My Breastfeeding journey with Monkey

I wrote this post a while ago as it was intended to be a guest post on another blog, however the blogger actually stopped blogging so it was never published! It never really felt relevant to my blog before so it has sat, a little neglected and unpublished for a while. Now though, at over half-way through my second pregnancy I have been talking about birth choices and breastfeeding a bit more so decided to dust it off and publish it :)

So here it is, my breastfeeding journey with Monkey. It doesn’t sound at all positive to begin with, but bear with me as it does have a happy ending and I will try to breastfeed my second child too. 

We had a rocky start and unfortunately a lot of the ‘help’ we received turned out to be more of a hindrance. I always knew I wanted to breastfeed if I could and that I would try really hard to do so. I also realised that it wasn’t necessarily going to be easy, but I didn’t realise quite how challenging it would be. Once breastfeeding is established, it is wonderful and pain-free, but I was not prepared for how difficult it could be to get to that point and it never occurred to me that asking for help would leave me feeling lost and confused.

Before Monkey was born I read a lot about breastfeeding but I thought that it wasn’t really something you could learn until you did it. We went to a breastfeeding workshop at our local hospital and while it was quite helpful and informative, it was also my first glimpse at the pressurised attitude towards breastfeeding. I made the mistake of disagreeing with the expert at one point and I was quickly under fire until I reluctantly agreed with her (I hate confrontation at the best of times, let alone when being singled out amongst a group of strangers). I wasn’t too keen on her approach but despite this we came away feeling fairly confident and hopeful that I should be able to breastfeed with relative ease.

Our first piccy together post surgery

Our first piccy together post surgery

Monkey was born by C-Section as he was breech and even though we had skin to skin as soon as possible after he was born, we struggled to get a good latch. We saw various midwives and breastfeeding experts that day, all with completely different opinions. It was a really difficult day and my boobs were grabbed, prodded, pushed and squeezed into his mouth. Every midwife seemed to have a different idea of which hold was best and whether to hold his neck or his head and it was all so confusing. I dreaded the moment that hubby had to go home for the night because I would have to deal with everything on my own.

A rare sleepy moment for Monkey that night

A rare sleepy moment for Monkey that night

But the time came and it was one of the worst nights I have experienced. Being on my own, in pain from the C-section, barely able to move myself let alone lift my baby, struggling to get him to eat or sleep. With 3 other mums in the same position on the ward, there was always at least one of the babies crying. At one point, with tears streaming down my face and a baby I couldn’t manage to feed who was crying his eyes out too, I finally called for help. A young midwife came and stood looking at me then asked ‘Well? What do you want me to do about it?’ I couldn’t believe it and sobbed out, ‘please just help me try.’ She did soften then and tried to help, and I know they are very busy, under a lot of pressure and deal with the same thing day in day out but she made me feel so pathetic and judged. I really felt like she couldn’t care less. In contrast there was another midwife on the night shift who was really lovely and very helpful. It was just the luck of the draw as to who would come when you pushed the button.

Unfortunately feeding Monkey didn’t consistently improve whilst I was in hospital, and we continued to struggle. I ended up using a pump and was given a plastic syringe to feed him from. It was a bit of a nightmare but it seemed to be working. It wasn’t a permanent solution though and we continued to try and get a good latch. At the breastfeeding workshop we went to when I was pregnant we were told that if the latch is right then feeding won’t hurt, however whenever we could get Monkey to feed, I really found that it hurt. When I told a midwife this she laughed and said ‘well of course it hurts, what do you expect?’ We couldn’t believe that there was such contrasting opinions from ‘experts’ within the same hospital and just didn’t know what to believe or who to ask for help any more.

Daddy & Monkey in the hospital

Daddy & Monkey in the hospital

By the time I was well enough to go home, I was desperate to, but because of the difficulties in feeding, we faced a lot of resistance and they really didn’t want us to leave. We were told by the head midwife that if we took him home and he didn’t eat then ‘you’ll never forgive yourselves.’ We were so shocked by the insinuation and  I understand that they have a responsibility and they don’t know us but even when we assured them that we were going to buy a pump and that we had cartons of formula ready in the event he wouldn’t breastfeed, they still wouldn’t let us go home.

