Monday, 5 August 2013

9 months old...still breastfeeding!

So it's World Breastfeeding Week, I thought I would write about what breastfeeding means to me, and our experiences so far, Daisy will be 9 months old on the 6th August, and I am so proud to say that I am still breastfeeding, I really couldnt imagine still doing it now as I found it so bloody hard to start with, the first 3 months were really tough and quite stressful.  I used to count down the months I had left, as I only initially planned to breastfeed for 6 months.

We didnt get off to the best start with me having a traumatic birth and Daisy being in neo natal special care for a week. 
She was not instantly a good latcher, she was nil by mouth for the first day or so, and no-one in the hospital showed me how to express, I had to keep pestering the staff, I was terrified my milk would dry up before it had even come in! It was incredibly painful for the first few days and weeks, nipple cream was my friend! I went to numerous breastfeeding support groups, which were a sanity saver, things gradually became easier and around 4 months when she was so much stronger, she suddenly started latching properly first time. I can now say I love breastfeeding, it's probably one of the only things I've been so determind to stick at in life, and I have succeeded in doing so! Not only is it so convenient, (I couldn't imagine all the faff with formula feeding, if I go out I have her milk with me at the right temperature!) it's the absolute best thing I can give Daisy, I like the thought of the fact that I grew her in my belly, and I sustained her with my milk, I made her healthy and strong, it's makes me very proud when I have her weighed and get told how well she is doing, I think I did that with my super mummy milk! The bond we have developed through it, it's a beautiful, wonderful thing. 

One of my favourite things is the bedtime feed, when we are in the bedroom, the lights are dim, and we have lullaby music on, Daisy is sleepy and she nods off while feeding in my arms, it's such a special and precious time and sometimes I feel like its the first time I have really relaxed all day! 
I struggled with feeding in public for a while, that is finally easier, I always found it quite stressful, especially as she is so nosy, and would never stay on my boob, always wanting to look around, leaving me rather exposed, I am more comfortable with a cover, that's personal choice, although she doesn't like a cover and always pulls it off!! 

Now Daisy is older and much quicker at feeding I miss the early lovely lazy days of settling down to watch a programme while she was feeding and would then fall asleep on me.
I cannot see us stopping any time soon, hopefully she won't self wean, she does lose interest during the day, I at least plan to do morning and evening feeds for a while yet. 
As with most things there are negative points...I've never been a fan of expressing and feeding by bottle, we did it once when she was 9 weeks, and it felt very unnatural and strange giving her a bottle, so she has not had one since! We don't have any family who live near so we don't have the option of anyone looking after her, maybe if we did things would have been different, but doing ALL the feeding myself, sometimes, just sometimes I wish I could have a break, a lie in, a night off! Night feeds have been hard work, and now at 9 months we have it down to just one, actually the last two nights Daisy has 'slept through' a breastfeeding mothers dream?! I find a lot of parents are in such a rush for their babies to sleep through, but in the early days, and for quite some time after babies really do NEED those night feeds, as breast milk is digested so much quicker than formula. Yes I've been tired, exhausted at night but I tried to tell myself she needs me hungry little pickle! I feel I am waffling now...
Breastfeeding is beautiful. If I have another baby I will be breastfeeding, no hesitation. I love it so much and want to encourage others to do so, not enough mothers continue breastfeeding for all sorts of reasons, lack of support and knowledge being one. I hope to have some peer support training in September, and become a volunteer locally. It is something I am passionate about and hope to be doing for a few more months yet, I know I will miss it terribly when it ends! 

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