Before I had my baby I felt sure I would not feel comfortable breastfeeding and never felt as though it was an option. When I was pregnant there was a lot of information about the benefits of breastfeeding your baby when first born. I made the decision to try and breastfeed in the hospital and see how it went.
I did not buy any bottles or formula so the temptation to go straight to formula wasn’t there but also felt relaxed enough that if for any reason breastfeeding did not work for us then I would buy formula.
I then received a lot of help in the hospital from the hospital staff and also the health visitors in the days after I returned home who helped me to latch and gave me information sheets.
The first few days/weeks were extremely difficult as I did not get the latch right and had sore and bleeding nipples. I was also very shy about breastfeeding so would do it in private. None of my family or friends had or were breastfeeding so I had a lot of people telling me to go to formula. It was on the 10 day checkup where I had my baby weighed and found out she had put on an additional 5oz on top of her birth weight that helped me through the initial difficulties. The satisfaction I felt from knowing I had helped her grow all on my own was overwhelming and gave me the encouragement I needed to work past the pain and tiredness.
I then started going to the breastfeeding support group at my local children’s center where I had more assistance with latching. Talking with other people who were going through the same thing as me and also being encouraged to openly breastfeed in the group helped me tremendously and made me feel like breastfeeding was the natural activity that it is. It also made me feel braver to help my family and friends understand why I was breastfeeding and the challenges I was having.
My baby is now 10 months old and I plan to breastfeed her until she is 1 years old. I found my breastfeeding journey has been up and down as there are times when you wonder if it would just be easier to go onto formula but the satisfaction that I have felt seeing my baby grow and the bond that we have has outweighed the difficult times. The main thought that always got me through the difficult times was that I would be breastfeeding for such a small percentage of my child’s life but would hopefully give them the best start that I could.
My latest challenge is returning to work and continuing to express milk but I know if I use all of the support networks that are around I will get through it.