Thankfully my wonderful and supportive community midwife happened to be in the hospital that day, heard about our predicament, popped by and saved the day with some inside information. She ‘suggested’ that we could ask the midwives for a bottle to put my pumped milk in (rather than the syringe they had given us), as if monkey drank from the bottle then we may be able to convince them to let us go home. Because I was expressing so well and Monkey ate well from the bottle we were finally able to persuade them to let us leave.

Being at home was just so much more relaxed that things soon improved. We decided, despite previously being told we didn’t need them, that it was worth trying some nipple shields. My nipples although not completely flat or inverted, were very small, compared to the shape and size they became after breastfeeding, I honestly believe this played a part in Monkey being able to latch on properly. We were told this was not the case, and I am no expert, but, well sometimes you have to trust your instincts, although this is by no means easy as a new mum! I also think that may be why it hurt me initially as my nipples were being stretched into the right proportions (sorry if too much info!).

We also researched online and found some clear advice about feeding positions. In hospital we were advised to hold Monkey’s head while feeding, but had the problem that he was constantly turning away when we tried to feed him. It seemed from our research that we were confusing him about which direction to feed from. By holding him so his head rested in the crook of my arm rather than being held in place, it seemed to just work.  These two seemingly small changes made a huge difference and Monkey was soon feeding with ease.

At the midwife’s home visit she wrote that we were breastfeeding well, and Monkey soon regained his birth weight. In fact he started piling on the pounds and quickly jumped up two lines on the percentile chart. It wasn’t always plain sailing but a few weeks later we stopped using the nipple shields and had no further worries. I soon came to love breastfeeding (even despite 3 bouts of rather painful Mastitis) and the bonding experience that came with it and breastfed for over 6 months until the time felt right to stop.

Me and my Monkey a fe months later :)

Me and my Monkey a few months later :)

I feel really sad as I write this that my first few days of motherhood, instead of being filled with joy, were spent largely in tears and feeling more judged than I ever have in my life. Of course there were happy times too. I was brimming over with love for Monkey and was so happy he had arrived safely. I just wish things had been different regarding breastfeeding. It seems so sad that there is now so much pressure on women to breastfeed that the approach has become so harsh and almost forceful. That the midwives, nurses and breastfeeding experts aren’t just able to offer support and encouragement or at least be consistent, and that as women we are made to feel like we are failing our child if we cannot breastfeed for one reason or another.

Prior to Monkey’s birth we were led to believe that breastfeeding was easy and pain free, and it really is, once breastfeeding is established. But not to start with.  It may be for some of course, everyone experiences it differently, but certainly not in my case. I suppose that because everyone has different experiences that the midwives and experts are inevitably going to have different opinions about it, I just wish it wasn’t such a confusing and sometimes belittling experience as a new mum.

If you are thinking about breastfeeding then please don’t be put off by my experience as it is different for everyone. In complete contrast a good friend of mine credits her successful breastfeeding completely to the help she received by staying in hospital for a few days after her daughter was born. Unfortunately it really is the luck of the draw but if you do struggle initially, know that you are not alone, and know that if you can persevere through the difficult days in the beginning, that it does get better and that it really is worth it in the long run.

I will definitely attempt to breastfeed again with our new baba, but I know that every baby is different and I am going to try really hard not to put too much pressure on myself if we are struggling with it. We’ll see how I get on with that though ;).

Did anyone else have a similar experience? I would also love to hear about positive experiences!!

Linking up with#AllAboutYou over at Mama-andMore

 

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73 thoughts on “My Breastfeeding journey with Monkey

  1. Oh, what a horrid start for you. You’re so right about it being luck of the draw. I was fortunate as I was able to feed Boo, with some help with latch and soon from a few midwives, and then it came easily to me with Little Man as I suppose I had experience and felt more relaxed, too. I also kept him pretty much on me, snuggling and cuddling all night, as I couldn’t move from my C Section, and got tired of buzzing for help!

    • Thanks Jocelyn, I am very much hoping that second time round is a little easier, less of that overwhelming fear you have of hurting your first newborn! xx

  2. I totally agree that the midwife support given for breastfeeding seems to depend on luck and workload. When my daughter was born I was pretty much left to get on with it by myself and when I did ask a midwife for help the support given was the bare minimum to get me started and then she was gone again. It was very busy that night in the hospital and because my delivery had been straightforward I almost felt guilty for having to ask for help – I had assumed it would be offered without asking and that someone would check we were ok with feeding but that wasn’t the case.

