Boobs, breast pumps and biscuits: My breastfeeding experience
Hi, my names Alesha, I have a one month old son, Loki; he is a very happy, healthy breastfed baby. I want to tell you about my experiences with feeding my son to give you an insight into what is like to be a young breastfeeding mummy.
From the start
When I found out I was pregnant I decided I was going to try to breastfeed, with all the information I had heard about its benefits it just made sense to me to give it a go. I had friends who had tried to breastfeed but given up because they didn't realise what it was going to be like, determined not to do the same I read books and online information about breastfeeding so I could be prepared. I have to admit I thought myself a bit of an expert before I had even started with all the information I had read, but little did I realise that although my preparation helped you really can't learn to breastfeed by reading a book.
Birth and onward
My little man arrived a week early, I had planned to have a natural water birth but it seemed he had different plans. After 28 hours of labour Loki was born by emergency C section and, although it was the complete opposite to what I had planned, seeing him for the first time was amazing.
Soon after I was recovering on the ward and I was asking to try and feed my son, with some help from a midwife after a few minutes of fumbling he successfully latched on and was feeding. I was absolutely exhausted from labour but for the next couple of days I was feeding Loki every 3 hours and starting to recover slowly.
Everything seemed great and, despite my nipples being a bit sore, breastfeeding seemed to be going really well. It wasn't until he was weighed for the first time since his birth that we realised things may not be going as well as I thought, Loki had lost a bit too much weight, midwives told me it was probably because he wasn't latching properly. The midwife told us we would need to stay in hospital until his weight was back up and that I would have to express breast milk and breastfeed to make sure he was getting enough.
The first time I expressed I couldn’t express enough milk for his top up, this meant we had to add some formula milk. To say I was upset was an understatement, after the birth had gone completely the opposite to how I had wanted it I was so determined to breastfeed and hadn’t wanted to give him formula. So after about 20 minutes of crying and throwing a bit of a strop I calmed down and realised that this was what was best for my son and that the formula was only temporary. Over the next couple of days I continued to breastfeed, with midwives checking he was latching properly, as well as topping up with expressed breast milk and formula.
A couple of days later Loki had gained enough weight and we were allowed to go home. It was hard being home at first, just the worry of not having a midwife just a buzz away, but we soon got used to it. I was still expressing breast milk at home to add to his breastfeed, not that he needed any more top ups but because my boyfriend really enjoyed being able to feed him as well.
At 10 days we had a visit from the midwife who weighed Loki again; he had already passed his birth weight, which showed he was feeding really well. The next week or so was spent settling in and getting used to being a mummy, then at 3 weeks... Growth spurt! One day my little boy was suddenly hungry all the time and it seemed like he was constantly feeding! This continued into the night, I gave into the fact I wasn't going to get any sleep so decided just to sit up all night feeding my baby and munching on biscuits, luckily this only lasted for one night!
Despite how difficult it was for me to get breastfeeding started and despite all the little problems we have had along the way, I’ve got to say that I love breastfeeding and can’t imagine not doing it. The bond and closeness I feel with my son when I feed him is indescribable and I feel happy that I’m giving him the best start I can give him.