‘Right’, I thought. ‘I’ve done this before, this will be a doddle.’ That was how I entered my breast feeding relationship with my second child, Princess.
I breast fed my son for six months. It came so naturally. There were no cracked nipples, no latching problems, nothing. Both myself and my new born baby boy fell straight into it.
Having my son at 22 was a grounding experience, bringing with it a sense of purpose and responsibility. He was an easy baby and nothing seemed to phase me, not the sleep deprivation, not the nappies. I had the energy for it all back then.
Fourteen years later, I thought, ‘Times cracking on. I’m not getting any younger. If I’m going to have more children I’d best do it now.’
Pregnancy was a lot harder than the first time round. Now, really that should have been my first clue that perhaps things weren’t going to go as smoothly this time.
Breast feeding took weeks to establish with Princess. We just couldn’t get the latch right. I had a fantastic maternity support worker. We tried every breast feeding position you could imagine. Cushions were arranged like Lego to try and make things easier.
Princess was latching on so fast that she wasn’t in the right position to feed. She had clearly missed her ‘nose to nipple’ classes. Every time I fed her my toes would curl in pain. I’d get anxious about feeding her because I knew it was going to hurt.
Princess would cry so much, it was heart breaking. My husband was worried about both of us. I was so tired, the bags under my eyes needed luggage trolleys. Princess wasn’t gaining weight, she didn’t poop for about a week. She just wasn’t getting enough milk.
It’s so emotive when breast feeding isn’t going well, whatever the reason. For some Mum’s it can be devastating. As well as the feeding, I was struggling with my own issues. Before Princess was born I was grounded, I had a sense of purpose and I had plenty of responsibilities. When Princess arrived we were all thrown into complete chaos. I was feeding and pumping, feeding and pumping desperately trying to get my supply to increase. I had turned into a milking machine, I was really starting to feel for those dairy cows!
If it hadn’t been for the experience I’d had with my son I most certainly would have given up. I knew if I could just turn that corner it would be best for everyone, not just Princess.
It took about 4 weeks to get breast feeding established, and at the time it seemed like the longest four weeks of my life. I found my Mummy Mojo and Princess learnt her part in the breast feeding relationship, but it definitely wasn’t easy.
Princess was breast fed exclusively for nearly six months. I stopped breast feeding her when she was fourteen months old. Those early weeks paled into insignificance compared to the the amazing experience we went on to have.
Our third child is due in May. She will be breast fed. I wonder how our relationship will work out. This time I’ll be prepared for anything.
Images courtesy of satit_srihin /razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net