    Like you, I got much more support from the community midwife once I was home – she spent a good half hour with us making sure we got the latch right and a few days later was invaluable when my milk came in properly and my boobs swelled to epic proportions and I needed help once again! After that first week, breastfeeding became so much easier and I fed my daughter for just over a year with very few problems. But I do think people need to be made more aware of how steep a learning curve it can be – for both mother and baby – in those early days.

    I’m just embarking on my second stint of breastfeeding and it has been much easier this time around. My son was actually a lot slower off the mark than his sister – he wasn’t all that interested for the first hour or so after birth and it did take a day or so to sort his lazy latch out. But I think this time my expectations were more realistic having done it once already – I knew it would probably take a day or so to really get it right, I knew it would hurt to start with (whatever they say!) but I also knew I could do it which really does help give you confidence. Best of luck for your second stint too and so glad that everything worked out in the end first time around, despite the rocky start.

    • Aww I am really glad to hear things are going better second time around!! That os exactly what I am hoping for, knowledge is power and all that!! xx

  3. I had a natural birth with JJ but I hated my 36 hour stay in hospital after the delivery. I was pushed, prodded and had fingernails dug into my nipples too. They were also reluctant to let me leave but I was desperate not to be there for a second night. In the end I managed to feed him exclusively for 20 weeks but it never really felt just right to me. I was a lot more successful with EJ – I decided to bottle feed after five days without the fear of reprisals. X

    • Glad to hear it wasn’t just me who hated the overnights in hospital. I know that it could happen with a natural birth but its the certainty of it with a C-section that I don’t like! Really glad you had an easier time 2nd time and I think having the knowledge and confidence makes such a difference and I know I will bottle feed if I struggle next time! xx

  4. I loved reading this! My Daughter who is now 11 months was also breech and born via c-section. I was lucky that she latched on straight away but at first I worried so much about breastfeeding and had very little support from the midwifes in hospital I felt like I was just left to it. It was only when a lovely midwife came to visit me at home that she showed me how to do it all properly and gave me some confidence, as its not easy and in the beginning I found it so tiring and nearly gave up a few times! Am still going strong with the feeding now and I think I shall stop when Sophia wants to stop, but I know for now she is quite happy with boobie!!

    I blog over at http://www.londonmummyoftwo.com

    • Thank you, I can totally relate to it being so tiring at the beginning and feeling like maybe giving up as it can be so hard. I am so pleased you got some great support in the end. Sounds like you are still going strong too which is fabulous! xx

  5. Good for you for pushing through the pain and keeping at it! I don’t know if I would have been strong enough if I had a c-section. Women put so much pressure on themselves to nurse, I did it too, we need to be easier on ourselves.

    • Thank you, I can be pretty stubborn at times but even then it was tempting to give up! You’re totally right we do, but it is so hard when you are getting judged and pressured on all sides too! xx

  6. Oh goodness I’m sorry that you had such a terrible first experience of breastfeeding! I had a c-section with both of my two, both breach, one premature, and I must admit that the breastfeeding help I had first time around in China was useless. It wasn’t until I paid a retired British health visitor to visit us at home and watch me trying to feed our tiny 4lb daughter that I started to get some proper advice. Second time around however it was a complete breeze and Little Man latched on comfortably straight away. You’re right that it’s a bit of a lottery what help you get – good for you for persevering! By the way I also found the La Leche League supportive and their advice hugely helpful. (Visiting you from Mama and More’s All About You linky) x

    • Thank you and gad to hear you got the support that you needed, even if you had to pay for it! Also very glad to hear it was easier 2nd time round, I am very much hoping that happens with me! xx

  7. Sounds like you had a really tough start hon, you should feel very proud for overcoming all the challenges and soldering on. Really hope things are nice and easy second time round xx #sharewithme

    • Thank you lovely, I can be pretty stubborn and don;t like giving up on things but i was pleased we managed to enjoy it despite the difficulties! Thank you I really hope so too! xx

  8. It’s crazy how much the pressure, judgement and help that you get can be completely luck of the draw. We were lucky that breastfeeding worked easily (though not pain free at least to start with) and that’s the reason I’m still going strong and we’ve every intention to do the same for Little Bump, but I do remember sitting in an NCT class trying not to feel embarrassed as my husband grilled the breastfeeding ‘expert’, not so much because he disagreed with her but because she was putting out opinion as fact without backing it up and he finds that really annoying. Only after we’d all had our babies did one of the other girls confess that she was incredibly glad he had because it made her feel less guilty when her baby had tongue tie and couldn’t latch – she could see better how much was truth and how much propaganda!

