This week is National Breastfeeding Awareness Week
So I thought I would share my experiences!
I have breastfed both my Children from the beginning of their little lives, but I would be lying if I said it has always come naturally, or has been easy!
When pregnant with Gabriel I will be honest, the thought of breastfeeding seemed so odd to me but I did plan to give it a go. I wasn’t entirely sure if I would carry on after the first few precious weeks, and went into it quite open-minded. Once he was born however things changed! I just had not realised how hard, how physically tiring, how demanding and how painful it would be! I carried on breastfeeding and for the first three months I enjoyed it.
Once Gabriel hit three months I began to feel frustrated. I (rather stupidly) felt uncomfortable feeding in public and as he grew he became more and more fussy. He would thrash about and try to nosey around so that meant hiding in a corner to nurse was just impossible.
So I started planning how long I could be out of the house for without having to nurse in public. I fed him in the car or in toilets and changing areas (locked away of course).
I began to resent feeling so tied to planning where I was going all the time. I felt guilty for feeling like that, for not wanting to have to breastfeed; something that I was so surprised myself to feel, because I had gone into the whole thing so open-minded!
I talked to other Mums, they said to me, ‘You’ve done three months! You should be proud, if it isn’t working stop, and bottle feed him’ I knew they were right, but I carried on for another month anyway. I weaned Gabriel gradually onto formula at seventeen weeks. The guilt I felt was enormous, I felt like everyone was judging me when they saw me bottle feeding and I wanted to scream, ‘I did breastfeed for four months!’ at them. Of course people probably weren’t judging, it just felt like it. My health visitor and my Dave were very supportive and eventually I relaxed!
When I became pregnant with Willow I planned to breastfeed again. This time I thought, I will get to six months. Even before she was born I was placing enormous pressure on myself! But I did not need to worry, when Willow was born, she took to feeding well. She had, as one of the Midwives said to me, ‘Read the manual’
I still felt uncomfortable feeding in public, so I bit the bullet and bought a nursing cover.
I chose the Bebe au Lait once, because it looks a good size and had a handy peering gap at the top so you can see your baby when feeding. It cost me £28 but I thought it would be worth it.
IT WAS WORTH IT! The cover has changed my life
I simply cannot tell you how much I love it. I have breastfed everywhere with it, and I mean everywhere. So many Women have asked me where it was from, and told me ‘Oh that’s wonderful, wish they had them in my day’ etc Another Lady said to me that I looked ‘dignified’ using it, but I am unsure how I feel about that to be honest!
I don’t think that nursing Mothers should cover up, I am not offended by Women who don’t. In fact, I am rather envious of them! But for me, it was what I needed to be able to get to my six month breastfeeding goal. I felt much more confident and relaxed using it.
I got there! Willow is now six and a half months and we are still going strong. All thanks to the nursing cover, and
some a lot of determination! It hasn’t been easy, and at times I’ve resented it. I’ve fed through stomach bugs, hallucinations from pain killers and mastitis but I am personally very proud of myself. Having a toddler as well as a baby feeding on demand is hard work! It’s a good job they are cute…