When Thomas was 13 days old, I decided that breastfeeding was no longer suitable for us. This was a hard decision to make and one that I agonised over for few days and felt disappointed about for a few days after that.
When Thomas came into this world, he had swallowed lots of fluid inside me and suffered really badly with mucus. He hardly slept or breastfed for the first few days. I thought breastfeeding was easy to begin with and wondered why so many people had problems with it. Yes, I was a little sore and found it uncomfortable but I knew it was my body getting used to the new thing it was doing.
When my milk came in and Thomas finally cleared the mucus, things began to change. He became constantly hungry all the time. He would take an hour and a half to feed with a couple of breaks during the feed, then an hour and a half later he would want feeding again. I had no energy and just felt tired and upset all the time. I did not feel myself at all.
I spoke to the midwives and my friends on Twitter who ensured me that things would get better so I kept going for a few more days.On day 11, we had the first visit from the health visitor. She made me feel better as she said any breastfeeding was better than none and I had done well to last as long as I had.
I lasted one more night then on the afternoon of day 12, I cracked and asked my neighbour with a 10 week old for some formula. I gave Thomas one bottle and he then slept for 4 hours straight. This was the most he had ever slept in one go. We did not know what to do with ourselves.
Still unsure of what to do and feeling very guilty for giving Thomas formula, I called my friend and breastfeeding buddy, Mandy. She came round and checked that my breastfeeding technique was right and it was. We discovered that Thomas was using me for comfort as a dummy. We discussed the situation for a while and as Mandy said, if breastfeeding was easy then we not need buddies for it.
I decided to give Thomas more formula in the overnight feeds so we could get some sleep. I do not like making major decisions when I am very tired. The next morning, I expressed some milk off. It took me nearly an hour to get 2 1/2 ounces and I felt like Daisy the cow while I was doing it. I thought about doing combination feeding but the expressing seemed to take ages and required lots of practice to get it right. It was then I told Stuart that I wanted to formula feed Thomas. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off me. I went to my local NCT coffee morning and spoke to the fellow Mom’s there. Most of them had a similar story to tell. I felt a millions times better.
Thomas proved that I had made the right decision later that afternoon when I gave him my last feed of the expressed breastmilk. After the 2 1/2 ounces he was still not full so I got another bottle of formula, expecting him to take an ounce or so. He drank another 2 1/2 ounces of formula. My breastmilk had hardly touched the sides.
The majority of the people I have met have been supportive of my decision, however a very small few have given negative comments. This experience has not put me off breastfeeding and I fully intend to try again when I have another child. All I know is that since I have stopped breastfeeding, I have been a happier mummy and Thomas has been a happy settled baby.
I would like to thank Stuart, Mandy, my NCT friends and all the rest of my family and friends for their support during my time breastfeeding and my decision to stop. It is greatly appreciated 🙂
Tips for Breastfeeding
Although I only breastfed for a short time I do have some tips that may help you during the early days of breastfeeding your little one.
- Use Lansinoh HPA Lanolin nipple cream from the start. Your hospital breastfeeding support worker will probably say you do not need it but I would of stopped after two days without this.
- Breastfeeding only hurts if you are doing it wrong. It is uncomfortable but that is because your body is getting used to it. Keep at it and will stop being uncomfortable. I had just got to this stage when I decided to stop.
- Get yourself a comfortable supportive bra like Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra. I highly recommend it.
- Ensure you have the full support of your partner before you start. I would not have got through the first two weeks without Stuart.
- Practice breastfeeding in public by going into supportive environments to begin with, such as your local NCT groups.
- Find out who your local ‘Breastfeeding Buddy’ is. They are usually in your local Children’s Centre.
- If you decide to stop breastfeeding and want to get rid of your milk supply quickly, drink a couple of pints of water with a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in it. It is not pleasant but it works.
Thank you for reading this post. I hope that by sharing my experience I help others in the long run. What was your breastfeeding experience like? Did you experience anything similar? Do you have any more tips you can add to my list?