    • That’s exactly how it was with me! She described breastfeeding as ‘convenient’ and I could see where she was coming from but didn’t really feel it was the best word for it, as it isn’t always convenient to get your boob out. I’m not saying bottle feeding is more convenient, I just didn’t think it was the best word, but I got a lecture and so I just let it go! Really glad to hear it helped another girl because I do think sometimes the truth is better, like you say, than propaganda and the idealistic view they try and push forward. Really glad all went pretty well for you, and hope it continues to do so with Little Bump! xx

  9. I can relate with both of mine it didn’t start out good and I worked hard to feed them as long as I did. I couldn’t stand the conflicting advice I got in the hospitals with my two. And like you said it was the luck of the draw if you got a compassionate one or one that didn’t care or help very much. Glad it ended happy for you. I had two very different experiences so just be open and ready for anything and good luck on the next one. So excited to read all about it. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    • I am both sorry to hear you had the same experiences and glad I am not the only one who found it a struggle. We will have to see what happens next time, I am hoping that at least the fact I have some experience of the system will help and I maybe wont expect so much from the midwives! We will see though! Xx

  10. Sadly I had the same experience with my twins. My younger twin lost 10.1% of her birth weight within the 1st few days so my midwife said I needed to so 3 hourly feeds with top ups and if it got anymore we would have to go back to the main hospital unit. She was awful. She upset me beyond belief making me feel totally useless that I couldn’t feed my daughters. However I proved her wrong and breastfed them to 5 months (not exclusively but still did!) so two fingers up to evil midwives. Well done for carrying on & despite the first few days being blighted you did it!
    Visiting from #brilliantblogposts

    • Well done to you too, it is so sad that some midwifes can make you feel so awful, when tiu are trying your best and would do anything for your little ones. I’m glad you and your little ones got there in the end! Xx

  11. Nice post and it sounds like you’ve gone through a lot on the breastfeeding journey! Our first is due in 6 weeks, so we are going through the NCT classes at the moment – like you, it feels that people give conflicting advise when it comes to breastfeeding, particularly the debate as to “it won’t hurt at all if you’re doing it right”. It feels that there is so much pressure to get it right, which surely can’t help when trying to get it right. I can’t help but think that if there was a more relaxed attitude about breast feeding which wasn’t time sensitive (e.g. the magic hour) then everyone would chill out a bit and there’d be less conflicting messages :)

    • I think you’re totally right as it is such a shame that you can be made to feel like a failure if things don’t go right immediately when both mummy and baby are learning to do it for the first time. Best of luck with your little one and hope all goes well for mummy! Xx

  12. Hiya, hopping over from #brilliantblogposts

    Oh poor you! That midwife said possibly THE WORST response you needed at a time when you were feeling most vulnerable and in need of a bit of friendly support. I had a similar lack of support and empathy from the midwives on the postnatal unit after the birth of my first baby. I think, as you said, they are just overstretched and have a million jobs to do, at first glance it’s hard to see when someone is in need of a bit of extra kindness.

    • You’re so right and its easy to forget she may have been having a bad day, but when you are in that vulnerable position its hard to see beyond your own immediate concerns and fears for the life in your hands. Xx

  13. I feel your pain, literally and figuratively. My breast feeding journey was quite painful to start with. I remember suffering from mastitis and sitting in the bath with flannels over my boobs, crying in pain.
    Personally, I was very naive coming and had never thought breast feeding could be anything but plain sailing, after all, it was and in some cases, still is the only form of feeding newborns for many women around the globe so why should we find it anything other than natural? Hah!
    Thankfully my story ended happily with a healthy, hungry, well fed baby. I’m really glad yours did too!

