
The way I was confident that I was doing the very best for my child even if it perhaps wasn’t the best thing for me.
In 2 weeks we will have reached a year and who knows sometime soon after that maybe we will stop completely or maybe she will still be having her morning and night time feeds in a years time. I’m not sure but I am aware now that every feed could be one of the last ones. I think she knows it too. Every feed is longer than it used to be. Every feed she will occasionally stop and just stare up at me and enjoy just being close. In a way I can’t imagine not feeding her now.
Looking back at all the ups and downs I know that in a heartbeat I would still choose to breastfeed if I had another child ( which by the way is never going to happen).
Did you feed? How was your breastfeeding journey? Would you do it again?