Parents from across Dumfries and Galloway have shared the following stories in the hope that it will inspire more mums and babies to breastfeed for as long as they want to. As you will see many mums have no problems at all when breastfeeding their babies but as some of the stories show even if your breastfeeding journey doesn't go smoothly you can often find a way through if you have the right support. This doesn't just include health professionals but the support of family, friends and other mums.
If you would like to share your story please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
'After being unsuccessful breastfeeding my two older children, I was determined I would succeed with Thomas. After a very quick labour, he latched on himself during somr skin to skin time. I thought all might go well this time but it wasn't to be. By his 2nd feed things weren't working quite right for us. Every time he fed it hurt so much it made my toes curl, yet I was repeatedly told latch was good. Within 24 hours I was blistered and bleeding. I felt very defeated and reluctantly switched to formula thinking it would be the best thing for everyone. Within a fortnight the formula was making Thomas quite ill with stomach and bowel problems. His stools were solid and green and he had terrible wind and it hurt him to burp. It was awful watching him suffer.
One night he was in a lot of pain and I tried to calm him with skin to skin and he latched on. I was still leaking milk and wondered if it would be possible to switch back to breast feeding. I did some research online and it seemed positive so I hired a hospital grade pump. It didn't seem at the time to help, though I am told it helped with stimulation. When Thomas was just over 3 weeks old we discovered mum2mum (something we didn't have where I lived when my other children were born) and with fantastic help from Jill and the support of Andrea and all the lovely mums we were able to wean off formula altogether. We then continued with only breastmilk until weaning at 7 and a half months. Thomas has always fed LOTS more than many babies and never really "caught up" with others his age after switching back but he has a lot of food allergies and intolerances (believed to be as a result of being allergic to the formula) and breast feeding has more than made up the deficiencies in his diet. Thomas is 21 months and feeds as much as ever. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful support network here in the region. Thanks ladies x' (August 2014)
UPDATE - August 2015: 'Thomas is fast approaching 3 and has a 10 week old sister. Whilst they rarely feed together, Thomas is still feeding. It was very challenging at first juggling feeding them both and Hannah wasn't gaining weight quickly enough at first so we had to supplement. Again, with the support of Jill, Andrea and all the lovely mums at the drop in, we managed to wean off the supplements before 6 weeks and Hannah is now feeding great and gaining weight beautifully. Continuing feeding a toddler with a newborn is definitely a challenge, especially if it doesn't go smoothly at first, but it has helped Thomas accept having someone else change his place in the family and it is helping to grow a great bond between them. The most important thing to remember whether you are breast feeding your first child or you have done it before, each mother/child feeding relationship is different and seek help if you need it. '
'I had my first son when I was 18. Breastfeeding was not something I was surrounded by at that stage in my life but I wanted to give it a go. My son latched on and fed well. I was young and a bit self conscious of my body and when it came to cluster feeding I struggled to have my boobs out so often! I fed him for just over a month then decided to formula feed. I was proud of myself for giving breastfeeding a go. When I had my second son 3 years later I knew I would definitely breastfeed again. Again he latched and fed well. This time I mastered expressing too. I exclusively breastfed for 4 months then did a combination of breast and formula for another month before going onto just formula. Again I was proud of my achievement.
When I had my daughter 10 years later I just assumed I would feed as easily as I had the boys. But she did not latch well and after a few days my nipples were in agony and putting her on to feed was torture. I tried expressing but hardly got anything, I was so upset and disheartened. My midwife put me in touch with Jill who was a god send. She reassured me and helped me find a better feeding position to suit my baby. After a rocky start and plenty of support from Jill and the lovely mummies at m2m I managed to go on and feed her for 20 months, something I never thought I would achieve! My experiences with each of my children were very different, but I am proud to say I have breastfed all my children whether that be for a month or a year.xx'
'I had it very clear in my head that I wanted to breast feed long before I was even pregnant. I did not disagree with any other way of feeding it was just what I wanted to do. So when Daisy could not latch properly I was devastated, exhausted and felt defeated after trying for a week to get her to feed from me with a couple of other massive hurdles to overcome. When I composed myself, my partner and I decided we still wanted Daisy to get my breast milk so we decided I would express and if need be give formula top ups. I did this for 5 months, expressing up to 10 times day/night to try and meet her volume requirements. Unfortunately my supply was fairly low so I was prescribed domperidone to boost it. (I must state that this drug is not licensed for this purpose and is merely a side effect of it, so some GP's may not be comfortable prescribing it for this situation).
