National Breast Feeding Week 19th – 25th June 2011

I’ve been meaning to write about Breast Feeding for a while now. Its something that’s in the press quite a lot, whether its comments from celebrities about ‘Breast Feeding Bullies’, programmes on TV about people who breast feed for years, people who are frowned upon by family/friends etc for their decision to either breast feed or not etc etc etc. For the purpose of this post when ever I want to say breast fed/breast feeding etc I will use BF to save my fingers!!! So in honour of National Breast Feeding Week 2011, here goes!

I BF LissyLou, I BF C, to me it was the natural choice and something I felt I was ‘made’ to do. Saying that it I haven’t found it easy.

C was a rubbish BF!! From the start I struggled to get him to feed properly, he had a really tiny mouth and never seemed to like milk!. He fed well initially, I went home from hospital after having him feeling confident in our feeding and excited for the future. By the next morning I felt like a FAILURE! Over night C wouldn’t, or couldn’t latch. R had to go to the supermarket at about 3am to get some formula as C was so hungry and couldn’t get any milk from me. By tea time the next day I was back in hospital for overnight BF support, followed by a trip to the BF Cafe the next morning for one on one advice from a support worker. He was feeding! It didn’t last long, I struggled with getting him latched on at EVERY BF he ever had. He would encourage let down and then pull off the breast allowing us both to be covered in milk, not fun when you are out in public! I kept setting myself mini goals, I’d say “Ok if I can get to 6wks I will be so proud”, the deadline kept extending……….

I struggled through a horrendous bout of mastitis, and managed to get him to 7mths before I quit, for me a tremendous achievement. I remember the last time I BF C so clearly, it was the 27th November 2009, I stopped cold turkey as he had drunk a bottle of formula properly for the first time in his life. Stopping was agony, physically I felt like my breasts would POP, emotionally it was very sad, it marked the end of my BF journey and what I saw as the end of C’s ‘babyhood’. I highly recommend that you do NOT stop cold turkey, wean them off the breast over a period of time, if not for their comfort then definitely for your own

LissyLou on the other hand is a dream BF, she has fed well since the minute she was first offered the breast. She loves milk, and I will happily feed her at least as long as C, if not longer!!! I can feed her comfortably in public, laid down in bed, while typing on the laptop etc  Saying that, I will be stopping by the time she is about 10mths as R and I are going on holiday in December and I want to have stopped nicely before we go so that she isn’t badly affected by stopping BF and then mummy and daddy disappearing!!

Ok, so on the debate of to BF or not to BF. I am a huge supporter of BF. I think its why women have breasts. However, I think that it is personal choice, its hard work and its not for everyone. I fully support anyone who BF’s, its a huge undertaking, it can be very lonely and it can be very tie-ing! I have had a couple of friends who have wanted desperately to be able to BF and for a number of reasons were not able to, they were both very upset about this inability and felt they had let their child down. Far from it, you cannot let a baby down by not BF, you only let the baby down if you don’t love and care for them. In all honesty I think its one of those things that you should try, I think just deciding to give a baby formula without seeing what BF is like is a strange choice but each to their own!

I have BF all over the place, I am confident that no-one see’s anything they shouldn’t but I have struggled with babies pulling off the shawls I have used to preserve my dignity and struggled to find a way of covering up securely to prepare for feeding, feeding and then removing baby from the breast. Please see my next review of the Mamascarf to see if I have finally found a product that works!!

But why is there a National Breast Feeding Week? As mums-to-be we are told about breast feeding, the benefits both to us and our babies, its regularly in the press. Its sad that there it is felt that there is a need for a set week. Every day is a breast feeding day, if you have the right support, some perseverance and lets be honest a tiny bit of luck!!!

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