Breastfeeding: A Tale of 2 Babies

Breastfeeding: A Tale of 2 Babies

Nobody Said It Was Easy, Nobody Said It Would Be So Hard

Before I got pregnant with Pie I was always adamant that breastfeeding wasn’t for me. But then I trained to be a neonatal nurse and learnt all the benefits of breastfeeding. So when I did fall pregnant it just seemed the most natural thing to do. Pie’s birth was not cool, nothing went as I had hoped and we ended up in an emergency c-section after 24 hours of labour. Still breastfeeding was all I had prepared for so despite being tired I had to try. I have to be honest those first couple of days went by in a blur. I was exhausted and I just latched Pie on without even thinking whether it was ok for me. At that stage pretty much everything hurt I certainly didn’t notice any extra discomfort!

When we got home my milk came in at a terrific rate, my breasts were huge and sore. Pie couldn’t latch on so I had to express some milk off before every feed which meant sterilising a breast pump and finding some bottles. The whole feeding thing became a huge fuss every time he needed to feed and with a newborn that is pretty often. Still I perserved, and felt total pride when I took him to be weighed by the midwife at 14 days old and she told me I must have supercharged breast milk because he was growing so well. What I didn’t tell her was that I didn’t like breastfeeding. I didn’t say my nipples hurt and I didn’t say I thought my milk supply was slowing down. I just nodded and smiled and pretended everything was great, but it wasn’t.

You would think that as a neonatal nurse I would have found breastfeeding easy. I mean lets face it teaching mums and supporting them to breastfeed is a huge part of my job. Why then couldn’t I advise myself? Why couldn’t I tweak my own positioning and attachment to improve Pies’ latch and stop my nipples from being shredded? Then there was the overwhelming guilt that at that moment in time I hated breastfeeding my baby. I used to dread him waking up. No mother should feel like that about there new baby surely? I must be a bad mother I thought, feelings of doubt crept in, had I made a terrible mistake having this child?

The turning point came one night when I was sat up in bed, willing myself to attach this screaming baby to my cracked sore nipples, with tears streaming down my face. My husband sat up and said enough is enough. He went out the next morning and came back with some formula and bottles and for the first time since Pie was born I sat down and fed him without feeling anxious or stressed.

I know that switching to formula for Pie was the right decision for me, but that didn’t stop me feeling guilty that I had in some way let him down. That I hadn’t given him the best possible start. Even now I still sometimes wish that it had been different, I wish I had asked for help and been honest with the people that were available to support me, but I didn’t. The most important thing for Pie was that once I stopped feeding him he got his mother not the stressed out, unhappy person I had been. We really bonded together as mother and son. It made me realise that the most important thing is not what or how you feed your baby but that you are happy in the choice you have made.

When we fell pregnant with Pudding, I told my husband that I wanted to try breastfeeding again. He was super supportive despite all the issues we had previously had. When Pudding was born by elective section, I was more prepared. She went straight into skin to skin on the operating table and straight to the breast when we got into recovery. I wasn’t as tired as last time and I knew what to expect this time.

My milk came in again at 3 days but I knew it was just temporary this time. So I although I had to express a bit to get Pudding to latch I didn’t bother to sterilise everything I just expressed it and tossed the milk away. One less thing to worry about. When the engorgement phase ended I knew that just because my breasts didn’t feel mega full and heavy that there was still enough milk in there to satisfy her. I didn’t stress about my milk supply. If the latch didn’t feel right, I took her off and put her back on and I did this as many times as I needed to until we both got it right.

Yes it was still hard some days and yes I had a few days of sore nipples, especially if she cluster fed all night and I couldn’t wake up enough to keep faffing with her attachment, but overall we were succeeding. At 3 months I made the decision to stop feeding Pudding because with Pie around it was harder to be the only one that could feed her. But this time when I stopped feeding, I didn’t feel guilty. I was proud of myself!