    Popping over from #brilliantblogposts

    • I know what you mean, women have been doing this forever, how can it be hard? And yet it really can be! You poor thing, mastitis is just nasty isn’t it? Not what you need at all! Very glad to hear your story ended well too! Xx

  14. I think it’s wonderful that you have shared your story. I found breast feeding really hard even though we had none of the problems but felt emotionally and physically drained the first time. The second time with Ollie I felt relaxed and adored lying down to feed him, it became my quiet time in the chaos of having two small boys! xx #brilliantblogposts

    • Thank you Lucy and sorry to hear you found it difficult first time, but very glad to hear it went so well second time! Xx

  15. I struggled with breastfeeding from very early on and I am always sad that it overshadowed those precious few weeks/days of motherhood. People often talk about how hard/painful labour is but I’d never expected breast feeding to be so difficult. I’m glad your story had a happy ending and I hope you have a wonderful breastfeeding experience with your next baby. #babybabbe & #brilliantblogposts

    xx

    • Ah you poor thing, I am totally with you, it is so sad. Thank you, fingers crossed it is not quite so hard next time! xx

  16. I struggled with breastfeeding from very early on and I am always sad that it overshadowed those precious few weeks/days of motherhood. People often talk about how hard/painful labour is but I’d never expected breast feeding to be so difficult. I’m glad your story had a happy ending and I hope you have a wonderful breastfeeding experience with your next baby. #babybabble & #brilliantblogposts

    xx

  17. The dreaded latch!!!! My nipples are really small too and I agree with you about the stretching pain. Latching would actually make me cry out in pain! They got used to it after a couple of months. Thanks for sharing and I hope feeding baby 2 goes well for you xx

    • Indeed! Ah well I am glad it’s not just me, though not glad you had the same pain! Thankfully they do get used to it but it certainly isn’t easy to start with is it? Thank you, fingers crossed! xx

  18. Oh my goodness I can’t believe the attitude of the midwife in the hospital! How awful :( I’m glad things picked up for you though. I have been so lucky to have been able to feed all of mine so far and had lots of great advice and support too. Hope things work better this time for you x x

    • Thank you, it knocked me pretty hard at the time to be honest. I know they are busy and maybe she was having a bad day but it was possibly the least helpful thing she could have said to me! Thank you, I am so glad you have had a better time, gives me hope for this time :) xx

    • Oh wow really? Sorry to hear you had the same struggles, thank goodness for shields otherwise I think we would have been bottle feeding! xx

  19. Oh it is so hard those early days. I had an emergency c-section, and remember the difficulty of feeding in the first 24 hours, and the feeling of being judged for months afterwards about not having had a natural birth. Judgement is one of the worst things about motherhood, and totally unnecessary; as in life, we all go through our own journey, and the reasons for where we are are so individual and unique, and have their own context, that how dare anyone judge you? I am glad you found your way, but in those early days especially we need a lot more support than we are given. I wish you luck (and love) for the early days this time around. Whatever you decide or need to do is YOUR decision and totally ALL ABOUT YOU and YOUR baby! Thanks for linking to All About You xx

    • You are totally right about the judgement, and I honestly just can’t understand why people can’t be more supportive of new mums rather than judging them for things outside of their control, or when they are just trying to do their best. Thank you very much lovely and fingers crossed it isn’t quite so hard second time around! xx

  20. I’m sorry you had a bad experience – this is someting i worry about. I’ve just had a class with my NCT BF councillor and I learnt so much – mainly that the latch technique was nothing like I thought. I think having a crap nasty midwife is one of my biggest concerns and it is like you said, the luck of the drawer.

    xXx

    #babybabble

    • Thank you and I really wish you all the luck because it really is different for everyone and I hope that it goes much more smoothly for you. I guess all I can say is go easy on yourself and don’t be surprised if it does hurt! Best of luck, I will keeping an eye out to see how you get on! xx

  21. This is quite similar to my experience as well. Although individually, all the hospital staff were very helpful during the 5 days I spent in hospital, they all had different advice and I had no idea what was the best way or whether I was doing it right. I do have flat/inverted nipples and again, like you, everyone kept telling me that shouldn’t be a problem but it totally was. It was much harder for my baby to find exactly where to latch on. I tried nipple shields but they kept slipping off. In the end, it took 3 months before breastfeeding was comfortable, and it all happened again with my daughter – another reason I am convinced the flat nipples played a part, as that was the factor that was definitely the same with both of them. I loved breastfeeding once I was past the initial painful stage, but I would hate to have to go through that hell again. It is certainly a large factor in me not wanting to have a third baby…

