In this section of the site we will be sharing real life stories and experiences from mums and dads who are living and breathing parenthood. We hope that these honest and open accounts will be helpful to expectant, new and even experienced parents at any point along their journey.
Breastfeeding is no joke. Breast is best is a phrase that was repeated to me time and time again throughout my pregnancy but I want everyone to know that is hard. I say that not to worry any mums to be reading this but more because I know that this is not something you are always told about in advance.
By day one of my son’s life, I had already put incredible amounts of pressure on myself to breastfeed. I wanted to be the best mum ever, the breastfeeding mum, the one who made it look easy and strolled into parties with a completely content baby telling everyone it was such a breeze.
Three weeks in and that breeze continues to blow a bit of a gail! Sleepless nights, bad latching, colostrum harvesting, winding, nappies, positioning and an endless number of pillows all contribute to the emotional rollercoaster that breastfeeding truly is.
I want to give an honest account of how I felt and also how I’m feeling now, in the hope that it provides some helpful advice to women and empowers them to keep going even when they may feel like giving up.
Day one seems like an appropriate place to start…
Sat on the hospital bed, in a lot of pain due to having just given birth (!) and with my husband unable to be with me for 24 hours (thanks to COVID requirements), I now had a very teeny person to tend to. I was full of adrenaline and although everyone kept telling me to sleep my mind was racing with excitement. The birth had left me feeling empowered and within the golden hour, with a little help from the midwife, our boy had latched on and taken his first sips of liquid gold (AKA colostrum). I had researched the endless benefits of antibodies and nutrients it would be providing my newborn with. Hurray! I’d cracked it. Mum 1 Breastfeeding 0. What a result!
Needless to say, after a long sleep our newborn was definitely hungry and yet this time he just would not latch. I struggled to manoeuvre myself into different positions and he squirmed in my arms. The midwives came several times to help me with the latch but he was adamant he didn’t fancy getting any of it himself and so for the third feed of my day, my nipple was massaged by a midwife I hadn’t met before and colostrum was harvested in a syringe and then fed to him.
FAILURE resounded in my mind. This happened three more times. I couldn’t understand it. I’d tried so hard and having heard about it still struggled with the fact I couldn’t do what my body should so ‘naturally’ have done.
At this point, I should’ve remembered that this was totally normal, that both myself and my brand new son were learning everything from scratch. He wasn’t even a day old, of course it wasn’t always going to be straight forward, we had to learn about each other and remember how to do things.
Thankfully, after some more practise, breastfeeding was established and when my husband was allowed back the following day we were able to go home. Phew! This was going to be great!