Here comes the milk…
So being small breasted, I was surprised when on day 4 I woke up looking like Dolly Parton! My milk had come in! I was so excited and couldn’t wait to feed my baby! I felt immense relief that everything was ok and I could continue our breastfeeding journey.
Now that my milk had come in, I was very fortunate in that it had come in in abundance. I had what one of my friends later referred to as ready, aim, fire boobies. Every morning I could literally feed my baby with one boob and, whilst he was feeding, I could express almost another whole bottle from the other (this was great as it meant I could freeze the extra milk ready for when I was due to have surgery a couple of months later). The minute I got ready to feed my boy it was like a switch had been flicked and the milk literally shot out. On more than one occasion he got a spurt of milk to the eye!
On one hand it was amazing to have so much milk with which to feed my child, but it also meant I leaked all the time. I went through 3-4 sets of breast pads a day and constantly had wet patches on my tops – I soon learnt to layer my clothes and stick to dark stuff! I suffered as most woman do with the pain of breast feeding, and anyone who says it doesn’t hurt has been very, very lucky. I combatted the pain issue by watching Netflix while I fed (due to the sheer volume of milk he only fed for maybe 15 minutes at a time) and that took my mind off it. It was this weird, painful, drawing out feeling and after about a month it started to be less painful and more just an odd sensation. I was fortunate in that my little trooper latched beautifully, and so I didn’t suffer with blisters or bleeding. I personally think that’s the trick to successful breast feeding– if your baby can latch on right then it’s unlikely that you will get blisters, and no blisters = less pain. I also used tons of nipple cream. I tried different brands to find the one that worked best for me and found there were two – Lanolin, which was great for a good soak before bed, and Bennetts, which has the same consistency as Savlon and so was really soothing when I was feeling a bit raw.
I won’t lie to you, it was hard. Some days (or more specifically nights) I would sit there feeding my baby and feel the weight of the responsibility crushing me. Every time he cried for milk it was on me, but I knew this was the decision I had made and I had to stick to it. I had tremendous support from my other half and that made it possible for me to continue for as long as I did. He would do all the burping at night, allowing me to wake up, feed and then go back to sleep while he settled the boy.
I was only able to breast feed for the first 3 months due to needing surgery and possibly radiotherapy, but working as a team we were able to stick to plan A and give our son the start we had wanted and it was the most amazing experience for me.