I was never going to blog about my breastfeeding journey… I’ve had a very easy ride so didn’t think I had much to share… but when Medela sent out a press release about what’s ‘normal’ when breastfeeding, it got me thinking that we should all share our stories and journeys to make sure that the next lot of mums-to-be have a wealth of resources and stories at their fingertips….
My breastfeeding story
So…. before little W came along I’d decided that I’d like to try breastfeeding but if it didn’t work out we’d happily use formula. We didn’t buy any equipment or formula in advance…. we were just going to wing it…. and how lucky we were…. as soon as he was placed on me, he latched on and took his first sip/meal
We were in hospital for just over 24 hours after he was born, which was handy as I was able to check with midwives that he was latching on ok, and they also advised me to take him off if he fell asleep/ stopped feeding… they also taught me to tickle his cheek to wake him up a bit while latched on.
And that was it, we got home and little W wanted feeding every 2-3 hours on average. He’d usually start nibbling on his fingers or fist when he was thirsty/hungry but didn’t always… generally if he cried, it turns out he wanted feeding… even if he’d just had some a few minutes prior…. feeding on demand indeed!
After a few days he had lost 9% of his body weight – totally normal but the midwife suggested I hand express into a breastfeeding cup to top him up, she didn’t want him losing any more weight otherwise we’d have to discuss ‘feeding plans’ etc. This brought out the competitive edge in me – there was no way my baby was going to put on a feeding plan! So I made a conscious effort the next few days to make he was even fuller than normal….. it worked, at 10 days old he was heavier than his birth weight 🙂
So I’ve been very lucky – he’s had no problems latching on, I’ve had no problems with my milk supply, I’ve not needed to use the nipple creams my friend gave me… I feel very lucky and blessed that I’ve been able to feed him in this way, without any problems, as it feels very natural and special to me. I love the look he gives me when he’s latched on, and I love how it’s our private time… just him and me…
I feel so proud that he is growing and thriving purely down to my milk. I feel thankful to his daddy who’s been making sure I’m well fed – he feeds me, I feed baby!
I feel sorry for all the women who struggle with breastfeeding, and even worse than that feel pressures and failures when it doesn’t work out. I feel bad that there’s no advice I can offer any of them as I haven’t encountered any problems. The only tip I can share (if it’s even valid) is to relax… I’m generally relaxed and laid-back, I wonder how much that is passed on to baby who feels comfortable feeding as he can feel the calm vibes?! if you’re struggling and stressing about it, can baby pick up on that? I don’t know but it’s just an idea…
Having said all of this, breastfeeding isn’t some kind of paradise club. Nobody told me how exhausting and messy it is. With an (over-?-)active milk supply, whatever I’m wearing (and our bedding) get covered in milk. (I then use these T-shirts as bed sheets for W to comfort him at night!!).
I downloaded an app called ‘Baby Connect’ (cost: £2.99) to help me track the feeds to see if any trends are emerging… I can tell you:
- I feed for 5-6 hours in a normal day – so close to a full-time job! I can now see why maternity leave was invented…
- on average I feed for 25 mins, (Medela say the ‘normal’ range is 12-60 mins) just under every 2 hours
- on average this works out to about 16 times a day (slightly higher than the ‘normal’ range of 4-13 that Medela suggest)
- the left side is far more popular than the right! (always was ;)) with about 3/4 of all feeds taking place on the left side
- Most of our feeds occur in the morning, evening and nights – very few in the afternoon (again, slightly different from Medela’s findings)
Some screenshots from BabyConnect – I recommend this app for tracking feeds (can be used for bottle feeding, tracking sleep, nappy changes, activities etc too)
The next chapters in my Breastfeeding story will hopefully involve expressing so we can bottle-feed, trying to reduce the nightfeeds eventually and feeding him in public if needs be…. if you’ve enjoyed this post then please follow me on my journey via WordPress, Twitter or Bloglovin.
What’s your Breastfeeding story? How do your findings compare with Medela’s?
(Please note I wasn’t paid by Medela to write this post – I just wanted to support their campaign!)
PS I’ve linked this up to Zena’s suitcase – new linky – Breastfeeding Diaries….