Even before I became pregnant with my first child, I knew that if I was lucky enough to become a mother, I wanted to try breastfeeding.
Indeed, my son was born and with the advice of various people, both professional and personal, I began my journey into breastfeeding. Despite having read up about it during pregnancy, I found it challenging to grasp the correct position for attachment and whether my baby was 'getting enough' (a common concern of new mothers). I expected that with a little persistence a feeding pattern would establish itself naturally. The trouble was it didn't. Over a week later, I felt like I was going mad through lack of sleep as my baby never seemed satisfied and never slept and consequently, nor did I. I assumed, wrongly, that this was normal and continued hoping things would settle soon.
Now, this may be beginning to sound like an anti-breastfeeding testimony but I absolutely believed that it was the best thing for my baby, both in terms of bonding and attachment, nutrition, immunity and longer term health prospects.
It was 9 weeks after the birth that I attended a breastfeeding group and got support from a Homestart breastfeeding peer supporter. Their sensitive guidance and advice sustained me. They suggested that I see the Infant Feeding Coordinator Fiona Munro-Muotune. Fiona diagnosed tongue tie and I felt that I had the answer.
However what followed was two weeks of feeding and expressing the hind milk to allow my son to gain weight. I was just about sustaining it, we were both exhausted and I almost gave up but I persevered until, at 11 weeks my son's tongue tie was painlessly rectified at Tameside Hospital. Unfortunately although things improved thereafter, he needed to have his tongue tie snipped a little more at 16 weeks. Feeding improved again after this.
In all honesty I look back and don't really understand why I didn't give up, but I was resolute, determined to not let it beat me; I'd come this far and still believed in it being the best thing for my son. I'm so glad I didn't.
I fed my son for 18 months, he was happy and so was I.
Since then I have had a second child and feeding has been so much better. My daughter isn't tongue tied so it's been easier. I think generally I am more confident and relaxed and 19 months in I'm still feeding her.
I would advise anyone thinking of breastfeeding to reach out before and after birth, take all the advice and guidance , call people, talk to people, bother people and don't be swayed by the experiences of others; make your own decision, it's your body and your baby.
Breastfeeding is the best thing I have ever done and I am proud.