The look of love – breastfeeding
I wasn’t always convinced that I’d breastfeed my children. lack of knowledge, lack of confidence and just inexperienced I guess.
In the mid-stages of my first pregnancy was when I was understanding more about it all. The benefits, the apparent bond between mother & baby, the fact that it seemed more convenient, etc. I attended local breastfeeding groups with my amazing family member, who also happened to be a breastfeeding peer support worker. Listening to her knowledge and experience gave me hope. Hope that no matter what came my way I could overcome it. Together with my baby.
So when I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, I had an instance feeling rush through me. The feeling to nourish my newborn who needed me to comfort her in her first few hours of life. Her labour was fast, so it all seemed like a blur at the beginning – as the night went on, I latched her with help from my sister in law and she gulped away like she was a pro. Survival instinct had started in its truest form. The next few feeds I hadn’t had the correct support from staff and ended up latching her poorly resulting in her chomping down so hard that it made a wound. I thought the ‘breastfeeding your own baby’ part would be a doddle – how wrong was I! This wound then remained open over the duration of the demand feeds for around 6-8 weeks. The pain was unbearable at times, each feed I would bite into my dressing gown, or squeeze my partners arm so hard and question why I was doing this? Why was I putting myself through this physical and emotional pain? I kept questioning my decision over and over.
At the same time, I developed the dreaded mastitis, which left me feeling absolutely awful. The pain left me feeling sore, upset and defeated. Why was this happening to me when all I was doing was trying my best. And trying something I so deeply wanted to do and believed in?
Throughout this, I continued to feed as little and often as my sweet baby wanted and needed, I believe this was the biggest healer for myself. My reason for persevering was the simple fact of how I saw all the other benefits to my baby and I. Our bond was special. (I don’t doubt in anyway that people who choose to bottle feed don’t feel the same bond, it just my personal experience and views 🙂 )
I continued to attend my local baby cafe, and sought after advice from that amazing family member. And the words I still remember now is her saying “Natalie, I know you feel rubbish now sweety, but I just know when you get THERE, the golden and blissful part – you’ll love it.” And these are the words that got me through. I went through ten weeks of pain. mind numbing, soul crushing pain to get to the blissful feeding. And I feel very proud in doing so. I could’ve thrown in the towel so many times but chose not to. the feeling I felt once the pain gradually left me was amazing. I felt so proud. I was then able to enjoy feeding my baby. (Not dreading each feed, as I knew I was facing that agonising needle sharp pain each time.)
I fell in love with feeding her. The bond is so special, and I loved the way my girl fed so peacefully, was so content and happy. I loved how she would look up at me as if she was thanking me for nourishing her in our special way. I went on to feed her until she was 13months.
I fed my second daughter to 15months, and I am currently feeding my little boy at 10 weeks. Three completely different breastfeeding journeys – (yet to be typed from draft – to publish!) but ultimately, all of this is the reason I breastfeed, believe in the greatness of breastfeeding and will forever support it.
(My heart goes out to anyone who has tried and not had such an easy journey. It is soul crushing when you feel you’re failing your baby. Just try to remember that there are so many options out there for help and support, research into it and you’ll come across some amazing info. which ever way you choose to nourish your little bundle is your choice, happy baby and happy mummy is the best thing.)
It’s the reason I decided to take part and train in the breastfeeding peer support programme last summer. To help others try and find that blissful stage. You deserve it. I believe that it is the most natural act a mother can offer her sweet child. That loving gaze from baby to mama is one of the best feelings I’ve ever, and will ever experience in my life. It’s priceless, effortless, and pure.
I thank my babies for giving me this beautiful opportunity and to share it with them.