I always knew I wanted to breast feed my baby, to me it seemed the most natural method of feeding and the most beneficial to it's well being. I tried to feed Burton for the first time about one hour after he was born, and after some help from the midwife to get him to latch on he started feeding.
I was very keen to be discharged from hospital but the staff would not let me leave until successful breast-feeding had been established. Burton had been born at 3.17am and by 3pm the following day we were allowed to go home but if truth be told I hadn't really got him to latch on very well, and kind of made out I had so I could go home! This meant that the first feed I tried at home was awful. I just could not get him to latch on: he was crying and I was stressing and I actually sent Jon out to buy formula in case I wasn't able to feed Burton!
Luckily for me, Jon's Mum turned up and she helped me position Burton correctly and help latch him onto me and he took a feed. I have to be honest, breast-feeding was hard work and if it hadn't been for Jon's mum I really don't think I could have done it and I wonder, looking back, had I not had her support would I have been able to continue breast feeding Burton. Knowing how much I struggled during those first few days, I can see why many new mums find it hard and give up and end up resorting to bottle feeding. I was very lucky to have support and I know that not every new mum does. Breast feeding is bloody hard to accomplish and hard, tiring work to keep going but it is also so worthwhile once established.
I think it probably took me about a week to perfect it and bless her but Jon's mum came over a lot during that first week to ensure I was doing it right.
I just don't think that as mums-to-be we are always given enough information about breast feeding. I did attend an ante natal class on breast feeding but I wasn't told anything I remember using once I had given birth. I recall the fact that the lady who took the class said to make sure we always had a drink and a little snack close by for energy, but there was no mention of growth spurts and feeding on demand!
Infact even while I was in hospital waiting to go home the morning of Burton's birth, I was told about making sure that I fed him every 4 hours even during the night which I did. However, during Burton's second week I had no idea why he kept screaming a couple of hours after his last feed. I mean I had fed him, changed his nappy, winded him and he had slept so why was he screaming? I look back on this even now and it makes me feel bad. Again, it was Jon's Mum who asked me a couple of days later if I had tried offering him more milk as maybe he was hungry! I felt awful, my baby had been screaming because he was hungry and I just assumed, wrongly, that he had colic or something! It was then I discovered what feeding on demand was and Burton happily ate every two hours for quite some time after that!
Once he and I established our feeding routine he put on weight fast and I enjoyed our feeding time together. I was fortunate to not suffer from mastitis so I found the experience very positive and worthwhile, as well as very tiring at the same time.
I wanted to exclusively breast feed Burton until he was 6 month old, however, he had other ideas! When he was just over 5 months old he reverted back to two hourly feeds and I just could not produce enough milk to meet his demands and so I began wean him. I continued breast feeding him twice a day until he weaned himself off me when he was 9 months old. I felt a little sad during our last feed together but I felt I had done a good job and it was better that he decided enough was enough. The funny thing is he would never drink any other milk afterwards as he went straight to water and even now he only drinks milk in cereal!
Breast feeding Jenson has been so much easier than it had been with Burton. Maybe this is because I know what I am doing this time or maybe he was able to latch on better? Either way it was a relief as I did wonder whether I would be able to do it again.
He latched on straight away and he took 3 feeds before we got home after he was born ( he was born at 21.19pm and we were discharged 4 hours later!). Second time around is easier, I know what feeding on demand is this time! He is gaining weight fast and I doubt I will be able to prevent weaning at 5 months with him either, which is fine of course.
I hope I can continue breast feeding Jenson for as long as I did his brother and it would be nice too if he also weans himself off me. Making it his decision to move on and not mine.
*please note that this is in no way an anti bottle feeding post. It is simply my own experiences of how I have fed my babies*