My formula to breastfeeding story ~ K
'When my pregnant with my 1st son I decided to breastfeed, it hadn't even been something I had considered before, I was from a family who had only bottle fed, I had never even met a breastfeeding mum. But almost as soon as I knew there would be a baby to feed something inside me just said "breast" there was no question in it. However I thought breastfeeding would be easy and natural and I never thought there was any reason to research it.
When he was born at a very healthy 8lb 15oz he latched well immidiately and fed well, but he fed a lot, something I now know to be normal. We left hospital the next day, and it was another day before the midwife came. So when I did see her and told her my 2 day old son seemed to be constantly feeding and I was sore her advice was "his a big baby you probably are not making enough milk for him, you can always combine feed" and i believed her, after all I'm only a B cup and my Dad had told me I'd never be able to breastfeed because of my small boobs.
I almost completely switched to formula the next day, but I woke up from a nap on the 3rd evening, my husband was down stairs trying to get our son to take a bottle and he was crying and my milk had come in suddenly while asleep and my breasts were agony and soaking my top. I rushed downstairs with one thought in my mind "get that baby on the breast, he'll stop them hurting". So we set about mixed feeding, formula during the day and breast at night, though on the occassions I couldnt settle him in the day I would latch him on and he would be happy, it was like magic! We carried on like that until he was 5 months old and, although he still woke in the night, he didnt want any milk. I was a bit sad but felt he had taken all he wanted from me.
My second son was born at home when my eldest was 20 months old. I knew more of what to expect and was more determined, though no more educated (I actually thought the only difference between breast and formula was a few antibodies!) I breastfed him for 6 weeks, sadly I was then diagnosed with Post-Natal Depression. I was put onto anti-depressants and told I couldnt breastfeed with them. My depression was so severe that I chose the medication.
After my third son was born I was determined that, all being well, I would breastfeed for 6 months. I discovered The Analytical Armadillo, and through her Dispelling Breastfeeding Myths, How Breastfeeding Works and a few others.
Through these I educated myself, with the education came the drive to feed for longer, and also the support and knowing I wasnt alone and if I needed help it was there.
Now I want to help others and share my knowledge. My son's a year old and the original 6 months was extended to a goal of a year, then 18 months, now the plan is to feed as long as he wants, another 6 months, another year or 2, as long as we are both happy.'
My Story - J
My first baby was an unplanned pregnancy and I was 20 years old. My mum wasn't overly supportive of my descision to keep him but I was more than ready to become a mum. My mum had breastfed me and my brother for 8 months each so I decided quite early on I would like to try it. As my pregnancy progressed my mum came round to the idea and we talked about breastfeeding. Unfortunately for me (and my son now) she told me it was very very hard and I would probably be better off bottle feeding him as she suffered terribly while bfing my brother and me. I decided that I would maybe pump the milk instead so bought a nice breastpump. One day while a friend was visiting she saw it and asked why I'd need it. I told her my plan and she gave me this look of horror. I was the first out of my large group of friends to have a baby and before he was even here they were looking at me like I was a bit nuts. I thought about the look and what my mum had said to me and the pump was gone within a week.
My son was born 10 days late and was formula fed from birth :-(
2.5 years later I gave birth to my second child. I decided this time being more confident as a mum and what to expect etc that I would give breastfeeding a go. She was born on the 19th September 2006 weighing a nice 9lb5oz. She was a fast labour but while in labour the midwife and I discussed feeding etc. She asked how I had fed my son and when I said bottle she said I would never stick at breastfeeding as it was much harder and more exhausting and that she'd get me a bottle for her. I wanted to put my foot down and say no but then a health professional was telling me I'd never stick it so maybe breastfeeding was as hard as my mum had said? She got her first feed from a midwife :-(
We got home after 24 hours and she was a lovely contented baby. When my milk came in on day 3 I felt so guilty so I pumped milk for her for 6 days. It was exhausting looking after a 2.5 year old, a newborn while trying to time expressing and feeding while washing bottles etc. I decided to stop and she from then on was formula fed. I had no idea that I could have put her on the breast and try to feed her myself.
3rd time lucky my second son was born on the 21st May 2009 weighing 9lb6oz. I had read everything I could about breastfeeding as he is my last child and I wanted to get it right this time. I finally got a natural birth after 2 inductions and he was a lovely easy birth. We got lots of skin to skin and I had a fab midwife who helped me to put him on to feed. He fed for 40mins and we were both elated. We went up to the ward at 5am and he had only had the one feed he got in the delivery. I didn't think this was a bad thing. I finally had another go at feeding him at 7am (5 hours after his birth) and he took a few sucks. He was so sleepy but was ok. The next day we battled on with the breastfeeding and things picked up a bit so we got home. My milk came in and things were going well. He was feeding well and only lost 8% of his birth weight. When he was 6 days old I got a horrible thumping headache and a sore tender bit on my breast. From all my research i knew this must be a blocked duct so I pumped and massaged and fed like mad and it went.
Fast forward 14 weeks and my son was still doing great and life was good. His weight gain was always on the lower side but no one was overly concerned. I spoke to the HV about it still being sore when feeding and she told me he was on fine so it must just be something wrong with me. I went to a BF drop in clinic who spotted a lovely tongue tie within 30secs of getting there. As by this point he was 16weeks he was deemed too old to have it snipped so we just kept it despite the weight issues and pain. At 6 months I ended up with recurrent mastitis for 6 weeks and we finally got rid of it and kept on going. For me this was a mental battle more than anything. I had got so far and nothing was going to stop me now. At 8 months he got teeth and bit a chunk out of my nipple but again I refused to stop.
My boy is now 22 months old and has 2-3 breastfeeds per day. My mum has given up asking when we will stop and so have many others I know but I know I am doing the best thing for him. He has eased my guilts over and over about the inabilities of my body to go into labour by coming on his own and he restored my faith in nature by being able to successfully breastfeed through many hurdles. We are aiming for self weaning when he wants and I already feel sad at the thought of not doing it anymore.'
My huge thanks to K & J for writing their inspiring stories down for this blog!
All bolds and italics are mine.
If you have a breastfeeding story you'd like to share, you can email it - if you'd prefer to remain anonymous, that's fine :)