Look for more Mummies in the Spot Light in the coming weeks!
First up is Emma.... and this is her breastfeeding story, in her own words:
Emma is a 26 year old single Mummie, from the South West England. She has one son who is now 18months old.
Breastfeeding???? No thanks! Boobs like empty crisp bags and a screaming child attached to my ta-ta's 24 hours a day...? No thank you, so much.
It was March 2009 and I was 12 weeks (ish) pregnant. It was the first time anyone had asked me how I would feed my new baby, and the first time I thought about it, really. I had glanced at breastfeeding mothers with little more than a flitting interest in what their baby looked like, but in that instant, I knew I wasn't going to be one of THOSE ladies. No way.
My mum agreed with me - in fact she furnished me with the crisp bag line! My best friend agreed with me, advising me it was ''weird'' and ''a little bit wrong''. My mother in law (of sorts), however and my partner, however did not agree with me. Partner pushed.Mother in law dug.
''When babies breastfeed...'' said ma in law, a wicked glint in her eye ''they touch your chest and look into your eyes. When babies bottlefeed...''she went on '' they hold the bottle and have a glance around the room''
''You're being selfish'' said partner ''What is a few days out of your life, to give the baby the best start?''
In June 2009 (ish) after 3 months of constant pressure from the united front,I caved and sulkily agreed that I would ''give it a go''. I stated that I would feed for only three days.Maybe two weeks. And that was it.
In July 2009 (ish) I had a row with my partner when he suggested I had said I may only feed for two weeks maximum. ''What's the point in that?'' I screeched. ''My milk would barely be in by two weeks and there's no point in doing all that hard labour (geddit?!) for two weeks!''
Some may say that these were pregnancy hormones rearing their ugly head.... some may say that my motherly instinct was beginning to give me a well needed kick up the bum.
In August 2009(ish) I went to the department store and purchased a steam sterilizer and 5 bottles. I advised my Ma-in-law that it was in case I ''Couldn't'' feed- daring her to disagree with me! Interestingly enough I did not purchase or even think about purchasing formula. Some may say that Baby Brain was advancing on me? Some may say my motherly instincts decided that I would forget about it...
In early September 2009 (ish) I made my birth plan, stating I was going to be breastfeeding and required immediate skin to skin and feeding as soon as the baby was born. I was categorical about this, and bought 3 nursing bras at a total of £65!! I had forgotten about my two week rule... Baby brain again, or my motherly instincts preparing me for a long haul?
September 24th 2009 4:03am, my son (who I shall call Cherub - for this purpose) was born after a 5.5 hour labour weighing 6lbs 2oz. As I cradled this tiny, perfect human in my arms and saw him gaze up at me, I knew that my life was never going to be the same again. I looked around at the people in the room, and my partner and knew that from now on, my life revolved solely around my Cherub and that was it. Caught up in The Moment? Or my motherly instincts showing me how my life could be?
We had problems, Cherub and I. It began with the first feed - ''Ouch''I complained. No one had told me that the first few sucks hurt - I was under the impression that if it hurt I was doing it wrong. ''Take him off and try later'' said my Midwife. Over the course of 24 hours, I had various people come to attempt to get him to feed - all of them leaving after a few mins and telling me to try later.
You know what? Maybe it was the pethidine, but I didn't stress, I didn't cry and I certainly didn't think about formula - Not once did it enter my mind. And Cherub, well, he slept pretty much constantly for 24 hours! Didn't appear that formula was on his mind, either!
After 24 hours, I expressed for him, buying me more time and the next day I proceeded to another hospital to take advantage of their lactation consultants. Once I realised what I was supposed to be doing, it came so easily to me! Cherub and I would lay in the hospital bed gazing at each other whilst he filled his tum and I found myself hoping for a little longer than two weeks!
Once back home, I took advantage of any help I could get. Peer supporter, community health visitors...any health professional that came within a 5 mile radius was invited in to check if my son was latching and feeding correctly! I was a happy, blissed out and contented mummy, with a rapidly gaining baby and boobies full of rocket fuel!
blankie and had our final daytime feeding session. I watched him feeding and thought back to how much of a crutch it had been for me - my partner was leaving, having decided that he was no longer in love with me and in the midst of all the pain and upheaval, having a 20 min feeding session with a warm squishy bundle of fairy soap powder scented love, was one of the only things I could rely on and feel happy about. Sappy nonsense? Or My motherly instinct reminding me what I was existing for?
November 2010. Cherub at thirteen and a half months refused the last bedtime booby session. It seemed that I was to end my journey here. We kept up morning, and evening (and sometimes cheeky feeds in the day instead of formula) for 9 months binging my breastfeeding time to just shy of fourteen months! I look back on those days and photos with a massive smile and eternal joy - I did what was right for Cherub, and pushed through my barriers and out of my comfort zone, to provide it for as long as HE wanted it!
The funniest part of this story is that when my Cherub turned 3 months old, I had a very confused mother in law saying ''But HOW can you still be producing enough?!'' and Cherubs father sending me a text message when Cherub turned 12 months saying ''Have you considered that maybe it's not doing as much for him, as it once was?'' So how did I keep producing and how was it still benefiting Cherub after 12 months??
Luck or motherly instinct??
Thank you Emma for sharing your story!