This evenings post is written by the lovely Rebekka who has since being involved with the project in 2015 had another little bundle of joy.
My breastfeeding journey began 2 and a half years ago when I gave birth to my daughter.
When I got pregnant I hadn’t really given any thought to feeding but my fiancé had and
asked to breastfeed for the first couple of weeks as he had read it was beneficial for them.
The first 24 hours were a bit rocky as my daughter was born after a long labour and seemed
very sleepy and unwilling to feed. The midwives were insistent she must feed every 2 hours
and as she wasn’t they wanted to try feeding her from a cup. I agreed to donor breast milk
being used rather than formula. I remember watching with disappointment and worry as they
tried to force milk down her and worrying that I wasn’t good enough. However after 24 hours
she suddenly starting latching and we were allowed home.
I was very lucky that for me, breast feeding was easy. I only had a couple of weeks of pain.
There was some worry that she wasn’t latching properly as she made some strange noises
however after a couple of midwife visits and a trip to the local breast feeding support group
we all decided she was just a very noisy feeder! She was an efficient feeder and I had more
than enough milk for her, often having to express. I was happy to reach 4 weeks than 8,
never really thinking about stopping, it just seemed so easy and natural. We started
combination feeding around 9 months when I returned to work and she happily switched
between breast feeding and bottle feeding both with expressed milk and formula.
Our journey came to an end when she reached 14 months. She just stopped one day of her
own accord. I was sad as we had never really had a ‘last feed’ however on reflection I think it
was a relief that she made that decision on her own and I never had to refuse her milk. I
believe the reason she stopped was because I was three months pregnant and there is
research to suggest the milk starts to change back towards colostrum so to her it probably
tasted a little funny!
Six months later my son came into the world and despite my worries about a second child it
was love instantly. Unlike my daughter my son was feeding greedily at just half an hour old.
He spent the next 24 hours feeding a lot which meant that I suffered more with the teeth
gritting, toe curling pain of sore nipples! But after a couple of weeks it passed. Again I was
lucky that feeding seemed easy for me and I love the connection I have with my son.
There have been times where I’ve questioned if it is easier as my son seems to associate
my breast with comfort as well as feeding a lot more than my daughter did meaning it can be
difficult for others to settle him. He is also very reluctant to take a bottle. I returned to work
when he was 7 months old and he tends to not drink much at all in the day and then feed
with me all evening! However I would not want to deny it him when he clearly needs it still.
I don’t have a time frame in mind for how long we will continue though it will definitely be for
a year. I think that he will want to feed beyond that, some people say boys are clingier and in
my experience that’s true, he still loves the boob as much as he did as a newborn! What I do
know is that he will be my last child so when he does finish feeding my breadtfeeding
journey will end completely. I will try to enjoy every minute of it and I feel very blessed to
have been able to do it with both my children
I love low early morning light, so I was absolutely delighted to head to llangollen on a beautiful summer early morning to catch the first light and gorgeous breastfeeding shots with Sarah and Freya.
” For me there was no question if I would breastfeed, it was the best thing for my babies and the natural thing to do so I knew I wanted to do it. What I didn’t realise was how challenging and life changing it would be. It was painful, frustrating, exhausting and the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and at the same time it was maternal, beautiful, perfect and has created a special bond with my children which will continue long after the end of my breast feeding journey. I know without any doubt I have given my children the best start they could ever have in life and it will have benefitted them in many ways I probably won’t ever understand. Thank you Jade for photographing some of these precious moments for us, a lot of which, in all honesty, will be forgotten in the fog of sleepless nights. ”
This mornings lovely story is written by Sadie,
” I always wanted to give breastfeeding a go. I’d seen a few friends breastfeed their babies and thought how easy they made it seem. Having a ready supply of milk without the need for mixing formula and all the paraphernalia that comes with bottle feeding was an appealing option for me. So I went into it with an open mind and thought ‘well I’ll give it a go’…
As soon as Edie was placed upon my chest she started pecking her way towards my breast and I remember marvelling at how my little bundle of joy, only a few minutes old, knew exactly what to do. I on the other hand did not!
So that first night in hospital was spent trying to get to grips with getting the right latch. At home, I soon began to experience pain (a lot of pain)!! I can remember thinking ‘no one tells you about this’. It hurt to stand under the shower, it hurt to dress, and it hurt like hell to feed my baby. I invested in Lansinoh cream by the bucket load, Lansinoh heat pads and nipple shields, you name it I had it! I was very lucky to have the support of community midwives but those first few weeks were hell on earth! I was checked for Mastitis and Thrush but no one could really explain why it was so painful to feed on my left side. Luckily I found the nipple shields helped and just about made it bearable, and so with a lot of perseverance, tears and gritted teeth, slowly the pain subsided and I was able to feed normally on both sides. Finally I could start enjoying my breastfeeding experience.
Strangely, as awful as it was for those first few weeks, I never wanted to give up because it just felt so natural and also being able to feed without any pain on my right side meant I knew exactly how it should feel. I don’t think I was a natural, I struggled with the whole feeding in public, my anxiety levels rocketing when I knew Edie was about to wake from a nap. I tried expressing with little success, but I can remember thinking if I can just do it for 6 months I’ll be happy…well Edie had turned 1 by the time our breastfeeding journey came to an end. I know for some, they really miss breastfeeding and the special bond it brings, but for me, it felt quite liberating to have my boobs back.
There is real sense of achievement knowing that I was able to feed my baby for the first year and I would recommend it to anyone but I can also see how it might not work for everyone. “
Breastfeeding portraits flintshire
” Name one piece of information you wish you had known about Breastfeeding before you had your baby ”
We had some fantastic responses
1. It’s hard chuffing work … soul destroying at times, but you’ll never regret getting through it, and will yearn even once they’re all grown up to “pop them on” with every cell of your being!!! (Liz Grayston Mother of 4 )
2. Always have a big glass of water near for every feed so important to keep hydrated try and give expressed milk once and while so baby can stay with daddy too and get use to bottle teat so if mummy needs to go somewhere for any length of time he’ll be okay and have that comfort (Roisin O Donnell)
3. Watch videos of people latching their babies on YouTube! It really, really helped me to see how it was done. And that you can be helped to breastfeed without the person helping touching you (Tessa Glover)
4. That I would spend 6 weeks obsessing about getting the baby to click with it but 2 years trying to get him to stop (Elizabeth Newmarch)
10. That is was going to be really really hard for 6-8 wks…..But massively worth it (Katie Lyttle )