I later found out that Daisy had a tongue tie, which we had snipped as it was clearly causing her feeding issues, and she has a high pallet. These issues combined, prevented her from being able to suckle the nipple and press it to the roof of her mouth. We did try a number of different techniques to get her back to the breast some weeks later but unfortunately we never managed it. I felt extremely envious of those who appeared to be doing it so easily but from sharing stories, it soon became clear that everyone has issues at some point of their breast feeding journey. I could not have gotten through those early months if it hadn't have been for the support of mum to mum drop in xx'
'So I come from a family where breastfeeding is pretty much the norm and I work with breastfeeding mums so I was utterly determined that it was the only option for me. I think I'm too cheap a person to spend money on something which I know I make a better version of anyway haha. So it all started fairly easily, he was a big hungry boy and fed basically non-stop from day 1. I had plenty milk and although I was a bit uncomfortable I never had much nipple damage etc. I have fairly large breasts so had some interesting experiences on my first few times feeding in public till I learned how to dress for discreet feeding!! I found the drop in a great place to go and feel comfortable feeding. He could literally spend hours on and off and it was/is a safe place where you don't have to worry about the standard "you're not feeding him again" comments.
Anyway things went fairly well for the first 3 months, he gained lots of weight and settled into not a terrible "routine" of feeding every 3-4 hours over night. One night we even managed about 8 so I literally thought we had it cracked, easy peasy.....ha!! If I'm totally honest I listened to the mums with the hourly feeling stories and thought "what are they doing wrong"? Then at around 13 weeks...the week my little brother got married to be precise we hit what became known as "feedinggate". He started wakening every hour, without fail, all night. At that time he was still in my room in a basket, I was getting up going to another room feeding him and bringing him back. I felt I needed to sit in the feeding chair and it didn't fit in our room. I found after a few weeks that I was getting totally stressed, so exhausted and in all likelihood a bit depressed about the whole thing. I kept waiting for him to settle back into his good routine from before, it took me longer that his first 13 weeks to accept those days were gone. I made myself pretty ill, spent my time he was in bed lying dreading him wakening back up 45 mins later, more often than not crying, keeping my partner up and basically losing my marbles. We tried moving him from our room, giving him a dummy, food at 5 months, dairy free, bottle of expressed milk, nothing worked. He just wanted me. People offered to take him away but I literally didn't want to be apart from him but I needed help in changing the awful cycle we were in. Lots of people suggested crying it out but even the thought of it would bring me to tears, I just found the thought of it too horrible so we never even tried it. I bought books about sleeping but I think I was just too tired to ever read them. Then One night just before Christmas ( 7 months) my partner thought he wasn't very well and said you keep him in bed with you tonight, I'll sleep on the couch. That night although he still woke as often I actually was sleeping really well in between. All my anxieties and night terrors sort of just went away when he was beside me. After a few nights of this I knew there was no way back for us, once we were cuddled up together we both just relaxed about it all. It took a bit of organising but we found the cot beside our bed with one side off gave us enough room for all 3 of us in the bed. Since then our sleeping (both of us) has just gone from strength to strength. He still has a few unsettled nights but basically mostly is only up a couple of times for about 2 mins quick feed both straight back to sleep. Some nights I'm not sure if he been awake at all even. We both love having him there especially after a long day at work and feel in no hurry to move him out at all. It's not a situation that many people understand and we get lots of rolled eyes and tuts. It's actually lovely the concern people have for my back with this rod I'm making for it . Without the support of this page and the lovely compassionate mummies I not sure how we would have made it to this happy place we are in....I can now even safely say we will probably do it all again!!'
'I wanted to breastfeed my first daughter but she never ever latched on so I decided to express feed which I managed for 6 months (was super hard work but worth it in my eyes) so when I had my second daughter I was worried about bf. I have to say I found it a lot harder than i ever imagined but with loads of great advice and support from family, friends and mum2mum especially we are still breastfeeding 17months down the line and i honestly believe we wouldnt have got there without Jill @ mum2mum - i had her on speed dial!! BUT not only did we have different issues n probs with breastfeeding we then had to cope with my daughters cows milk intolerance! As she was a very unsettled baby, silent reflux, cough/wheeze, colic etc it was suggested to eliminate cows milk from my diet (and therefore my breastmilk) which at first seemed impossible but after a few wks i was completely dairy free and my B was like a different baby!!! Hooray!! And 17 months down the line we are both still dairy free and happy.' (August 2014)
UPDATE - August 2015: 'Once B got to around 20months her only consistent feed was bedtime (very rarely looked for a feed through day) but if i wasnt here at night it didnt bother her to go without. As the weeks went on I started worrying about the end of our breastfeeding journey being close! I really thought I'd be distraught stopping feeding but around B's 2nd birthday she self weaned and I think because it was very gradual and on B's terms it went very smoothly and I coped! Yay!'
'My breastfeeding journey with our first daughter is pretty straight forward, all went well and even now 2.5 years later we are still going strong. Our second daughter arrived exactly 25 months later a whole 3 weeks early. I had been having growth scans due to losing our son in early 2011, when it was noted she wasn't growing as well and fluid was low. When I got to 36 weeks she hadn't grown in 2 weeks, my consultant decided to get her out asap via section. So at 37+1 I was taken in and at 11.25 out second beautiful little girl was brought into the world. I got a little hold before she was taken to neonatal.