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

29 thoughts on “Breastfeeding: A Tale of 2 Babies”

    • I agree its what ever suits mum and baby, no one should feel guilty about there choices – Thanks for commenting xx

  • Thanks for sharing such an honest post. I know so many people who have had struggles with breastfeeding, I have been so lucky. I’m glad you found what worked for you in the end!! Its so important that the the mother is happy and well. #fortheloveofBLOG

    • It does seem so common for people to struggle and I wish I had this wonderful platform to air all my concerns the first time round – like you say what ever works for mum and baby and makes every one happy that’s the only thing that matters. Thanks for commenting xx

  • Breastfeeding isn’t easy, for sure – you should definitely be proud of your three months! I’ve exclusively breastfed the Popple, but that’s just what worked for us, and it was a struggle at first. Whether you choose to formula feed, breastfeed or do a combination of both, all that matters is that the baby is well fed and mum is happy! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Thank you – I feel so different about it this time. I think I would have carried on if my son had been ok with it – but like you say it has to be what is best for everyone. Thanks for commenting xx

  • Ahh you should be proud of yourself for both feeding experiences in my opinion. Can completely relate to the beginning of your first experience, it’s such an unexpected minefield of emotions and other pain. I breastfed for a while but never completely happily and rarely easily so am now a volunteer peer supporter for breastfeeding in my hospital…now I’ve had that training I’m really worried if I can’t do it with this baby, I mean (like you said) if I’ve been taught and teach others then surely I should be able to do it!? I think though I also know that’s not how it works and also I should have lots of support if I need outside help. Hmm.
    Anyway thank you for sharing an interesting breastfeeding read. Do be proud of both though, you did what you could and it sounds like you also did what was best for your family which is the most important thing. Your husband sounds like a good man #fortheloveofBLOG

    • I think the key is not to put too much pressure on yourself – just because you can teach someone else its totally different when you are tired and so emotionally involved. Make sure you get some help from one of your colleague because they will see things that you don’t and good luck. My husband is a very good egg – he has to be, he puts up with me! Thanks for your lovely comment xx

  • I didn’t have the most successful time breastfeeding and switched to formula quite quickly but I’m glad I tried and I will do it again but this time if I need help I will ask! 🙂 #kcacols

    • Totally – get all the help you can get from everyone who offers it, thats what they are there for. If it works fantastic if it doesn’t well thats just fine too 🙂 Good luck with everything and thank you for commenting xx

  • Gosh I can relate to this. Before I had my baby I didn’t think I wanted to breastfeed but then I went to some classes and I decided I would try it. We got on pretty well for a bit then we had a few challenges and so we switched to formula. I was eaten up with complete guilt. Completely over it now as she ‘s happy and healthy and I did my best. #KCACOLS

    • Glad you have sorted it out in your own head – really the only thing that matters is that baby gets fed and both you and the little one are happy and healthy 🙂 Thanks for commenting x

  • Well said! It’s better to have and be a much happier and less stressed Mama! Breastfeeding or bottle feeding, as long as baby is healthy and happy, that’s all the matters.

    • Exactly – why would you want to make yourself all stressed out when you could be enjoying that new bundle of joy. I think I am going to start a new slogan: Bottle or Breast? Mummy knows best! Thanks for commenting xx

  • Breastfeeding was the hardest thing ever. I just couldn’t keep up or get the baby to latch so I totally understand. Any milk you gave your littles is great, and switching to formula is not giving up 🙂

    • I think because its promoted as natural everyone thinks it will be easy – I certainly did until I tried to do it myself! Thanks for commenting x

  • I think you’ve nailed the key to all parenting there – to be happy with the choices you make, whatever they are. I also put so much pressure on myself to breastfeed, and then stressed myself out about whether he was getting enough. So much wasted energy worrying! I’m hoping I can be more laid back if we have another – whichever feeding method we end up doing! #KCACOLS

    • Agreed to much energy wasted on worrying, especially when we really only have to look at our babies and we can see they are thriving. Everything is def more relaxed second time. Thanks for commenting x

  • When I was pregnant with my eldest I just assumed I would breastfeed and never imagined I would struggle. He didn’t latch on and even though I had help and advice it just didn’t work for me so I expressed my milk for 8 wks and fed him that way instead.

