– Our Breastfeeding Stories –
Similar to our birth stories we both had completely different experiences when it came to Breastfeeding.
We were both keen to give breastfeeding a go from the outset, we were aware of the benefits to both mother and baby and it seemed like the most natural thing to do.
Kerry Breastfed Zac for 6 months:
My breastfeeding journey began in the recovery ward after my c-section. Zac was placed skin to skin and curled up on my chest, it all came very naturally and he made his way to the boob himself (it still amazes me how strong their natural instinct is!) I was still in shock that he was actually there in my arms I just let him nuzzle away and didn’t think twice about it. I remember when I was moved down to the ward a few hours later and he had begun cluster feeding on the colostrum (this is the ‘liquid gold’ that is full of goodness!) I don’t remember feeling much pain at this stage or any great discomfort, maybe because I was still full of adrenaline and pain relief from having the section!
I had attended the breast feeding class in Downpatrick Hospital and this really stood by me. I remembered the positioning technique the midwife had shown us, to line the baby’s body along yours facing you and holding the head, put the nose to the nipple and then when the mouth opens wide you are in control to get the best latch. I used this technique throughout my breastfeeding journey and I really do believe the positioning was the key to our success.
I received excellent support in the Ulster hospital on the ward, my midwife helped and showed me how to hand express some colostrum and looked at Zac’s latch to make sure he was getting the good stuff ok! The next day a breastfeeding support worker also stopped by my bed to see if we were getting on ok, she just watched him feed and chatted giving me tips and telling me what to expect with cluster feeding over the next few nights to bring my milk in (mind you nothing can prepare you for that!!) The midwives all commented on how naturally both Zac and I took to it, I loved the instant bond it gave us.
Once I got home the pain started to kick in, that first night Zac fed constantly alternating from one boob to the other, I was exhausted and my nipples were raw!
A good friend of mine had recommended Breast Angels, she used them with her son and swore by them. You can find them here. They are made from pure silver (a natural healing property) and you wear them all the time when not feeding. I found they really helped heal my nipples in-between feeds. You will resemble one of those girls from Austin Powers and get called ‘terminator tits’ by your nearest & dearest but all totally worth it!! A top tip is to put a breast pad over them when heading out in public to avoid awkward stares!!
Another fantastic breast feeding aid was the scarf/cover I used found here. I fed in public a lot, cafes, bars, restaurants, Parks, Asda, IKEA…it really didn’t bother me what people thought but I was discreet about it. This was great when Zac was a baby but as he got older it did become a nuisance as he would pull at it wanting to see what was going on around him. This was when I used the layering trick, I wore a vest under everything…so your outer top goes up and the vest goes down meaning you are totally covered. When Zac was feeding at this stage we were both much more confident, he knew what to do as did I, so often people wouldn’t even notice he was feeding.
I stopped feeding Zac at 6 months, looking back I probably wasn’t totally ready to but I think it would have been hard no matter when I decided to stop. My husband & I were going to New York for 4 nights and I thought it wasn’t fair to leave Zac for that long whilst he was still feeding. Not so much for the actual milk as I could have expressed but for the comfort side of it, to leave him to go cold turkey would have been cruel. I gradually weaned him off introducing more bottles and getting him down to one feed, then I spread this feed out longer and longer each day until eventually it was replaced by formula. He didn’t look for the breast again after that. I was in mild discomfort for a few days but it wasn’t as bad as I had expected.
I really enjoyed my breast feeding journey and I hope I get to experience it again. I know it doesn’t always work for everyone so I feel extremely lucky but I would strongly urge everyone to give it a go. If you have any questions on anything please don’t hesitate to get in touch, I really think support is such a big help when it comes to breastfeeding 🙂