My friend and midwife demanded we get skin to skin and I try and feed her as it's so important those first skin to skin moments. I was lying on my side in recovery while a midwife tried to latch her on, a far cry from the first time I fed Roo. It was awkward and I was so upset. When I went back to the ward neonatal wanted her back as "precaution". Fast forward to that evening and she was back with me, they had to watch her blood sugars and if they went to low she would be back to neonatal. I fed her every 2 hours after and hand expressed, I didn't want them to take her away again. So I'd feed, top her up then snuggle in bed with her too keep her warm . It was utterly exhausting but worth it when after 24 hours of blood sugar watch she was fine. We went home 48 hours after her birth when the real fun started as I was still feeding Roo!
Abby is nearly 6 months now and feeding is going so well. She spends a lot of time in a sling, mostly out beloved Tula. I find it very easy to feed in her although many people don't recommend feeding in a sling. I think it's about knowing you and your baby, I always watch her when she feeds in the sling so feel 100% confident doing it. It has come in handy for those cluster feeding days when Roo needs me too. How anyone has more than one child and no sling is beyond me. We feed out and about in the sling and no one has ever really noticed! Abby may have had a rocky start, born at only 5 lb 2 before her time but she is thriving at over 16lb now and we are coming up to the 6 months tandem feeding milestone.
I have had unconditional support from my family and friends, many of whom I met via mum2mum when Roo was born. I really feel the support is just as important second, third even fourth time around because everybreastfeeding journey is different' (August 2014)
UPDATE - August 2015: 'I cannot believe another year has passed. My beloved girls are 3.5 and nearly 18 months and we are still tandem feeding! Things haven't changed much in the breastfeeding relationship with Abby but they have a lot with Ruby. At 3.5 she has now dropped all night feeds and rarely wakes, meaning she only feeds to sleep. It is bitter sweet as I know this is the beginning of the end and eventually this one feed will no longer be wanted by her. I am soaking in every milky snuggle I can get. Abby is not feeding like a crazy newborn anymore but still feeds throughout the day and for naps/bedtimes. She wakes through the night but only 2/3 times. I am still, on many an occasion feeding them together at bedtime. It had become a lot easier as time had gone on, I treasure these precious moments when they hold hands and drift off in to a little milk drunk slumber together.''I cannot believe another year has passed. My beloved girls are 3.5 and nearly 18 months and we are still tandem feeding! Things haven't changed much in the breastfeeding relationship with Abby but they have a lot with Ruby. At 3.5 she has now dropped all night feeds and rarely wakes, meaning she only feeds to sleep. It is bitter sweet as I know this is the beginning of the end and eventually this one feed will no longer be wanted by her. I am soaking in every milky snuggle I can get. Abby is not feeding like a crazy newborn anymore but still feeds throughout the day and for naps/bedtimes. She wakes through the night but only 2/3 times. I am still, on many an occasion feeding them together at bedtime. It had become a lot easier as time had gone on, I treasure these precious moments when they hold hands and drift off in to a little milk drunk slumber together.''I cannot believe another year has passed. My beloved girls are 3.5 and nearly 18 months and we are still tandem feeding! Things haven't changed much in the breastfeeding relationship with Abby but they have a lot with Ruby. At 3.5 she has now dropped all night feeds and rarely wakes, meaning she only feeds to sleep. It is bitter sweet as I know this is the beginning of the end and eventually this one feed will no longer be wanted by her. I am soaking in every milky snuggle I can get. Abby is not feeding like a crazy newborn anymore but still feeds throughout the day and for naps/bedtimes. She wakes through the night but only 2/3 times. I am still, on many an occasion feeding them together at bedtime. It had become a lot easier as time had gone on, I treasure these precious moments when they hold hands and drift off in to a little milk drunk slumber together.'
'I breastfed my first 2.5 year old son for 16 months and I am now exclusively breastfeeding my 20 weeks old baby. At first they both were more interested in sleep than food! I had to set my alarm and wake them up every 3-4 hours for a feed. (I hope they will not skip breakfast when they are older for an extra ten minutes in bed!) but once they got used to it, I felt that I spent more time breastfeeding than doing anything else in my life especially for the first six months. After Zackaria started solids at 6 months, my milk was always his favourite snack and because we went to sing&sign his first sign was for MILK and he used it from around 8 months old. I use breastfeeding covers in public because it makes me feel more comfortable, prevents my baby getting distracted and most importantly I love the patterns and colours they come in .
A few weeks after we decided to end our breastfeeding journey with my first, Zack opened the bedroom drawer and brought the nursing cover to me, he didn't say much at the time but I felt like his eyes wanted to say "remember what a strong bond we had" that just brought tears to my eyes.'