    Also, like you, I felt seriously cheated by the pre-birth propaganda about breastfeeding, and especially the message that “if it hurts you’re doing it wrong” really undermined my confidence and made me feel like a failure when I was having such trouble with my son. I really wanted to add my voice to the other women trying to give a more well-rounded and realistic view of breastfeeding, as I believe that being properly prepared, rather than putting you off, actually gives you a better chance of success in the long run. So I wrote this: http://secretsofthesandpit.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/the-truth-about-breastfeeding/

    I kept track of how things were going as well to try and keep my spirits up when it all happened again with my second: http://secretsofthesandpit.wordpress.com/tag/breastfeeding/

    I really hope that your second experience is better thn the first, but if it isn’t, at least you know that it *can* work and you have more things to try. And sometimes a bit of formula (which I avoided at all costs with my first) can restore you to sanity in the middle of the night or at least give your poor nipples a break. How long till it all kicks off? I’ll be reading to see how it goes! xx (PS sorry about the essay…)

    • Don’t apologise at all, thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I am really sorry to hear how you struggled too, and I totally agree that being properly prepared would give you a better shot as at least you’d know what to expect. So much better than being told things that turn out to be incorrect and totally undermine your confidence. Thanks for the links I will definitely pop over for a read! Thank you, I hope so too, baby is due end 4th November so we shall see! xx

  22. Oh gosh you poor thing. I had a tear for you myself there! I bottle feed so will never know that pain (she says, assuming there’ll be no more babies!). Your post will make for great reading for other new or expectant mums.
    Thanks for linking to #babybabble

    • Thank you, it definitely wasn’t an easy time. I’m glad we got there in the end though we will definitely have bottle feeding in reserve if the struggle gets too much 2nd time around!

  23. What a terrible start you had, if it’s any consolation I had the same experience and I couldn’t continue, something which makes me terribly sad to this day.
    Thanks so much for linking up to my blog hop #WhereRainbowsEnd

    Fiona @ http://www.dollydowsie.com

    • Aww I am really sorry to hear that, especially as it make you so sad. It’s nothing to be ashamed of but I can totally understand it making you sad if it was what you wanted to do. I am sure your little man will be none the worse off for it though! xx

  24. I had real difficulty feeding both of my boys and gave up both times which still makes me sad now as I had planned to feed until they self weaned. I honestly think that if I had some support in the hospital and in the days afterwards then I would have been able to feed successfully. It’s something that really needs to be looked into.

    • It really does need to be looked into and it is so sad to see it is something that has affected so many mums. They just go about it in totally the wrong way, but it is a huge problem to try and solve xx

  25. You’re so brave to share this story so openly. Well done for keeping trying and finding a way to feed successfully. It’s a steep learning curve. I can say, from experience, that feeding your second child will be a lot easier. You have learned so much and gained so much confidence from this experience. #sundaybest

    • Thank you, time is a great healer and it is not as painful to think about as it once was, and I think it is important to talk about, to give new mums a more realistic idea that it can be difficult, and also to help anyone struggling to know that they aren’t alone. Thank you, and I really am hoping that it is true, at least i know what to expect this time, and know I can do it! xx

  26. Well done for persevering, with my first I felt there was little help, we limped along breastfeeding for few days until she had to go back into hospital with jaundice, I was told she was getting dehydrated under the lights and had lot too much weight so needed formula top ups, as a first time mum i listened. She was allowed 5 minutes on each breast then 2 oz formula which a staff member gave her despite my protests she couldn’t drink all that, she’d then throw it all back up projectile as it was far too much and the whole thing was repeated 2 hours later. By the time we came home 3 days later, breastfeeding had gone downhill, she wouldn’t latch and my milk was low (not surprising after what we’d been through) I limped along a few more days and after asking for help and not getting any then switched to expressing and topping it up with formula as there wasn’t enough. I expressed for 3 months and had another months worth in the freezer for her. It could have been so different if there had been the right support.

    With my second daughter she too had jaundice and we went back in at a few days old, this time I said no to formula and fed her leaning over the photolights so she wasn’t out of them too long (my poor back!) and pumped too so there was extra and what a difference, I continued to breastfeed problem free for 6 months and it was so lovely and less stressful than pumping constantly as I had with my first. What a difference.

    I hope feeding comes easier this time for you, I think experience really helps.

