I decided to breastfeed when I was still pregnant. I figured that there were just so many reasons why breastfeeding is best for babies – from all the vital nutrients for the baby to helping get back in shape quicker (once baby has been born). So needless to day, for me, there was absolutely no reason why I wouldn’t want to breastfeed.
On October 2014, I gave birth to my first baby – Ethan.
Strengthens the Bond Between Mother and Baby
As soon as Ethan was born we had skin to skin contact. It was something that my midwife recommended. Shortly after he was born, we already tried putting him on the breast. Was it easy? No, not at first. But I have fantastic midwives to thank! They never got tired of showing me how to latch on baby correctly. Unfortunately, I think a lot of women give up on breastfeeding so quickly. Or unfortunately, some don’t even try.
Most of it is because they are not able to latch their baby on to the breast correctly. I would urge people to never get tired of asking for help. It is important to have a strong support system especially if you are a first-time mom.
With breastfeeding comes a lot of endless hours sitting with a baby attached to your breast. I guess with bottle feeding you can share the responsibility. But what you don’t get and what still fills my heart with complete joy, is the amazing bond between you and your baby. It is something which words can not describe, and no one else can take that away from you as a mother.
This is how much I enjoyed breastfeeding and thankfully, found it an easy and natural thing to do after I learned how to do it right.
Drains the Breasts and Helps Treat Mastitis
I was terrified that I was getting ill and that I wouldn’t be able to cope on my own. I remember calling my midwife late that night with my concerns, and she advised me that it seemed like I had mastitis. Mastitis is caused by blocked milk ducts that may lead to inflammation or infection.
I was told to continue to feed off and drain the blocked breast often and gently to clear it off and make me feel better. I went to the doctor the next day, and he prescribed some antibiotics that are safe to use while breastfeeding. Luckily, with the combination of medication and continuous feeding, it resolved the problem.
However, I know someone who was hospitalised from mastitis as the blocked duct did not clear and became infected. The good thing is, she continued to breastfeed after this. Frequent drainage of the breast through breastfeeding and expressing is very important.
I decided that I’d start to express milk when Ethan was around 6 weeks. This was mainly to keep a supply of milk in the freezer so occasionally, I could have a night out! I used a manual pump and while it did the job, I had to say some days I could be sitting for over an hour trying to express a decent amount.
If I could do it again, I think I would opt for an electric pump as I did find expressing to be stressful at times. And since it can be stressful, I didn’t express regularly.
I decided to start weaning when Ethan was around 6 months old. It was a slow process mainly because I wanted to hold on to breastfeeding for as long as I could. At around 7 months, we had dropped one of the milk feeds and replaced this with food.
By 9 months, we had dropped the day time feeds and I was just feeding morning and night. For a while, I continued to pump in between these times to keep my supply up. However, I was due to return to work when Ethan was 10 months and there really wasn’t a convenient place for me to continue to pump. So gradually, I stopped and just continued with the morning and night feeds.
I always knew that I would breastfeed Ethan until he was 12 months, and that is exactly what I did. I carried on until he was 13 months. Why? Because I couldn’t let go of my baby and when I looked at him, I felt so proud that I had given him the best I could. So why didn’t I continue for longer? Well, this does come down to supply… Since I did not continue to pump, I’m afraid that slowly I had nothing left to give. I fellt like Ethan needed something other than breast milk.
If you are reading this and you haven’t decided whether to breastfeed your baby, I absolutely urge you to try as it truly is one of the most beautiful things in life.
If you are struggling, please do not hesitate to ask for help as that is what your midwife and doctors are there for.
About the Author
Dawn lives in England with her husband and son.
Her passion is planning and organising trips with family and friends. She enjoys searching for the next adventure, as well as spending hours looking at cars.
She is also a blogger and the founder of Perfect Hen Party.
As breastfeeding is a choice, even breastfeeding goals will vary. It is important to learn the correct latch right away as this will help you in the long run. The first few days will be challenging, but when your milk starts to flow, it will start getting better. Pumping milk will also be a wonderful supplement to your routine to increase breast milk supply.
Thank you Dawn for sharing your experience with us! For sure, there are mothers who can definitely relate to your story. Wishing you all the best! – RT