'I breastfed my daughter for 22 months, the first week or two was very challenging but I was determined that it was what I wanted to do so we got through it and had a lovely journey. When my twin boys arrived at 36 weeks I had no concerns about feeding them, I knew it would be hard, but I wasn't expecting any real problems ,so when ollie twin A was not interested in the breast at all I was heartbroken he also struggled to keep his temp up and his blood sugars were low so he spent some time in neo natal, louie twin B was happy to feed but my milk took 5 days to come in which meant both boys lost a little more weight then desired.
After 5 days we were allowed home and I had to feed them both every 3 hours to get their weight back up, this meant breastfeeding louie and expressing and cup feeding ollie I did this for 3 weeks and feared ollie would never go on the breast, but then one day it just click and he latched I can't explain how happy this made me!! since then we discovered that ollie has a dairy intolerance which meant I've had to cut out all dairy from my diet to continue breastfeeding, but it's little sacrifices like that which show how important it is for me to feed my babies myself, the first 6 months were the most challenging as they fed every 2 hours day and night, thankfully I managed to tandem feed and ive never done it any other way........ We are now at 19 months and still going strong! I am very grateful for the help and advice from both Jill Asher and midwives Cher and Marcia who really helped me loads during the first 3 weeks and kept me positive about ollie eventually taking the breast, without them I might never have got this far :-D'
'When I was pregnant with my first son, I knew I wanted to try breastfeeding. He struggled to latch and we managed three and a half weeks using a nipple shield. After our breastfeeding experience, we encountered new obstacles; colic and dairy intolerance. Upon hearing of a friend who cut dairy out of her own diet to breastfeed her baby, I vowed I would do the same if I was ever fortunate enough to have another child and if they had dairy intolerance symptoms.
When my second son was having the same difficulties latching, I was distraught but determined. On day 4, I found a new sense of pride and appreciation for the time I managed to breastfeed my eldest for. Suddenly it didn't feel so short! I received expert advice from Andrea from mum2mum at a critical point. She explained that I needed to dangle latch my baby from below and then lean back. Everything clicked. After lots of practicing (there were plenty of opportunities!) it began to feel more fluid and natural.
When he started to show signs of silent reflux and dairy intolerance, I was keen to continue to breastfeed and help relieve his pains. I received help and advice from Rosie Gibbs (cranial osteopath at Lochthorn) and our Health Visitor. It took around four weeks for traces of dairy to leave my system. My new dairy free diet, plus his gaviscon four times daily, has helped to reduce his symptoms and I'm delighted to be within reach of 6 months exclusive breastfeeding. I'm going to continue to breastfeed on dairy free diet until he's at least a year old and I'm looking forward to continuing our journey together.
Along the way, I've also enjoyed carrying him in a sling to be hands free for my eldest, aid baby's digestion, keep my baby upright after feeds and I've even learned how to breastfeed him whilst carrying him in the sling!
I would encourage any mum of a baby suffering from reflux to consider continuing to breastfeed and baby wearing, it's very rewarding knowing I'm helping my son's digestive system to mature by giving him the most easily digested milk and comforting him whenever he needs me.'
'I had always known I wanted to breast feed my children so when I had my eldest daughter in 2012 I set my self a target of 6 weeks, we got off to a flying start with no problems and she was exclusively bf for 12 weeks.
When I gave birth to my second daughter in October 2014 I expected it all to be just as easy. However I soon had painful cracked nipples and visited mum2mum for some advice, once I had corrected my latch things quickly eased.
I knew about the milk bank from facebook and had decided during my pregnancy that if I was able I would love to donate. So once I had Imogen and she was 6 weeks I gave them a call they emailed paperwork and I had to post them a blood sample, it was all simple. They then sent some bottles and I expressed daily (with my own manual pump) once I had a freezer full I called and they send a lovely man from scotserve down on his motorbike to collect it. Scotland only has one milk bank so from Glasgow it is distributed all over Scotland to babies who need it the most
I would encourage any mum that wants to donate some milk to phone/email the milk bank it's lovely to know you might have helped a family when they need it the most ♡'
'Before I had even considered the prospect of having a baby, I was always determined that I would breastfeed. My Mum and her Mum had both breastfed their babies and it was just a given that I would do the same.
I had heard of Mum to Mum from friends that already had babies and was so keen to go along and find out more that I went to a couple of the sessions when I was pregnant. It just seemed like such a lovely, laid back place and which I knew would be ideal for feeding my baby when the time came. It was during one of these pre-baby visits that I borrowed a copy of ‘The Food of Love’ which I can (and do) recommend to pregnant friends. This book further reinforced my determination to feed my baby myself.
Cut to October 2011 when my beautiful baby girl was born and reality struck... No one had warned me that she would feed ALL NIGHT. And most of the day! Everyone around me was saying “isn’t it the best feeling in the world”, when inside, all I felt was scared that my life as I knew it was effectively over, and I was never going to get five minutes to myself again. Over the first few weeks there were a LOT of tears, leaky boobs and ‘feeding appropriate’ outfit dramas. One night around week 2 when I couldn’t cope with having a baby attached to me for a second longer, I gave her a bottle and felt devastated that our BF journey was over so quickly. It hadn’t occurred to me that tomorrow was a new day, so visited mum to mum for a bit of a reality check and reminded that it was just a blip and that I could easily pick up where we left off, continuing to feed her myself.
