My Breastfeeding Experience

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Get yourself a comfortable supportive bra like Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra. I highly recommend it.
  4. Ensure you have the full support of your partner before you start. I would not have got through the first two weeks without Stuart.
  5. Practice breastfeeding in public by going into supportive environments to begin with, such as your local NCT groups.
  6. Find out who your local ‘Breastfeeding Buddy’ is. They are usually in your local Children’s Centre.
  7. 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?

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10 thoughts on “My Breastfeeding Experience

  • November 30, 2011 at 6:32 pm
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    Very well done you for both the breastfeeding and the decision to go to formula. You’ve done what’s right for you, for Thomas and for your family. Feel strong and confident about that and know that Thomas is thriving which is all that matters! So proud of you and well done writing about it! 😉
    Karin xx

    Reply
  • November 30, 2011 at 7:01 pm
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    Your story is similar to mine. I struggled to BF my son who refused to latch, despite help from others. I ended up expressing what I could, and he had at least 4 oz a day from me until he was 6 weeks, when it got to the point where expressing just that much would take hours. I felt awful to begin with, but reminded myself that a Happy Mummy leads to a Happy Baby.
    Sarah x

    Reply
  • November 30, 2011 at 7:34 pm
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    wow jo! i thought i was the only one had struggled with this. i didn’t have anyone to talk to apart from my mom – who tried her best to help. Thanks for sharing this! so often we feel like the worst mom in the world (i know i felt like i’d failed when i switched to formula). xx
    Thomas is growing up so quickly! x

    Reply
  • December 1, 2011 at 9:01 am
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    So pleased to hear you are making positive steps forward Jo. Baby Thomas is just gorgeous.

    Lots of love,

    Charlotte
    @gofreecakes

    Reply
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  • December 4, 2011 at 11:42 am
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    Hi I am really sorry your breastfeeding experience wasnt great I am breastfeeding my 3rd child now and fortunately it has always been a good experience I seem to manage with the lack of sleep. I have to go back to work in 10 weeks and will be expressing milk 2.5 oz is about right for expressing in a sitting with my last child I expressed and froze milk to get bigger feeds or if I couldnt express enough I woul top it with formula but only after 8 months. I found a manual pump better than electric. I use cloth nappies and wipes and I have found that by going natural the cost saving has been huge my friend pays over £400 a year for formula and there is no way we could afford this when there is a free option.
    My top tip would be don’t worry about what other people think – I have had funny looks feeding when I am out but I am not going to starve my baby because everyone else finds it embarassing. Thomas is beautiful

    Reply
  • December 8, 2011 at 11:23 pm
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    Jo
    I’m sorry you received negative comments. I cried so many times breastfeeding, constantly stressed Em wasn’t getting enough milk, was glued to her the first few months, talked with other breastfeeding mums and we all said the same it is so much harder than people say, felt like I had flu the first few months and still every growth spurt means more hourly feeding. At 5 months she still feeds ever 3 hours at the most, still cannot express a lot ( she gets it out so much better than the pump) .

    Reply
  • December 8, 2011 at 11:41 pm
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    Jo
    sorry cut off by my stupid sleepy fingers. I’m sorry you received negative comments. I cried so many times breastfeeding, called the NCT breastfeeding line , constantly stressed Em wasn’t getting enough milk, was glued to her the first few months, often it felt she wasn’t getting enough, she like Thomas often confort fed. I talked with other breastfeeding mums and we all said the same it is so much harder than people say, felt like I had flu the first few months and still every growth spurt means more hourly feeding. Watched others FF jealously as they quickly found a routines while we were still all over the place

    Have now done 5 months of BF and starting solids, but she still feeds ever 3 hours at the most and in the night, still cannot express a lot ( she gets it out so much better than the pump)

    My top tip is La Leche , they are hardcore but have some great tips for feeding and lots of local groups. They certainly helped me when I was ready to crack at 4 months and Em was feeding every two hours, wish I had gone before and you really need other people who have gone through are/ going through it.

    Thomas is gorgeous , noone else can tell how you feel or what you need to do to best take care of your baby and yourself because I increasingly think what a baby needs most is a happy mum.

    Reply
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  • August 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm
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    I really REALLY hate the people who are so negative about not breastfeeding or stopping after a few weeks. It’s your body and your baby so no-one should have the right to judge you. I breastfed my first for over 6 months and am breastfeeding my (almost) 5 month old currently but first time around it was tough and I felt like giving in sooo many times I can’t tell you. If I’m honest I only really started to enjoy the last couple of months. This time is different, I’ve really enjoyed every minute of it pretty much. Well done for not letting this experience putting you off trying again in the future but don’t feel pressured into anything by anyone. Thanks also for sharing for the Britmums Carnival x

    Reply

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