I cannot believe I am sharing my breastfeeding journey after a full year of being at it. I never imagined I could have gotten this far, as like most mothers, at the beginning it’s not easy!
As a Midwife I felt that I should practice what I preach and ‘give it a go’ but I promised myself that if it was making me miserable from being too difficult, I would call it a day. Thankfully Ellie took to it like a duck to water and I haven’t looked back since she first latched right after she was born on the 19th of December last.
Breastfeeding is something that is 100% a personal choice, and I would never ever judge a mother for choosing not to do it. Everybody has their own reasons ‘for’ or ‘against’ doing it, and I think that we as woman and mothers should respect one another’s decisions. There is nothing I hate more than seeing women bashing one another online for opting to do it or not. So now that I’ve made that clear, I hope that this blog post doesn’t attract the trolls that I have encountered online when I post something on my Instagram feed to do with breastfeeding (I’ve been told that I ‘shove it on people’s faces’ I ‘make other mothers feel guilty’ and I have also lost loads of followers when I post something related to breastfeeding. In this day and age it baffles me!
So …..onto my update a year in. I am very proud of myself to say that I exclusively breastfed Ellie up until September, when I had to give in and start combine feeding. It was getting to the stage that I couldn’t pump on my breaks in work as it meant I was either leaving myself starving from shoving a quick bite into me, or spending the full break trying to relax to pump (which is never easy to do when you’re very aware of the workload you have waiting when you get back) . So in the end I was choosing to either eat or pump (and when you’re doing 13 hour shift…. food was starting win for me…. you can’t pour from an empty cup!)
I admit I bawled crying when I went to Dunnes to buy formula . I always just loved the idea that I was the one nourishing her. However, I quickly got over it when I realised Ellie didn’t seem one bit bothered with getting a combination of my milk and formula.
Currently, the routine is that Ellie gets formula when I am in work, and other than that she gets breastfed. I am so delighted that I have still maintained a supply to do this, and I love that she still has me for comfort during times like teething etc. The bond that it has given us is just amazing. I love her little face when she latches off and smiles at me as if to say ‘thanks Mammy!’ . I love that she still holds onto my necklace while she feeds, I love her little noises ….and I also adore watching her relax into a deep sleep while I nurse.
Surprisingly , Ben has been my biggest encouragement for continuing to feed beyond the year mark. I always felt somewhat guilty that I was ‘hogging’ her with breastfeeding , but particularly this past week while Ellie has been unwell, he has continued to praise breastfeeding for being such a great comfort to her while she has been distressed.
My original goal was 6 months…. so to get to a year has been the cherry on top. I tear up at the thoughts of eventually giving it up, but for now I will continue to feed her. I am planning to call it a day when she hits the 18 month mark (if we are even lucky to get that far) as I feel she will have gotten all of the benefits from it by then tenfold!
If you are hesitant about breastfeeding, I can only speak from personal experience and say it has been incredible. Of course, during the initial few weeks I doubted myself, and my abilities to feed her, but I kept the faith and trusted in my body. It takes determination to keep going, especially when you’re sleep deprived beyond measure and your skin crawling when you hear your baby scream for the 50 millionth time for food during the night! I get it! But trust me, it’s worth it.
If you have any questions about it, please feel free to DM me on Instagram or Facebook….. (and if you’re one of those people who likes to mail me to tell me I’m a breastfeeding hippy…. please just unfollow! ?)