Although it seemed like forever, after the first few weeks she started to sleep longer, and the feeding got easier. By week 12, the feeding came really easy to us, and for someone as unorganised and who as late to everything as me, breastfeeding was definitely the easiest option for us.
Our feeding journey came to an end after 10 months, and looking back now, I can’t believe how stressed I was in the early days over something that passed us by so quickly. Why did I worry so much about how often she fed? Why did I try to get up, organised and out so quickly every morning? The only regret I have now is not spending more time in my jammies, watching box sets, letting my baby feed as much she wanted.
Compared to some of the other stories you have read we actually had a relatively easy time of it. However, there is no way that I could have kept breastfeeding without the support of my partner (who is probably now as clued up on breastfeeding as I am and has no problem with dishing out lectures on breastfeeding to anyone that’s pregnant and will listen), family and especially mum to mum. It is a wonderful resource which we in Dumfries and Galloway are extremely lucky to have on our doorstep and something which I hope will still be there to support my daughter’s generation when the time comes.'
'Through my pregnancy with my daughter I was quite anxious about how BF would be for me 2nd time round. I could only ever feed my son in a rugby hold position so it was always such a faff when we were out & about to feed him, not to mention the stress I felt when he didn't take to my Breast for the first 48 hours (was fed colostrum through a syringe).
I spoke to Jill about my concerns & she said 'no journey is ever the same' & she was right. When Rae arrived she was put on my chest & she just started feeding from me, it was such a special moment & all my worries just melted away.
We got home & I struggled to feed her in a typical cradle hold position as I'd never actually done it before & as I have big boobs I found it awkward juggling a tiny newborn & a massive boob.
I was worried old habits were kicking in.
After a visit to the drop in & a little time spent with Jill on positioning we were sorted.
Mum2mum is an amazing resource that we are so lucky to have on our door steps, & it's run by amazing staff who dedicate their time empowering mums like me, and giving them the confidence to go away & enjoy their BF journey.
I know how lucky I am to have been able to feed both of my babies & I know that some people can't for whatever reason, but just knowing their is support specifically for mums who want to give it a go is Amazing.
Since having my little girl I have had training in Breast feeding peer support & love sharing my knowledge & experiences with others ❤'
'My journey started just over 4 years ago when I had my little boy. After a 36 hour labour we were both exhausted and although I was always determined to breastfeed William wasn't interested. By 24 hours old he still had hardly fed and he had dangerously high jaundice levels so had to go on a 'billy bed' and I was only to feed him 10 mins each side every 3 hours and recommended to 'top up' with formula. This went against everything I had read and I really didn't want to top up but I was tired and weak. Fortunately I have a very supportive family and a sister who was bf her son at that time so she donated milk and my son had her milk for the next 24-48 hours whilst I put him on when I could and expressed inbetween.
Jill came to see me in hospital and was amazing- and made sure the midwives knew to let me feed him on demand. By day 4 my milk came in and we were starting to get the hang of it. We finally got home by day 7 and he was on me all day long! Making up for lost time! At first I gave myself little aims like 2 weeks, then 6 weeks, 6 months etc. Going to the drop in helped so much just to know what we were going through was normal (still feeding x amount of times at night, the leaps and regressions, will I ever get a night out again etc!!).
By the time we got to 1 year I was determined to let William self wean. He did at 28 months which was bitter sweet but I was 5 months pregnant and although happy to tandem feed the gentle, natural end was perfect. I remember the first night he didn't want fed to sleep messaging Ami asking 'how do I get a child to sleep without the boob?!'.
Jenny came along in Feb 2014 after a very quick and simple (unexpected) home birth. We were rushed to hospital and she was feeding like an expert within minutes and her first feed was 5 hour long! I was thrilled as I knew this meant her jaundice levels were likely to be less. She was totally fine by 24 hours old so we were sent home and feeding her has been a breeze (especially since I learnt to feed in the sling by 4 days old meaning I could be active with my son too- still one of my best skills!!). And because my sister helped us out so much I decided to donate this time. I've always had a hard time expressing so I set a challenge of 500ml a week which I kept up for 6 months- I would definitely do it again next time.
Jenny is now 16 months and still needs me a lot and feeds frequently at night but this time it seems so much easier as I know it is normal and I know soon enough she won't need me quite so much anymore and those milky snuggles will be a hazy memory. I always say determination is a big part of breastfeeding but also support- and I am so grateful to have had mum2mum as part of that support system.'
'Since I became pregnant the second timer I wanted to breastfeed, with my first child I was not aware of breastfeeding. However talking through things the second time, as we'd been wanting another for years, we decided that if it was worth doing the second time it was worth putting everything into it. So breastfeeding seemed the right thing to do. The decision was the easy bit.
