My relationship with breastfeeding this last year has been difficult. I breastfed my first son until he was 9 months and then I exclusively breastfed my second son for 14 months. So, of course I was going to do it again for my daughter. I’d done it twice before, I was prepared for the leaking milk, painful nipples and night time feed marathons. I was going to be just fine. Right? Wrong.
A traumatic birth meant my daughter was delivered through C-Section whilst I was under general anaesthetic. I nearly died, she almost didn’t make it so when everything turned out ok I expected my body to do what it had done before and produce milk. Except it didn’t because my body was confused. One minute I had been pregnant and literally the next minute I wasn’t. When I woke up my body wasn’t flooded with hormones like it should have been, and my milk didn’t come in. That was a shock but irrationally I felt like my body had already failed me by being unable to birth my child and now I wasn’t going to let it fail my baby by being unable to nourish her. Yes, I was kinda angry with myself. Many people advised me not to put this pressure on me, and move her onto formula. To be honest, I would have advised anyone the same. I had lost almost 3 litres of blood, replaced by blood transfusions. I was exhausted even before I’d come round from the anaesthetic. But I insisted I was going to feed her and kept her on my breast night and day until my milk did come in. We did top her up with formula but mainly she was breastfed. My milk never came in like it did in my 20s. Then, I had breasts bursting with milk and nipples that leaked every time I looked at a baby. But I was doing just fine. However, my method to bring milk in meant that she became dependent on nursing to sleep, for comfort and generally stayed on my nipple all night. I am VERY sleep deprived! Anyway, after a rubbish week at work last week (generally highlighting I couldn’t carry on, on so little sleep) I decided to stop breastfeeding through the day and for now, only when she wakes up at night. It’s taken me a while to do this because actually I didn’t really want to give it up, I wasn’t sure how I would put her to sleep, how I would comfort her and the list goes on! Since Saturday I have only fed her after 11pm and you know, I’ve had more energy through the day. She still on my breast most of the night but I thought if I can carry on like this for a whole week then maybe I’ll be able to give up the night feed without punishing myself with the bad mother stick.
This morning was tough though. I have Wednesdays off work and for the first time I didn’t put her to sleep during the by nursing her. She drank from her bottle fine and then couldn’t get herself to sleep. Poor little baby …but I persevered and so did she with her crying. I sang her nursery rhymes and whispered to her how glad she was so good at making her voice heard. There’s no silencing this girl’s voice:) Eventually, I took her out for a walk and as the sun rays kissed her soft cheeks she closed her eyes and nodded off.