22 August 2017

It Feels So Right, Hold Me Tight

In honour of Breastfeeding Awareness Week, which runs from 1st-7th August (I know I’m a little late but a baby keeps you very busy!) I thought I would share my own breastfeeding experience, despite how brief it may be.
For me, breastfeeding is one of the most natural ideas in the world. Even before I was pregnant I had planned on breastfeeding. There was no doubt in my mind. Every time I read an article condemning breastfeeding women in public I was angered to my soul. How dare someone say that a woman feeding her child that way was ‘wrong’ or ‘voyeuristic’. It enraged me. I have always been so passionate about a woman’s right to breastfeed and I was going to do the same.
When I found out that I WAS PREGNANT AT LAST I didn’t even consider any alternatives. I bought all the equipment, read all about it, bought my nursing bras and was all set to go. Talking to other mums who had breastfed their own children definitely helped me and cemented the idea even further in my mind. I was ready. Bring on the baby!
Then my labour happened and it was nothing like I had planned at all. Instead of the natural birth I had planned, I was induced a week after my due date, in labour for 15 hours, then had to have emergency surgery to deliver my child. This was all after having spent 4 days in the hospital the week before with high blood pressure, everyday being told ‘today’s the day!’. That night I fed him with no issues. It felt so incredibly natural and I was completely overjoyed. The midwives on duty were fantastic, understanding that this was my first time breastfeeding and, despite my best efforts and reading material, I was still completely at a loss as what to actually do. Never underestimate the experience and knowledge of your midwives – they do know what you’re going through and will be able to help you with anything, including breastfeeding. 

Then the anaesthetic and the cocktail of drugs I had been given throughout my labour wore off and it was a completely different story. The pain was unbelievable and I wasn’t able to continue to breastfeed. As much as I wanted to I just couldn’t and at the time it was one of the worst feelings in the world.
I felt like a complete failure. All this time I had planned on breastfeeding and when it came down to it I wasn’t able to. There’s nothing more disheartening, especially when this is what you’ve planned for, you have all the hormones running through you, the anticipation of the birth is over AND you’re exhausted after, not just a long labour, but a long pregnancy. Remember what you’ve put your body through! And you’ve come out the other side stronger and with a gorgeous baby!

Looking back on it I realise that it was a good thing. I had to look after myself. Dara was still being well fed and I was giving myself time to heal and repair my body. It also meant that Benet could do his fair share and do the night feeds instead of me having to get up every night too!
I’m not saying that I won’t breastfeed when we decide the time is right for baby number 2 but this time round it wasn’t to be. This is certainly not designed to make anyone feel that breastfeeding is not for them. You know your own bodies. You know what’s best for you. I still firmly believe that breastfeeding is the best way to connect and bond with your baby as well as giving them the best nutrients but sometimes it’s just not right, and it wasn’t right for me this time.
Written by Clare from @pinkshoelacesblog 


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