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Why can breastfeeding be so difficult?

When I was pregnant, there were lots of things I worried about. Will I be able to cope? Will I be a good mum? Do I have everything I need for my baby? The one thing I did not worry about or even give much consideration was breastfeeding but I had already decided that I wanted to give it a go. I went to a breastfeeding session at Leighton Hospital which was really useful and we discussed it as part of the NCT parenting class but other than that, I didn’t really think about it. It would be something that I dealt with when the baby was here.

"Why did something that was so natural feel anything but natural."

Fast forward Lottie’s birth day and the first thing the midwife did once I had delivered Lottie was put her on my chest. Pretty much straight away, Lottie was looking for food. She didn’t really know what to do and neither did I. The midwives on the ward were amazing at helping me when I was on the ward but they couldn’t be there with me every time Lottie wanted a feed. Sometimes, by chance, I managed to latch Lottie on but other times, it was incredibly frustrating. Why couldn’t I feed my baby? Why did something that was so natural feel anything but natural.

There were tears, from both of us. My stomach literally churned when Lottie woke up as I knew she would need a feed. My nipples were so sore despite coating them in lansinoh (definitely get this if you are breastfeeding, it did make a massive difference in those early days). And my boobs were so full once I started producing milk and I couldn’t get rid of it quick enough. I remember standing in the shower and milk was literally dripping down my legs but it was such a relief.

I watched all the youtube videos about how to latch on and tried all kinds of different positions but after 3 days, I was tired, sore, emotional and ready to throw in the towel. I called the infant breastfeeding clinic to get some advice and they said that someone would come out to see me the next day. My community midwife arrived with a member of the infant feeding team and the lady sat with me on the sofa and showed me different ways of getting Lottie to latch on. Then something just clicked, I felt like I knew what to do. I was able to get Lottie to latch on to me pretty much every time. It felt amazing.

" It was a brand new thing for both of us but I am so glad I stuck with it."

The pain, the tears, the guilt, the swollen boobs had all be worth it because for me, there was no better feeling than feeding Lottie myself. I just needed to give me and Lottie some time to get used to it. It was a brand new thing for both of us but I am so glad I stuck with it.

I set myself a target of getting to the first 6 months and then anything after then was a bonus. Our breastfeeding journey finished shortly before Lottie was 2. It was a mutual decision as Lottie didn’t seem that interested in milk from me and I was at the stage where I was happy to get my body back to myself.

Every now and then, usually if Lottie is tired or under the weather, she will ask for milk and every time she asks, I really wish I could feed her one last time.

I am super proud that I managed to breastfeed until Lottie was nearly 2 and although our breastfeeding journey has finished, I have all those precious memories plus, I did manage to send off my breastmilk to be made into a ring (by the amazing Blossom Keepsakes) which I’m so glad I did when I had the chance. This will be Lottie’s ring when I am no longer here and she will always be reminded of the special bond that we had for the 2 years of her life.

If you are in the middle of those early days and feeling overwhelmed and thinking of giving up breastfeeding, please reach out and get some help. Cherubs Breastfeeding Support is a great place to start so head over there for more information on how they can help.

To celebrate your special breastfeeding journey, why not book a breastfeeding photography session, to capture those gorgeous photographs whilst you still can. Click here to find out more information about these beautifully intimate sessions.

Thinking of booking a newborn photo shoot? Find out here what really goes on behind the scenes.

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