I call the first 6 weeks the 6 weeks of hell. My wee boy was always feeding The whole experience shocked and overwhelmed me. I struggled through some really dark thoughts. I was always tired and struggled doing things I wanted to do. Looking back I was doing to much too soon. Mistakes were made and I fell asleep while I was feeding him.
From this I learnt an important lesson. Help is there, and easy to get, however asking is the hardest part. My husband stepped in and encouraged me to keep going with the feeding and leave things that were not important to him. Also my dad stepped up big time and supported both me and my husband through the 6 weeks.
My biggest hurdle was going to Mum2mum to get the help I needed. My husband encouraged me to go and went with me and encouraged me to talk more and build my confidence.
Each week I went to mum2mum my confidence grew and now I have reached 13 months and feeding is still going strong. I feed in public where ever and whenever. Now that James, my son, is feeding a little less I find myself missing the closeness with him. Feeding James has been rewarding because as he grows I see the reward of my hard work and perseverance grow with him.'
'When I found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I remember after labour the midwife helping me latch Abigail (I was still numb from gas and air). I had to get midwife to aid with latch during the nightalso. I remember the early days at home being tough due to constant feeding and never seeming to be full, having to change tops due to leaky boobs (nobody had warned me about that) and having to use the rugby ball hold to get a good latch. This wasn't as easy to use when out and about, which in itself I was fumbling mess in the early days feeling everything was on show. It didn't stop me though. Each morning I had to express before feeding Abigail as she slept through from very early on leaving me very full and sore.
I had aimed to exclusively breastfeed until 6months but had to start to combination feed before this and this got me a little upset, even though it meant I continued to breastfeed morning and night until about 10months then just evening feeds until 12 months.
Being my second time round I thought it would be easier, this is not the case. The early days my nipples were very sore but after talking to my midwives who helped me correct my positioning. My son is up during the night but due to it still being early days I still often wake full and a little sore. I am able to feed using the cradle hold but feel exposed as Wallace gets his hands in the way then when position correct will close mouth.
I am looking forward to my breastfeeding journey and I am aiming again for at least 6 months if not longer. I haven't been to mum2mum this time, but I am looking forward to going along to meet the other mums and share stories and experiences. Jill and Andrea gave me some great tips along my last journey and I know there are many areas that don't have a fantastic resource like mum2mum.'
'My breastfeeding journey was much shorter than I hoped. I'd always planned on breastfeeding my children. So much so that when I was pregnant and has james I didt buy bottles or anything. Just an electric pump and the bottle that came with it. After a difficult forceps deliveryjames latched straight on to me. Literally found the boob himself and was a pro. The first pictures of him are of him feeding. We stayed in for a few days as I needed antibiotics etc. James was monitored for a heart condition but still he fed like a wee monster. He lost less than %5 of his birth weight too. We got home and things remained good. James caught a bug at 10 days old and I'm sure things went down from there.
He failed to put much weight on, Despite feeding lots. The Hv who I respect very much helped me to try express via the pump and by hand but I got a little 10 ml after almost an hour. I persevered on fir a few weeks but the Hv was concerned about james weight. I also suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and was feeling sore. I'd come of my medication to fall pregnant. Basically 2 days shy of James being 6 weeks old due to his poor weight gain and my pain. My family encouraged me to stop feeding myself and 'to give the boy a bottle'. Over the weekend of the 5th week after 12 hour feeding sessions and no weight gain I decided it was time to stop. I started back on my medication (which I couldn't take when breastfeeding) and started jameson formulae. In hindsight james contained to have health problems abd we discovered he has a hole in his heart and also that he was lactose intolerant. We was put on prescription milk - yes his weight gained with formula but never much or quickly. I now realise that I may have been sore because of my posture when feeding, I have big boobies and Sat hunched. I didn't ask anyone for support and now believe this may have helped. I honestly think james s weight gain would have been similar wither bf or bottle fed. I wish my bf journey had been longer and that I had tried to get help and support but all I could see at the time was my baby failing to thrive and my gp who said I needed my methotrexate. My message to anyone would be to seek help and support!!!!'
'My breastfeeding story is one of the easy ones, I guess, apart from theconstant sleepiness! It never occurred to me to choose to bottle feed, just because breastfeeding is quite common where I come from. My family did it, I saw it when I was little, that's what I would do! As soon as I was told how hard it was I got a bit worried and bought a few books on the subject, books that I will pass on because I believe they can support other mamas. "the food of love" was my favourite. I started to feel quite positive about avoiding those scary cracked nipples. When my son was born, with a little help from the midwife he latched on in the first 5 minutes of his life outside my womb. Stayed there on and off for ages, but he seemed to not like the way I held him.
