When I was pregnant with Jack I worried I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. Unfortunately I haven’t been blessed with the biggest breasts and I also feared that Jack wouldn’t feel a connection with me and so maybe he wouldn’t want my milk.
During the birth the pain in my back became unbearable. My waters didn’t break until just before he was born and so the pressure was so intense. As a result I was given half a dose of pethadin, which certainly took the edge off!
After the birth I was lying there, staring at this beautiful baby boy and couldn’t actually believe he was mine. I was responsible for keeping my son alive and so my breastfeeding fears returned.
I tried and tried and Jack wouldn’t latch. Now I know that this was because of the pethidine but at the time I just thought I had failed in one of the only things I could offer my son. My breasts were failing him. Luckily I had a lot of colostrum and so I fed him via a syringe. The midwives kept telling me I was doing everything right and to just try again but still Jack wouldn’t latch. In the end, despite their wishes, I discharged myself from the hospital. I wanted to be at home, somewhere I knew and felt comfortable without the added pressure of being watched and judged.
The following day I was visited by the most incredible midwife who was very hands on and gave me a number of different positions to try. That night Jack latched and I cried. It was the most incredible feeling ever. It made me feel like I had done something right and that Jack had accepted me as his mother.
I do feel that antenatal classes put a lot of pressure on breastfeeding. Too much. Breastfeeding should be a choice and you shouldn’t be made to feel less of a mum should you decide it’s not for you. Regardless of whether you breastfeed or not you are still an amazing mother.
I wanted to breastfeed Jack and I continue to do so. Jack is now five months old. I love the feeling when he latches and I love the closeness it brings. I don’t like it so much when he seems to think my nipple is a strawberry lace or chewy sweet mind you! There have been times where I have been so tired and emotional and just want to sleep when Jack has woken for a feed, but when I feel him take his first sucks I forget the tiredness and feel nothing but love.
The thing I have found the hardest is breastfeeding in public. Even now I suffer from anxiety when I’m out and Jack gives me his hungry eyes. I start to sweat and I get the most intense stomach cramps.
In the comfort of my own home I use pillows when feeding Jack as it helps me find the right position and it works. Without them I feel awkward. So when I’m out I always try and think of somewhere I can go where there may be cushions at hand! It sounds ridiculous but it gives me comfort. There have been numerous times where I have abandoned a trip to the shops because the thought of breastfeeding in public has terrified me.
I met with friends one afternoon in a coffee shop and deliberately fed jack before I left thinking it would cover me for at least a few hours. I was mistaken. My little man was hungry and there was no where to run. There was also not a cushion in sight. I started sweating, my cramps started and I moved a stack of menus to cover me. Jack latched and I looked around and realised not one person was staring at me like I had feared. And since then I have felt so much more relaxed at the thought of getting my boobs out in public. I still get the cramps but I know I can do it.
Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things and shouldn’t be judged. Mother’s shouldn’t be made to feel self conscious for feeding their child.
I really want to continue my breastfeeding journey, but I don’t know how I’ll feel when Jack gets his first tooth! If then I decide to stop, it’s fine, it doesn’t mean I have failed and no mother should be made to think she has, should she wish to decide not to breastfeed.
The most important thing is that you’re doing your ‘breast’ or best and you rock mama!