I have two children and I have had completely different breastfeeding experiences, so I wanted to get it out there that there isn’t really a truth’ or a one-size fits all, when it comes to breastfeeding.
With my first child, I had always presumed I’d breastfeed because I just thought that ‘it’s what you do’ and hadn’t put that much thought into it. Older women would tell me how much they missed breastfeeding so I presumed it was such a lovely thing and it would be easy, right? Wrong. I really found it hard with Max, at least to start with. I was so sore it would really hurt so would dread each feeding time and with a newborn, that’s pretty often. This may be TMI, but I would be expressing milk and it would be pink because there was so much blood in it as I was so sore. Things eased and it got better but he would just have the longest feeds, I’d be almost dreading the feed, but in a different way, as it would often take around an hour each time. A lot of not being impressed by breastfeeding to start with was down to not being prepared. No one really showed me properly, or even said ‘it’s going to be awful to start with’ – I just presumed it was this simple and easy thing. I just wasn’t expecting it, like a lot of new mums.
Once Max was weaning and could have things like baby rice and fruit and veg puree, it really helped as it would fill him up a lot more. After about 6 months I started to give him formula occasionally but still breastfed the majority. I fed him until he was 9 months old and he just wouldn’t focus anymore but I was happy with that.
With Chloe it has been very different. Things have been a lot smoother, a lot less painful and she seems a lot more ‘efficient’ at feeding. Feeds are around 20 minutes which is a lot better for me, especially with her older brother around. Perhaps some of this is down to my being more prepared this time and having a better idea of what I’m doing. I’m a lot more confident with it this time, particularly in public. I’d get so nervous about being out and the thought of having to feed Max in public. I’m really not bothered now (I do use a cover of course, I’m still shy about getting my boob out for the world to see)!
So ‘the truth’ is, there is no right or wrong. In my experience, it is all down to the baby. Some just really can’t get on board with breastfeeding but others (like my daughter), just won’t take a bottle – she still doesn’t!