The struggle is real
I know you’ve probably read a tonne of blogs about people’s breastfeeding journeys, but I think there’s a reason why so many Mum’s write about it; I think it’s because it’s one of the hardest most rewarding jobs for us to experience as a Mum. It’s also something that we are all super proud of succeeding in even if it is a week, two weeks, a month or a year! (Well done mamas).
I did write a bit about breastfeeding in the ‘first few weeks’ blog but I’m now 15 weeks into exclusively breastfeeding. So I feel it will be a bit of therapy for myself to really truly and honestly express how it’s going and what it’s like being a breastfeeding mum (the ups and downs).
The first latch was amazing, honestly I’d read so much about breastfeeding, watched YouTube videos and attended a course. So that moment when the midwife helped me latch my minutes old baby was a moment I’ll never forget and will treasure forever. For the next two weeks I was a feeding machine! But I loved it, it was the best feeling knowing I was feeding my little angel and feeding her well! I mean it’s hard.. everyone knows that.
I feel like I breezed through the first 5 weeks of breastfeeding, I was like who am I? How have I mastered this? People told me it was hard.. look at us go woo hoo! Myself and Adeline absolutely smashing those first few weeks and it made our bond so incredibly strong.
I still have no idea where it started going wrong or why for that matter. But I find myself in tears about it all the time. Why won’t my baby feed? Why does she scream? Is she unwell? Oh so many questions go through your head and no one can really tell you why either.
It started at her 6 week growth spurt (that’s what myself and the health visitors put it down to).Adeline started fussing during feeds. Apparently it’s something they do during 6-8 weeks. It would go something like this; latch on, feed well for 2min, scream, arch back, cry and thump my chest.
If she could speak I believe she would of been saying ‘Mum stop it!!!’
I found myself trying everything to try and solve this outburst from different positions, massaging my breast, burping her, going somewhere quiet and attempting the bottle. None of it made a difference.
I could just about deal with these outbursts at home but in public I felt exposed. I would feel like everyone was looking over at a mother (me) failing to feed her baby. It was all too much. I found myself after that time , going into a public toilet to try and feed- I honestly felt so utterly helpless, I didn’t see any other way. I sat there and thought; where did it all go so wrong? How am I going to carry this on?
So I did what any other Mum would do, i Googled it , I spoke to other mums, breastfeeding cafes, support groups and phoned the NCT helpline. It was so frustrating because everyone I spoke to just said the same thing and gave me the same advice (you’re doing so well, keep going, it’s just a phase). I just wanted someone to turn around and say “This is what you’re doing wrong” because then at least I could solve it, it almost made it worse because I wasn’t doing anything wrong..so why was she doing it? I still don’t know! I kept reminding myself that she’s gaining weight and happy so keep going. Keep trying.
So it isn’t so much of an outburst anymore but she still doesn’t feed as long as she used to , it’s hit and miss, in fact she’s a super speedy feeder, she literally slurps 4 minutes each side and she’s done. During this 4 minutes she can be on and off and can sometimes seem frustrated. I still wonder why? Am I the only one? I’m learning to understand her needs more though and maybe that is enough, she still feeds every two hours so maybe she just likes little and often. I still don’t have an answer- crazy right?
What I’ve learnt
Adeline prefers to be fed in a quiet environment which is why feeding in public is always a challenge. She also prefers to be fed laid down- but I can’t exactly lay down when I’m out and about. I always promised myself I wouldn’t compare my baby to anyone else’s and I still stand by that (no two babies are the same) but I often find myself seeing other mums breastfeeding in public and I’m envious at how easy it looks for them; but everyone has their own story and I’m only human.
So what have I learnt? I’ve learnt that it’s all worth it, for those moments when we are together (successfully feeding), quietly calmly, just the two of us, my heart literally bursts with love.
Overcoming those obstacles again..
I find myself back at the beginning, when Adeline was first born and It was the first time breastfeeding in public (it’s scary the first time.) Then it became the norm, I didn’t care where I did it! Now I’m back to being scared and anxious. I hate that I feel like this and I even when I’m out I’m filled with dread.
When she’s suckling it’s such a wonderful connection that i can’t put into words but when she fusses I feel rejected and upset. I find myself not wanting to leave the house for longer than 3 hours because I know I’ll have to feed Adeline in public. Sad right?
So far the journey of breastfeeding has been a roller coaster. As I write this I realise how proud of myself I should be, for not throwing in the towel as soon as it got rough. It was never going to be easy. I knew that. I am still now taking each day as it comes and riding with it.
So if you ever see a woman breastfeeding in public, smile at them. It will make their day! Or it would make mine.
#breastfeeding #baby #babygirl #motherhood #mumblogger #mumblog #honestmum