    • Wow and goodness you did have a time of it! It can be so so difficult to stand up for yourself as a new mum, and you would think they would want to support you with the breastfeeding rather than go straight to formula if there is a problem. Well done you for continuing with the pumping first time round as pumping is such hard work, we did a pump a day so daddy could do one feed a day, but my it was exhausting so well done you for managing that! I am glad you were able to put your foot down second time round as clearly you knew what worked best and it all worked out so much better for you. Thank you, I hope so too and am hoping I am a lot more confident this time round than I felt last time! xx

  27. God I felt like I was reading my own experience there. It was so hard with my first that I did give up after a week. But, with this experience, it made me more determind to feed my second and I did, and I did it for 2 years. It’s just a real shame that midwives etc don’t all sing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to breastfeeding. It really does put new mums off or makes them feel terrible at a time where they should be enjoying their new baby.

    • Ah well done you for being determined and managing it second time round. You’re totally right though, it’s such a shame there isn’t more consistent support in those difficult first days and weeks! xx

  28. what a great post and well done on writing it all down, as it must have stirred up all sorts of emotions.
    i found breast feeding really hard and i kind of lied about B latching on so i could be allowed to leave hospital by 3pm the afternoon after he was born (which was 12 hours earlier)!! Of course once home, I could not get him to latch on and i watched the DVD i was sent but that didnt help. luckily for me OH’s mum was amazing and helped me get B to latch on and she came over a few times for the first few days to help me and then it was ok. BUT i dont think any anti natal groups actually help prepare you because every experience is so different,
    It was much easier with J (2nd time) – he latched on immediately and it was fine straight from birth xx

    • Thank you, certainly not easy to write, but worth sharing! Well I am really glad you got help from your mother in law, that’s fantastic, and I am really glad you managed so much easier second time, I am really hoping that it is the case. You’re thought I don’t think anyone really prepares you for how hard it can be, they just seem to give you unrealistic expectations, which don’t help at all! xx

  29. I relate to this so much. I went into surgery for two hours after Little Miss H was born and she was very ill because her heart rate dropped rapidly during birth. As a result, neither of us were able to breast feed. She also had to be fed every two hours to keep her blood sugar levels up. In consultation with the midwives and pediatricians we decided to give Little Miss formula.

    Eventually I began to express. I still tried to breast feed for three weeks but in the end I gave up because I was driving myself mad. I was expressing, trying to breast feed and bottle feeding constantly. I was exhausted. Little Miss continued to receive EBM (apart from the odd formula top up) until she was three months old. Then she would receive one bottle of EBM a day until she was 6 months old.

    I never thought it would be so hard and it pains me that I couldn’t breast feed her as I wanted. You are completely right. There should be consistent advice and understanding from the staff. First time mums are struggling with so much. Especially after a traumatic birth. It would be so lovely if they could receive empathy and kindness from those around them at that time. Good luck with baby no. 2. Hugs Mrs H xxxx

    • Ah gosh you poor thing, you really went through it! Well done for persisting but I don’t blame you for stopping. I expressed once a day so daddy could do a feed but honestly it was exhausting and we soon gave that up as it wasn’t worth it. It is so difficult and it really does sound from all of these stories like something really needs to change! xx

  30. We struggled with breastfeeding too and when we got home I was in tears for a few weeks trying to feed Sienna so I did give up after 2 weeks but at least we tried! Glad it worked for you in the end! #sundaybest

    • Ah bless you well well done for trying and I don;t blame you for stopping, it can be so hard and sometimes you just have to give yourself a break, there’s no point putting yourself through it if it makes you that miserable! xx

  31. Thanks for linking up, I’d actually directed a breastfeeding info film for Best Beginnings long before having a baby and my mother breastfed me for 9 months so I knew all about the benefits, it did come easy to me but of course more support would have been great-I felt rather bullied into breastfeeding by all so I felt for those who it didn’t happen quite so easily for and I strongly believe in a woman choosing what is right for them, not everyone can or wants to breastfeed. Information and support for positions to help baby latch on are vital as is an open attitude as you have too because happy mother=happy baby, however it is fed. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

    • You;re so right Vicki, they need to support mums but also have a more relaxed attitude as the pressure just doesn’t help at all! xx

  32. Thanks so much for sharing this story with the Breastfeeding Diaries. I think ‘real’ stories about the early challenges of breastfeeding are so important and DO support mothers. Some of the advice you’ve received is just appalling, never mind the attitudes you faced. Well done for sticking with it!

    • Thank you and thank you for hosting. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to write it down really, to share that it isn’t always easy and that any new mums going through that will know that they aren’t alone! xx

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