Marian is a mother of four. She was not successful in breastfeeding her first three children so with the fourth child she was determined to give it her best. She says the first 10 days can make or break a mother – and she speaks from experience. Although she did not feed exclusively for 6 months it seemed that knowing her baby didn’t need anything other than breastmilk meant she was under less pressure to get her baby eating. Marian writes about her son, Paris, now 15 months and still breastfeeding.
“I desperately wanted to breastfeed all of my children but failed miserably with the first three. The furthest I got was 10 days. Fourth time around I was introduced by my midwife to a new breastfeeding group in my area, Breast Friends Ribbleton in Preston, Lancs, set up by local ladies and local midwives under Sure Start. Four ladies had just completed a 6-week course provided by BfN. With the help and encouragement of this group as well as my midwives I was successful in breastfeeding my fourth son Paris with no problems at all.
I was so inspired that I asked to do the 6-week course when Paris was 3 months old. I now help run the group. We run a breastfeeding drop-in on Monday afternoons. Three of us attend antenatal clinics and health visitor clinics in our area. We are about to qualify as probationary BfN Supporters and some of us will help answer calls to the BfN Supporterline. We aim to co-ordinate with the other 4 Sure Starts developing in Preston.
My son Paris is now 15 months old and still enjoying the benefits of breastfeeding. This may not sound very special but I can tell you that we are ordinary mothers from different backgrounds mainly council estates, who are amazed as well as proud at what we have achieved. We have had amazing feedback from mothers who have attended our group who say they would have given up by now without support if it wasn’t for our group. I know I would not be breastfeeding Paris now if it wasn’t for the support of this group and the BfN.
We didn’t do exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months. Paris was always interested in food. When my health visitor was explaining about the iron content of my breastmilk depleting between 4 and 6 months, she did make it sound like it could be depleted then. I doubted myself but I can’t say it made a difference because I had already sneaked him a bit of rice that morning anyway. His weaning was slow and he liked to eat from my plate. He loved whole food like a piece of Bar-B-Q fillet steak or a whole apple partly peeled. I have to say though I was never worried if he didn’t eat much because I knew that my milk was enough until he was 6 months.”