My Breastfeeding Journey

Breastfeeding is one of the most amazing gifts you can give your baby. Being able to breastfeed and provide them with all the goodness from your milk means that their immune system is being boosted with all the nutrients and good bacteria that they need. Despite what society leads up to believe, breastfeeding does not always come naturally to mum or bub.

With all the good, there can also be moments of pain, frustration and exhaustion. Everyone’s breastfeeding journey is different. What works for one person, may not work for the next. Some mothers can successfully breastfeed for months or years, whereas other mothers may have trouble and require the assistance of formula (which there is no judgement about). I am so grateful that I was able to successfully breastfeed. Here is my breastfeeding journey. 

It started out a little rough..

I am not going to sugar coat it; the start of my breastfeeding journey wasn’t the most pleasant. Have you heard of cluster feeding? It is when your newborn wants to continually feed. At 2 days old, we went through a cluster period where my little girl was wanting to be fed and be on the breast ALL THE TIME. The constant feeding was causing me to be in so much pain. There were lots of moments of being close to tears, excruciating pain and struggling to continue.

I was still in hospital at the time, and I was so grateful for the nurse that came in one night, looked at the pain I was in and went to get a nipple shield for me. During those first few weeks, it is so important to make sure that your little one is latching correctly. They need to get their mouth around the whole areola. If they are not latching correctly, it can not only cause them not to get enough milk, but it can also cause pain and discomfort for you feeding. Cracked nipples are nothing to joke about! 

I used the nipple shield for about 2 weeks before I was able to feed successfully without it. My other tip for making the breastfeeding process a little less painful is to relax (I know, easier said than done) But relaxing actually helps your milk to flow and it can ease the pain.  

It got a lot better! 

After the initial rough start, our journey through breastfeeding was a long and successful one. I breastfed exclusively for the first 12 months. By exclusive, it means that there were no supplements of formula.

After 12 months, we also introduced formula and we continued our mixed feeding journey until 2 years and 1 month. I slowly started weaning my little one off her feeds, to the point where I was only feeding at night before bed.

After we weaned off the breastfeeding, we noticed that she was sleeping a lot better and for longer periods throughout the night.   

Things I noticed during our journey..

One of the not so nice things that happens during breastfeeding is the biting stage. We went through the biting stage, relativity unscarred. Around the 6 month stage, is when your little one will start to notice their mouth movements and can start biting down. It is not fun. I do not recommend it! However, I was given a little advice that a little flick of the mouth when they bite will help to stop them from doing it again. Luckily this worked for us and we got through without any real pain or damage.  

You don’t think much of it at the time, but when you look back you realise that there were different things happening with your body and lifestyle that you weren’t aware of.  

Looking back, I realise how hungry and thirsty I was whilst breastfeeding. I was drinking so much more water than normal, which is a good thing I guess – HA! 

When you are breastfeeding, everything that you are consuming is being split between you and your baby. Which means you might see yourself eating and drinking more – without putting on extra weight.

Once I stopped breastfeeding, I did notice an increase in my weight. It wasn’t that I was still eating more than normal. It was because everything that I was eating, and drinking was now just for me. I wasn’t having to fulfil the needs of two people, so my weight did increase.  

My breastfeeding journey is one that I will remember forever. There were lots of loving moments, watching my little girl looking up at me whilst feeding. I am so grateful that I was able to feed her and for the length of time that I did. 

Remember, everyone is different. Each person has their reasons for why they breastfeed or formula feed and that is okay. Encourage, support and love those around you and the feeding choices that they make.  

I can’t wait to hear about your journey!

(photo is my daughters very first feed) 💗