I know breastfeeding can be a touchy/ controversial for some subject but I wanted to write my story to either help others or give people the extra confidence that it’s okay to breastfeed and not to feel embarrassed or ashamed to feed in public!
I was always brought up thinking that breastfeeding was ‘The thing to do’ when feeding your baby. I was always surrounded by mums and also my Mum who breast fed me… so when I went to the hospital to have Gabriel I was all set for this amazing breastfeeding journey and thought it would come really naturally to me but had heard about how sore your nipples get in the early day.
After having Gabriel by emergency c section 4 weeks early I was told by the midwives at the hospital that I should start by squeezing my boobs and using the syringes to feed him so that my boobs start to produce more ready for the milk to come in…. I remember sitting with the curtains closed in our ward me squeezing my boobs whilst Ainslee squeezed it up in the syringe… I was thinking ‘God Ainslee’s seen it all now’. As we were in hospital for 4 days due to Gabriel having Jaundice the midwives told me that I needed to give him a bottle of formula as it would flush out the jaundice quicker… I have to say I was gutted about this and truly felt like the midwives just wanted me out of the hospital so that I could free up my bed (looking back now) for someone else, but I thought that they were right at the time so gave him a couple of bottles and carried on giving him my colostrum too!
Whilst in the hospital I was so shocked that all the other girls were choosing to formula feed from the get-go.. it didn’t make sense to me, it’s the best thing for baby, great for weight loss and it’s free!!! This is what we have boobs for right?… it didn’t make sense to me… I know women have trouble with feeding and can end up having to formula feed but the fact so many people choose to formula feed from the get-go didn’t make sense to me. Is it because people don’t want to get their boobs out in public? Is it because you want to share the feeding with others? I was so excited about having this amazing bond with my baby so when I left the hospital that evening I couldn’t help but feel gutted about having to give my baby formula milk.
That night before bed I gave Gabriel his final bottle of formula and told myself I WAS GOING TO DO THIS, throughout the night I kept getting him to latch in the hope we could change this around… but it was too late, Gabriel had got used to the bottle teet already and would no long latch… so I carried on squeezing the colostrum out and syringing it into his mouth until the morning when the ‘feeding team’ came round to our house to check on us. By this point I was using the breast pump and giving him my milk from the bottle which I was finding so hard and tiring.
The feeding team midwives told me that he had a bad tongue tie and that could be why he’s struggling to feed, so they gave me a pack of nipple shield that mimicked the bottle teet and he latched straight away! I was so happy! I couldn’t go through with him having his tongue cut so we persevered with the nipple shields for a good few months, I bought every style and even found some shorter nipple shields which he would have to work harder to feed from as he got older. I’ve slowly weaned him off them now so he’s now feeding straight from my nipple as he’s got older and stronger, he’s now 4 months old and we are feeding really well. This just goes to show that if your baby does have a bad tongue tie there’s no reason not to carry on and persevere with breastfeeding… if you really want to do it I truly believe its possible. After talking to a midwife I also found out myself and Ainslee both have tongue ties and both of our mums breast fed us… I think only recently people have been making it an issue and Im sure babies have had tongue ties for generations but they have only recently started cutting them… So because of our journey I’ve had no problems with sore or cracked nipples like most breastfeeding mums.. but I’ve also heard that so many mums have had to give up breastfeeding due to a tongue tie but I truly believe that with the right support (my breast feeding team were amazing) and your own dedication you will be able to breastfeed even with a tongue tied baby! DON’T GIVE UP!
Also when it comes to feeding in public, I’ve been for meals out with friends, shopping on my own in Manchester and even at the hairdressers and I’ve felt comfortable enough to feed Gabriel… with all the nursing friendly clothes out there these days or even just wear some high waisted pants and pulling your jumper/tshirt up you’ll find you’re not showing anything off. So far I haven’t had anyone stare or make me feel uncomfortable, let’s face it you’re doing the most natural thing in the world!
I absolutely love breastfeeding and find it comes super naturally to me.. but I guess sometimes it’s not you who can have the problems with feeding and it can be the baby that struggles, which I was never really made aware of pre baby! I’d love to hear all about your breastfeeding journeys, Im planning on breastfeeding for as long as possible with Gabriel but no older than 2 as this is what I feel is the best thing for my baby! Please comment on my picture on Instagram and share your journey! ❤