I wrote mine and Ailsa’s breastfeeding story for a post on My Petit Canard’s #BreastfeedingStories series and I thought I would share on Being Mrs Lynch if you haven’t read it. I have a couple of posts coming up about being a Breastfeeding Peer Supporter and also on why we chose to feed past a year and I am looking forward to sharing those with you.
I always knew I wanted to breastfeed, although I hadn’t been around it much it just seemed like the thing to do, to give it a go and see what happens. Having a biology degree also made the choice easier for me, it’s the most natural way to feed our babies- we are mammals after all and I am so glad I made the decision to breastfeed. I originally planned to feed for 9 months but Ailsa has just turned one and we are still going strong after a rocky start and some biting issues recently and I plan on feeding until she self-weans.
When Ailsa was first born we struggled to get her to latch, we had a ventouse birth which I can only imagine would have been quite traumatic for her and left her with quite a sore head. That night the midwife helped me to hand express some colostrum into her mouth and left us to get some sleep. The next morning (well it was really only a few hours later) I finally managed to get Ailsa to latch on and she had her first proper feed at about 10 hours old and for the next several days everything was plain sailing. Ailsa only lost around 3oz of her birth weight by day 3 which the midwife was quite happy with but when my milk came in around day 4/5 we really started to struggle. I was so full and engorged that Ailsa couldn’t latch on. It was the middle of the night, She was crying with hunger, I was crying with frustration and I almost sent hubby out to buy some formula and was ready to give up. James however said no, he took Ailsa for a cuddle and let me compose myself. He told me to relax, get a quick drink, get comfy and we would try again. Well I finally managed to get Ailsa latched on and she had a good feed. The next day we had our 5 day appointment and I got the midwife to help with our latching technique. Sometimes you just need someone to show you how to get baby on. I had been holding Ailsa too high on her head so she wasn’t able to tip her head back to get a wide latch, just a small adjustment can make all the difference.
Since that first week we have had a mostly positive journey and although we have had a couple of issues. I suffered with a bit of nursing aversion when Ailsa was around 6/7 months. She had been ill with a cold and a virus and just fed non-stop and all I wanted was to get her off me but I gritted my teeth and we got on with it. Luckily it passed as quickly as it started. Although I found it quite worrying that I didn’t want my child to touch me in any way and I felt like the worst mother ever, a quick internet search let me know that it was normal and that I wasn’t alone in feeling that way. Recently we have had some issues with biting because of Ailsa’s top front teeth coming through. I seriously considered weaning Ailsa off the breast much earlier than I wanted to. She was 10 months and when I thought about it properly it didn’t make sense for me to try and force her to take a bottle of formula when it would only be a couple of months till I could start giving her Cow’s milk so I decided to try and persevere. Every time Ailsa would bite I would take the breast away with a firm no and then let her feed again if she bit me again I would do the same but then I would pop her in her cot and leave the room for a minute or so. I think it got the message across as she soon stopped biting and I am so glad that I persevered.
In my year of breastfeeding I have found having support to be invaluable. I have a wonderful husband who has been such a fantastic supporter of our breastfeeding journey and supports me feeding Ailsa for as long as we like. I have also regularly attended our local breastfeeding peer support group since Ailsa was around 4 weeks. Held at our local children’s centre the group meets once a week and there are peer supporters to help with any problems that the mums may have. Attending the group has allowed me to make some lovely mummy friends and I have learned so much about breastfeeding and it has also opened my eyes to extended breastfeeding. I didn’t think before attending that anyone fed past a year or so and meeting these women has certainly given me the confidence to feed Ailsa for as long as we like. I have also myself trained to be a breastfeeding peer supporter and can now help other mums and babies that come along to the group. I have also had messages from ladies I went to school with asking for advice which I have been more than happy to advise on my experiences and use my peer support training to help them. Before having Ailsa I never thought I would breastfeed for as long as I have or just how much I would enjoy it on a whole. It has been a crazy journey and even though it hasn’t all been a bed of roses I will be sad to see the end of it someday. I just hope that I have just as positive an experience with any future children I have.