Motherhood.Adventure.Slow Fashion.Sewing.Womanhood

Friday, 21 July 2017

2 Years of Breastfeeding

Rori turned two in April. TWO?! If you'd have asked me this time two years ago if I would still be breastfeeding now, my answer would have undoubtedly have been 'Hell No!' 

Two years ago, Rori was 2 month old baby. My days and nights were filled with endless cluster feeds, sticky boobs and hours and hours of sitting still to feed. I was too anxious to feed in public back then. For the first few months we didn't venture out too much. Then when the cabin-fever got too much, we would go to the park or a somewhere not too far from my car so I could feed in peace and I would definitely always have a nursing cover on. Rori was born at the end of April and boy, was that one hot sticky summer under that cover, sweaty skin on sweaty skin.

I didn't know what was normal. I didn't know that her hour-long marathon feeds were for her to build up my supply. I didn't know that she could scream with hunger 10 minutes after feeding. I didn't know a lot. My I did know that I wasn't going to give up like I did with feeding Logan. I would master this boob-milk thing, and life would be perfect. 

Things are never that simpler are they? By a few weeks old, Rori would scream in pain during and after feeds, curl her legs up and cry until she was hoarse and purple in the face. She would hiccup and heave like she was being sick but nothing would come out. By the time she was 6 weeks old and I was a zombie of no-sleep and anxiety, I went to get answers. Silent reflux was suggested but trying to get Rori to take any medicine was impossible.

I worried. Maybe it was allergies. So I cut everything that might have been an allergen from my diet. I gave up meat, dairy, and gluten and for 6 months I kept up a gluten-free vegan diet because I was so worried that everything I ate could potentially pass on to her, through my milk. 

By the time she was around 5 months old, things had settled and we were in a routine and we got the swing of things. She liked to be close to me, so I wore her in a wrap to get jobs done. Logan started pre-school and I would walk the 20 minute walk to nursery and back twice a day with Rori strapped to my front. She liked to sit up when feeding, and so we made pillow forts on the sofa and rode those cluster feed sessions out. We started co-sleeping because it's the only way we could both be happy. Rori could feed as much as she wanted without waking me up, and we had the closeness that she craved.

The first 6 months of our breastfeeding journey, was a haze. I really wish I had known then, what I know now. I wish there was more information out there available to new Mums about the early days of breastfeeding and what to expect. 

Looking back now, I don't think Rori had allergies. She probably did just have some reflux. If I had been aware of what the symptoms were and the best way to treat them (without medicine), I would have been prepared. I would have had an easier, less stressful time. I could have enjoyed it more. 

Nobody tells you that relentless feeding is normal. That not sleeping through the night is normal. Cluster feeding is normal. Closeness is normal. Baby not wanting to be put down is normal. Instead, we are told that our babies should sleep all night, only feed every 2 hours, and don't hold them too much because you'll spoil them, and definitely don't let them sleep in your bed. If I'd have listened to that I certainly wouldn't be where I am now on our breastfeeding journey.

Rori feeds first thing in the morning most days when she gets in my bed for a cuddle. Then she has a feed at bed time. Occasionally if she hurts herself or wakes in the night, she'll ask for milk then too.

This is normal too. No, having milk doesn't stop her eating foods, in fact she has a better appetite than Logan and he's 4! It's comforting for her. And to be honest, it's comforting for me too.

Here's a few pictures that were taken last month when we went to visit my brother on the coast. Rori got too hot and so I fed her sat on the side of the marina. My husband put one of these photos on his blog a few weeks ago and although most people had lovely things to say, some of the comments left a sour taste in my mouth. That I would be 'arrested' for doing that in some countries. That it's surprising to still be breastfeeding after 6 months as most Mum's go back to work by then (even though I haven't stopped working at all since Rori has been born!). 

To me, breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world. My breasts are made to produce milk that is specifically for my baby to drink and is tailored to nourish her exactly as she needs. How people are still finding it strange in this day in age is beyond me!

I will continue to breastfeed as long as Rori wants to, and I will continue to share my story and photos because this is my life. This is motherhood. This is natural. This is what my body is made to do. I will continue to be open and honest because if we can't use platforms such as our blogs and social media to promote real life, then what's the point?










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