All through my pregnancy my intention was to combination feed, bit of tit here, bit of formula there.
I was never one of those people (judgemental twats) who wanted to force breast feeding upon anyone ESPECIALLY not myself. I wanted to primarily breast feed with the odd formula feed here and there to top her up as and when she needed it.
I read books about it, decided which feeds would be breast and which I would eventually try to give formula and it all seemed pretty simple; I felt confident with my decision. I really wanted to do some breastfeeding – I’d seen people on instagram and youtube talk about doing it, I really wanted an amazing bond with my daughter and I felt as god has blessed me (fucked me over) with these fucking HUGE tiddies, I may as well put them to good use and feed my little human with em’.
Fast forward to the 25th February 2019, my baby was pulled out of my tummy and luckily latched on straight away, buzzin! Breast feeding? Completed it mate.
How wrong was I?! I mean, I felt wonderful during that first feed looking down at my baby, relieved she could fit my nipple in her mouth (they grew looooaaddsss in pregnancy) ALTHOUGH i was terrified she couldn’t breathe as the rest of my boob was covering her nose – the midwife quickly reassured me she was fine. Poppy (my daughter) fed for 45 minutes (this had already broken rule #1 from the book I read that said don’t feed for longer than 15 minutes a time on the first day) but fuck it, I didn’t care, my baby was here and wanted to feed so god damnit I’m gonna feed her!
My nipples were GINORMOUS, they could’ve given daisy the cow a run for her money – my boyfriend found this hilarious… thankfully they’re returning to normal now! After the 3rd 45 minute feed on that first day I saw the dreaded first ever nipple blister appearing, “oh shit” I thought, this is the start of all the nightmares I had heard from other people.
It was around 10pm, I’d had my baby, was exhausted, bleeding from my vagina, nipples kinda sore and my partner had to leave us as it was approaching bed time on the ward. If I could’ve shown you inside my head at that moment all you’d have seen the word FUCK. I was overwhelmed, anxious, felt unable to ‘parent’ and alone. I honestly wouldn’t wish that first night on my worst enemy. I thought I’d be spending that first night on cloud 9 and happily sleeping with my new gorgeous baby however the reality is a bit different…that night my daughter, Poppy, wanted to feed all night and if I even took her off for a second she’d scream the place down… at 3am on a ward with other mums and babies hahahahlolhahahelpmeeee…
The thing is, my little friend no one had told me about had come to visit – she’s called CLUSTER FEEDING.
Let me reword that, she’s no friend of mine – she can fuck right off. Cluster feeding and alone on night one with my other little twat of a visitor, nipple blister. That night I must’ve slept for around 30 minutes, ended up being hand expressed (aka MILKED LIKE A COW) by a midwife (who i’d gone to school with – nice little reunion hun) and had a mini breakdown wondering why no fucker had told me about cluster feeding.
So not the greatest start in my eyes, however I’ve since found out this is quite a normal experience.
Anyway, I persevered and got to 10 weeks breastfeeding and ended up loving it but things just didn’t work out beyond 10 weeks for a few reasons. Below I’ve written what I feel I could’ve done better and what I think I could possibly do differently next time to carry on breast feeding for longer.
1. Not eating and drinking enough – this has never been something I’ve struggled with and I’m really surprised myself that I couldn’t eat properly but the baby blues hit me like a ton of bricks after a couple of days and stayed around for a couple of weeks. I was so unmotivated and didn’t want to eat or drink anything. I could barely smile. The visitors were coming and I just wanted to scream FUCK OFF AND LEAVE ME ALONE although they were only being kind this was making me feel lower meaning I was eating even less. I wish I would’ve prepared more meals for the freezer, more healthy snacks, stocked up bottles of water or juice and made sure I was refuelling every couple of hours as this massively affected my milk supply. I’m sorry baby.
2. Not feeding during the night – as mentioned above it was always my intention to combination feed with both breast milk and formula. We quickly realised Poppy was always a bit better settled after a bottle of formula so started formula feeding during the night which my partner would kindly do to let me sleep (what a hero!). Now what I didn’t realise at the time was that the night feed is THE most important feed. This is the feed that keeps your milk supply at its best, so again my supply suffered meaning more formula feeds through the day however as a sleep deprived mum I would’ve done anything for an extra hour or 2 so formula took the lead and my supply took a hit.
3. Being lazy and unmotivated – this links in to the above. Instead of prioritising my milk supply I prioritised sleep. I don’t regret this as such as this is what I needed to cope and to be a great mum to my baby. However, looking back if I knew what I know now, I would’ve pumped in the night when my baby got up to have her bottle. This would’ve created a stash of breast milk in the freezer, wouldn’t have taken long at all and most importantly, my milk supply wouldn’t have been affected.
4. No routine with pumping – I hated this little fucker. I loved breast feeding but HATED the breast pump and hated the way it made me feel. Again, in hindsight it wasn’t really too bad I just got lazy and felt overwhelmed because we had no routine. When my partner would feed our baby formula, instead of taking that time to pump, I would just enjoy having my boobs away and dry. I really wish I would’ve had a better routine with feeding and pumping as later down the line I realised routine is KEY for anything to work well.
5. Not feeding OR pumping publicly – I was so insecure, I have massive, not so firm, milk filled lumps on my chest and felt so embarrassed to get em’ out publicly. I felt people would stare at me and I’d heard about comments other people had received and it was all so off putting. I didn’t want anyone seeing my boobs didn’t resemble that of a 20 year old page 3 girl with breast implants. Although myself I’ve always admired people who breastfed publicly…fuck that -next time round all the judgemental twats and perverts can fuck themselves because looking back I wish I would’ve thought to myself ‘these were made to feed my babies, nothing else matters’ it was vain to be completely honest, I’m not overly happy with my huge boobs anymore and I was worried what people would think but again I let my vanity win against breast feeding my baby – never again will I let that happen.
6. Not following advice and easing myself into breast feeding – As I mentioned above I read books on it and apparently one of the ways to ‘ease yourself in’ is to make sure you only feed for MAXIMUM 15 minutes on each nipple for any one feed on that first day. So you can feed her 5 times for example but for only 15 minutes on each nipple. This is because your nipples have never fed before and aren’t used to being suckled on by a little suckling piggy human. I ignored this advice because I was just happy my daughter was breast feeding but next time round I will be much more aware of these feeding times as I think it will give us a better start AND less blisters.
I can understand why lots of women don’t want to breast feed longer than a few days. Without the right support and knowledge it’s fucking hard and sometimes seems impossible. Not to mention the hormones that come with it. However, with the right knowledge and REAL support, not them shitty breast feeding police who come and tell you you’re doing it wrong or ‘breast is best’ or ‘you’re baby isn’t latching onto your whole nipple properly’ (fuck off and leave my nips alone). I mean a REAL support network of women who’ve been in the same situation. Mums who’ve struggled and come through the other side and who can be honest about it, I really think with these two things breast feeding can be bloody wonderful and really enjoyable.
Hopefully next time (fingers crossed) I can take my own advice and do better. I’m really trying not to be so hard on myself but this is what being a parent is. Learning from our mistakes, knowing our baby loves us anyway flaws and all, and hopefully doing better next time round. Mummy fucked up, and that’s ok.
I really hope you enjoyed my first blog post, I know I can waffle on but I’m so passionate about being a mum it’s my favourite thing in the world. Hopefully, my writing will get better with time and practice but I’d love to know what you think about this post! Let me know in the comments box below!
Lots of love, Sophie x
p.s. fed is best xxx