Whether you decided to breastfeed or bottle feed you should be proud of your decision because feeding a newborn every 3-4 hours whilst being sleep deprived is one helluva task. It is a personal choice on how you feed your own baby that everyone should respect other peoples decisions. The Honest Company want to end the stigmas surrounding this choice and enable us women to talk openly and positively about our experiences. Head on over to The Honest Feeding Page to learn more about their approach and to check out their premium line of feeding solutions whether you breastfeed or bottle feed. But here is our story.
Even before I was pregnant with my little girl I knew that when the time came for me to have kids that I would definitely want to go down the breastfeeding route. A big part of this was seeing my best friend give birth to her beautiful little girl and watching her create this beautiful bond whilst breastfeeding. So when I found out I was pregnant I knew instantly how I wanted to feed my baby. I had a basic knowledge of breastfeeding but I began to read up on everything to do with it. But deep down I knew that in order to let breastfeeding work for me then I couldn’t put too much pressure on myself. I knew from watching my friend go through it that the first week of breastfeeding can be extremely tough. So I was prepared. Or so I thought.
Our little girl was brought into the world via c-section at 37+1 weeks. Once I was all sewn back up, we were all wheeled into a recovery room where Ivy was finally put on my chest. She was no more than 40 minutes old when she moved herself down to my breast and latched on for a good 20 minutes. I found this incredible. After being in a nice cushy womb for 37 weeks being fed by a tube my baby knew how to latch onto my boob for a feed! I knew instantly that this was exactly what I needed to push me into being even more determined that breastfeeding was the right choice for us. But it did turn out that that was the one time Ivy would feed so easily for days!
I spent the next two days in hospital recovering and looking after my brand new baby all by myself. Ivy worked herself up so much each time she was hungry. So much in fact that she would have to be taken off of me, so she couldn’t smell my milk, in order for her to calm down. Eventually she would latch on to my boob and 2-3 hours later would repeat this process. Still I was so bloody determined to carry on that once we were settled at home we had our routine going. Apart from the sore nipples that appeared a few days after coming home and I’m talking, red raw, bleeding, the pain piercing through your body as your baby tries to feed. But I had been so prepared for breastfeeding before Ivy was born that I had read up on Lanolin Nipple Cream as being the best because you don’t have to wipe it off with each feed. This was my life saver. It cleared up within a few days and I never had sore nipples again.
I was lucky that not once did I get Mastitis, which is a condition where the breast(s) become inflamed and sore and you can have flu like symptoms. But there was one time when I woke up in the middle of the night to my left breast being so sore and hard and I did start to feel like I was getting flu like symptoms. I ran to the bathroom and hand expressed (such a lovely experience) until the pain went away. So I think I’d managed to catch it in time!
A big thing that helped our breastfeeding to be so successful is that I talked to my partner Stuart about it all, everything I was feeling whether it was positive or negative I told him. I knew I needed to be open with him about exactly how I was feeling in order for him to be able to give me the support that I needed. To have his support meant the pressures were shared. He was also on hand to help me if I found myself stranded to a chair for such a long time!
I wanted to breastfeed Ivy until she was one years old which is when it is recommended to move them onto cows milk. But unfortunately at seven months my milk supply began to dwindle and Ivy started to work herself up again. I began to feel like I was a failure and I realised I was upsetting myself because I was putting the pressure of reaching one year on top of myself, which is something I always said I wouldn’t do. And I just asked myself why am I carrying on when both of us are not enjoying this experience anymore. I realised that I was so proud of myself for reaching seven months, especially as Ivy had suffered quite badly with reflux for the first few months of her life. I know that if I was to go back and tell that brand new mummy in the hospital that we had made it to seven months that she would be super proud too.
We moved on to bottles for the next few months until Ivy reached one and it was like a whole new feeding world to us. I found that harder than breastfeeding! I would love to hear your stories too, whether you breastfed or bottle fed. And what tips would you give to other mothers to help relieve the pressures of feeding choices? Let me know in the comments down below!
If you are interested in how we introduced Ivy to food next then please check out my Baby Led Weaning post.
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