Thanks to the images on The Food Of Love I tried other holds, and it turned out that the rugby hold was the best thing for us! Lots of women told me they thought it was funny, I just thought it worked for us.Oscar put on weight straight away and I felt very reassured. I never felt the milk coming, neither I felt engorged. Oscar was feeding all-the-time. Thanks those books I had read I knew it was fine, it was good for my milk production, good for my baby. I could tell my mum that yes, the baby had just fed and yes, he could be needing another feed so soon. Oh god it was sore! Just at the start, but very very sore! I would send a thank you letter to lansinoh for their nipple cream, it was my saviour. I was high on hormones for a couple of weeks, not feeling tired. But ooft, it is tiring.Oscar is 11 months today. He's not feeding through the day at all. When he started weaning it affected my mood hugely. I was engorged, worried and sad. Andrea, from mum 2 mum was a great support for me there, along with other mums from the mum 2 mum community. My breastfeeding journey wasn't over. Teething just was affecting Oscar in that particular way. I still don't know if the feeding during the day will pick up again or whether he'll only feed a bit in the morning and a lot through the night- like this week-. I know that those times when I am feeding, in spite of the tiredness, I feel grateful for this closeness and I hope this images and feelings won't leave my memory.'
'I always knew I would give breastfeeding a try but always kept at the back of my mind that it might not work out. When the time came I was suffering with wonderful combo of carpal tunnel in both wrists and huge boobs – I simply couldn't get them out without a quite a spectacle of nudity! However I did have enough milk to feed Scotland - and so my expressing journey began – every morning I would feed bubs and still have enough to fill two bottles. These then came with me wherever I went during the day – including the breastfeeding drop-in.
I'll never forget the first day I bottle fed expressed milk at the breastfeeding support group, I expected stares and judgement but it didn't come. Afterwards a mum I barely knew approached me to apologise and explained that she had bought her son a 'bottles suck' babygrow – she had done this because she was so proud that she had managed to breastfeed successfully and had been a two-finger salute to family members who had given her a hard time. It hadn't dawned on her at the time that this might be offensive to those who didn't want to, couldn't or had to use alternative methods of breastfeeding - it was completely unintentional and driven by her own story, so of course I told her not to worry about it. So now, when I think about feeding (or any other bits of parenting) I always try to remember that there are a million different reasons for the choices we make and we don't know everyone else's. Ultimately the things that bond us as parents are much bigger than the individual wee bits where we might differ. xx'
When I was pregnant I said I would try to breastfeed and if I couldn't or it didn't go well then I would change to bottles. Well, it didn't go well to start with, and I didn't change to bottles - 1 year later and still going strong. Sheer grit and determination and the support of the other mums and mum2mum, Jill and Andrea and my amazing husband got us to where we are now. In the early weeks I was in agony. We were both diagnosed with thrush and to have a bit of relief I started to express and fed Olivia with expressed breastmilk and the odd breastfeed to keep my supply. The first time I expressed I was so upset and feeling like I was letting Olivia down giving her a bottle that I didn't screw the lid on properly, she was screaming with hunger and when I went to give her the bottle it spilled everywhere. I definitely cried over spilled milk that day! Things got a little easier with nipple shields and I carried on through the pain and what we were told was thrush. I've lost count of how many times we were treated for thrush. Olivia's latch and positioning were both checked on several occasions however I was still in pain while feeding -
feeding brought tears to my eye. Olivia was also suffering from colic and would scream in pain for what felt like hours. I felt helpless, breastfeeding was supposed to be easy, and natural despite all this I pushed through. It wasn't until 17 weeks that I thought about a tongue tie and asked Andrea to have a look after which she referred us to Dr Armstrong who said Olivia did have a tongue tie although wasn't willing to do anything about it due to her being too old. I could of had her tie snipped if I was willing for her to have surgery but felt she was too little to be put through it. Having looked into tongue ties it was clear that this was causing all symptoms - the pain, Olivia's colic like symptoms, the gashes, her slow weight gain, to name a few. At around 5 and a half months something changed and my pain vanished. I feel Olivia just got that wee bit bigger, her tongue grew a little and her latch and positioning changed for the better. I now mainly feed in the lying down position or with Olivia sitting up on my knee. I have always enjoyed feeding my little milk monster and am so so proud that I have made it to over a year, I was so close to giving up at three weeks but something in me enabled me to push on. I would say anyone who is struggling or who is in pain while feeding to seek help from Jill, Andrea, and the other mums at mum2mum. The support there is amazing and everyone is so welcoming and friendly. Everything does get easier, the early days are hard but the benefits for both baby and muma are well worth it.
'When I was pregnant with Dylan, I never gave feeding much of a thought, but did know I wanted to breastfeed,no went into it thinking,"if it's for us, it won't go past us"
After a very long and hard labour, Dylan latched perfectly naturally whilst on skin to skin. I was so happy, he gained weight and it seemed to be so easy.
