After a brief hiatus last week, the Newborn Feeding Series is back! And I am so excited to be featuring Accidental Hipster Mum and her feeding stories for both of her children. Jenny’s blog was one of the first I ever read, and I continue to enjoy reading it regularly, I’m thrilled that she’s had the time to write something for me amidst the busyness of her Mum-student-hipster life.
Nine days after my 22nd birthday, my daughter arrived. It was terrifying and confusing, and I didn’t feel old enough to be a mum but she was gorgeous. Despite feeling in over my head, I’d already made some decisions before she had arrived and I knew I wanted to breast feed.
The midwives were all seemingly impressed that I had planned to breastfeed. There’s always been a big drive on it in our area and they were thrilled I’d listened to what I’d been told. I had a romantic notion that I’d exclusively breastfeed for six months and my baby would reward my dedication with sleeping well and never crying. Obviously I was insane.
Three days in, I had only about two hours in total and she just cried when she wasn’t feeding, if she did go to sleep it was on me or not at all. Plus, breastfeeding was harder than I thought, I had trouble with latching and it really hurt!
Because she was my first baby, I was inexperienced and planning on breastfeeding, and had loads of stitches (loads) I was getting a visit from a midwife every day. By the fourth day, my mum and sister had come to the rescue and brought me round some formula to ‘top her up’.
The difference was incredible and she would sleep in 3 hour spells but when I had told the midwife of this life saving discovery, her face fell. She had told me that I shouldn’t give her formula too, that I wouldn’t make any more milk and I had undone all of my hard work.
After she had gone, I was really upset, I didn’t want to stop breastfeeding but I didn’t want to leave my little girl hungry. My mum reassured me that making sure she was fed was the most important thing and to just do what I think, after all mama knows best.
My mama did know best, I’m not sure about myself, my first two years of parenthood are a blur of me not sleeping and not knowing how best to parent.
My little girl was 10lb 8 when she was born, that’s pretty big! I just couldn’t match her appetite and feeding her formula alongside breastfeeding was best for me. It ultimately didn’t affect the breastfeeding and I stopped after 5 months. I wasn’t quite ready to stop, but I was going through a stressful time in my life and the milk supply just disappeared.
Fast forward five years and I had a bouncing baby boy. Another big baby, 10 lb 9 this time, he was hungry! Because I knew from past experience that formula was always available as a fall back plan, I tried to breastfeed again. Again I needed to top up his feeds and this time I didn’t bother to tell the midwives, I thought I’d spare myself from any disapproving looks.
This time, I already knew what I was doing, my boy slept wonderfully (although I think that’s just one of those things) I breastfed for ages. I think it was something like 15 or 16 months, which was something I hadn’t planned for. I tried to stop lots of times since he was about 9 months old and I am currently enjoying having my body back and wearing clothes without a sagging neckline.
It’s strange to think I had such differing experiences with breastfeeding, although they were both positive as it turned out. I wonder what will happen next time I have a baby?
I feel like Jenny’s experience really highlights the inadequacy of the support given from some healthcare professionals. So what if you top up your feeds with formula? THAT’S WHAT IT’S FOR. And as long as your babies aren’t hungry that’s all that matters. I’m with you on Mama knowing best too. I was just shy of 22 when I had George and I didn’t have a bloody clue what was going on half the time, thank god for my Mum and her seemingly endless knowledge on babies!
You can find Accidental Hipster Mum on Twitter @hipsterbloggo, Instagram @accidentalhipstermum and also Facebook as Accidental Hipster Mum. And of course you should go and check out her blog Accidental Hipster Mum, she covers everything from parenting to crocheting, weightloss to beauty tips – it’s fab! She’s also just set up a new linky, #hobbymums, where you can link up all of your non-parenting posts, it doesn’t have to be a hobby, just anything you enjoy doing/writing about. Find the first week here.
I’d love to feature your Newborn Feeding experience! Please get in touch if you have a story to share at firstname.lastname@example.org.