    I was hopeful to breastfeed with my second but he again didn’t latch and was tongue tied so I did the same and expressed my milk before switching to formula. At the end of the day as long as they are fed and you are not stressing that’s all that matters.

    Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again on Sunday X

  • When I was pregnant with my eldest it didn’t even occur to me that breastfeeding would be a struggle. I naively thought they would just latch on and voila! Breasfeeding done.

    I found it so tough and he just wouldn’t latch on, my breasts were so engorged and even with help I really struggled and he was losing weight! In the end I expressed and switched to formula and found both baby and I were so much happier.

    I had the same problems when I had my youngest and he added tongue tie to the mix too!

    At the end of the day as long as we feed them it doesn’t really matter which you choose. My boys are now 3 and 6 and are healthy and happy.

    Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again on sunday x

    • I think because breastfeeding is promoted as natural we all kind of go in for it expecting it just work and be easy, we should be givne more accurate information antenatally. Not to try and put us off but so we know what to expect! Totally agree that as long as the kids are fed and happy it really doesn’t matter whether its breast or bottle, but having a stressed Mummy isn’t good for anyone. Thanks for commenting and hosting x

  • I hope for my second one I can be so much more relaxed about feeding like you are, I think for our first we are so paranoid and aware trying to do the best for our babies that it stresses us out more. You did so well to feed Pie, and you shouldn’t have felt guilty about switching to formula, breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, and a happy mummy equals a happy baby. I too found breastfeeding really hard with my little one who was born by C-section after a 60 hour labour, she would feed constantly all day at first, I came really close to giving up, and I think Netflix and chocolate got me through. It sounds like you have taken the right approach for Pudding, well done you. Thanks so much for joining our party at #fortheloveofBLOG, we hope you can join us next week. Claire x

    • Everything is more relaxed with the second one – they are totally different but you don’t have the time to tie yourself in knots about every little thing because you are too busy chasing the other one around. Its easier and so much less scary! Thanks for hosting x

  • This totally resonates with me. When I had Emma, by elective c-section, my milk didn’t come in and I was increasingly unhappy and super stressed every time she needed to be fed. The HV said her latch was good but she sucked so hard that it really hurt me every time and I would be wincing. I was tired and irritable & I felt so guilty that she would be feeling that too. For us, switching to formula was the right thing to do and it made me much happier knowing that she is being fed and thriving. I’d love to try breastfeeding again if we have a second…great post, new mums need to know that breastfeeding is wonderful but hard work and it’s okay if it doesn’t work out xx

    • Thanks for your lovely comment – I really wish that HV/Midwives were more forthcoming about how hard it can be, because most new mums feel totally unprepared when things aren’t as easy as perhaps they have been made out to be. Glad you made the switch and have enjoyed feeding your little one, personally I quite like giving a bottle, it still makes me feel close to my baby. Thanks for commenting xx

  • Your experience sounds pretty similar to mine. I really struggled with breastfeeding my son, and after pumping for 2 weeks we switched to formula which was definitely the right decision for us. With my daughter though, I think I was more prepared for the reality of breastfeeding and ended up feeding her for about 13 months! I wrote a post a while ago about things I wish I’d known about breastfeeding, and one of the things I wrote about was that, yes, breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, but that really doesn’t mean it’ll be easy! x #KCACOLS

    • Wow 13 months that’s amazing – good on you! I certainly think that knowing what to expect second time round makes it easier and more likely to succeed. Thank you very much for your comment xx

  • Beautifully written. It’s funny how much we stress with the first about everything. I had mastitis 3 times with my first but was determined to get to 6 months. By my third child I was done after a couple months because I had two other babies running around and it was just craziness trying to feed or pump. #KCACOLS

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