When Dylan was three months, something changed,he started being sick after feeds, (it was like scrambled eggs), every dirty nappy was explosive, but he appeared to be a happy baby still continuing to thrive. Drs and health visitors treated him for reflux, it made no difference, at 5.5 months, we were told that Dylan may have a milk protein allergy. We weaned Dylan accordingly and I stopped eating it to, so I could remain feeding, however just before Dylan was 9 months, he took poorly and was sent to yorkhill for test, where we were told that Dylan had a severe Dairy allergy, that had upset the lining of his stomach. We were strongly advised to stop feeding with immediate effect and changed to formula.
I was devastated however I had no choice,it was the most painful yet most rewarding ten days of my life, as I watched Dylan improve daily.
When I fell pregnant, with my second,mi instantly started worrying about feeding, and the possibility of another allergy baby. I spoke to doctors and dietician, who advised me, to become dairy free from 36 weeks, and gradually introduce dairy back into my body when Lucas was around about a month.
This is what we did, I was so scared to put it in my diet , we done it very gradually and noticed no difference.
Lucas was born after a very fast labour and with a bit of encouragement, fed after a couple of hours.
Lucas only ever fed for short spells, At the start I felt so full and uncomfy, but soon my body got use to his short fast feeds.
Lucas loved his milk and was slow to wean, and didn't become interested in solids until nearly 8 months. I was not to worried as he was getting everything he needed to thrive.
Lucas was 1 at the start of July and still fed 6 time in 24 hours, but mid July he decided he didn't want to feed anymore,I was very shocked.
I am so proud and honoured to know I gave my boys the best start.
I don't remember ever making a decision to breastfeed, it was just something I always knew I would do. That said, I knew very little about breastfeeding and in my naivety assumed that it would be easy. I was therefore slightly bemused when I received a call from Jill during pregnancy to offer me support if I needed it. I wholly expected not to need any support and actually think I even said that (sorry Jill).
When I fell pregnant with Jack I planned on having a home birth. Whilst I was of course nervous, I felt I could handle whatever came my way. Having worked in a nursery for years, I was also reasonably confident about dealing with the early days of parenthood and reassured my husband that young babies were generally easy when you knew what you were doing. Ignorance is bliss as they say.....
The birth couldn't have went any less to plan and ended up being quite traumatic. As a result, Jack and I were left feeling pretty battered both physically and emotionally. The early feeds in the hospital are a bit of a blur although I do remember a midwife latching Jack on as I came round from the general anaesthetic (and I'm eternally grateful that they did).
I remember having a bit of a breakdown at 4/5 days post partum, part of which was down to exhaustion from constant feeding and toe curling nipple pain. A lovely midwife took some time to show me how to get a good latch which helped. And then, the screaming started....
Jack cried all the time. Some babies have fussy periods each day, Jack had a fussy 8 months! He cried and cried no matter what we did (and believe me we tried it all). The only time he didn't cry was when he was feeding and he wanted to be fed at least every 1-2 hours day and night. Feeds lasted a long time too. Jill noticed a tongue tie early on which she arranged for us to get snipped. That helped with his latch but didn't help with the crying or frequency of feeds. But at least feeding was comfortable.
Jack's colic paired with what I now know was a combination of post natal depression and post traumatic stress, made for a pretty grim start to parenthood. We got through it though and that's in large part down to breastfeeding. Babywearing and co-sleeping helped our sanity too but breastfeeding was out real saviour. It sounds over dramatic but I honestly don't think I would still be here without breastfeeding. No matter how bad the days got and how hopeless things felt, that was the one thing I knew I was getting right. Whilst Jack was miserable, he was thriving. I remember at one point he put on 1lb in 6 days. That reassured me hugely and drove me to continue. Breastfeeding also helped my mood as I often felt a little boost after a successful feed (the wonders of oxytocin).
Breastfeeding would never have been possible however without the support I received. I'm lucky to have a wonderful husband but he too was at a loss as to what to do. Jill and Andrea spent countless hours listening to me, reassuring me and offering gentle and practical support and advice. The m2m page and drop ins were a lifeline too. Somewhere to connect with other mums and know I wasn't alone in my experience. The friendships I've made through m2m are really special.
Fast forward 2.5 years and things are much much brighter. Jack eventually stopped crying and started to enjoy life (he is a very happy wee guy nowadays). He still loves his 'baw baw' and shows no sign of weaning any time soon. I've recently fed him through pregnancy, which brought new challenges as we faced low supply and nursing aversion and we are now 7 weeks in to tandem nursing. Another adventure for us all as things change once again.
I eventually got my homebirth with Holly and thankfully, she's a much happier wee soul than Jack was in those early days. Whilst breastfeeding has been much easier this time round I've still called on the invaluable support of Jill and Andrea again. I've also turned to my fellow mums to make the most of their wisdom on tandem feeding. I've become mildly obsessed with breastfeeding and read about it at every opportunity. The more I learn about it the more I am in awe of our amazing bodies.
Breastfeeding can be tough but it is absolutely worth it. Breastfeeding has got me through my darkest days and has given me many of my happiest memories.