The hotMaMa Diaries Blog - Breastfeeding blog and parenting blog

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  1. I have two boys, H is 3 in June and A is 6 months. I try and parent them both the same, although I am definitely more relaxed second time round (I haven't had him weighed since he was 6 weeks old..oops!) But there will always be one niggle of guilt there..I formula fed H. Before I start explaining, please let me say that I don't have a problem with formula and I'm not formula bashing. It kept my baby boy alive for the first year of his life, he's rarely ill and he's pretty smart too! The thing I do have a problem with though is the lack of support I had surrounding breastfeeding and that ultimately led to me formula feeding.

    I had a pretty difficult birth. It was an induction at 41+1, he was stuck in my pelvis and I ended up with an emergency section. I was 19 and a first time mum. I thought I had all the knowledge and I was ready to breastfeed. And I did, for 24 hours. Then on my second night, when H was building my supply, the midwives asked if I wanted them to take him and give him formula so I could sleep. I was exhausted and in pain so I agreed. I think this was the beginning of the end. From then on, I combination fed. I did see a breastfeeding support worker in hospital and she was amazing but once I was discharged, there was no help. A woman from the LLL (LaLeche League) came twice but she offered nipple shields and then refused to come again because he was over 6 weeks old. With no support, the breast milk feeds became less and less. I don't even remember the last time he fed from me. I feel so guilty about this because I should have been able to feed and sustain him. I am so angry that the support I needed wasn't there.

    So when I fell pregnant with A, I was so determined to succeed. The perfect prep stayed in the garage, I didn't buy formula and we only bought one box of bottles (for expressing). He fed perfectly off me and I got over the first painful few days and those awful after pains! But after a month, it was still painful. I saw my doctor who told me there was nothing wrong. Confused, I rang my health visitor out of desperation. I described the pain as though broken glass was being dragged through my nipple. Straight away, they said it sounded like thrush. Getting another appointment at my doctors was really difficult so I went to the pharmacy. They gave me oral gel and said it was ok to use on my nipples too. It isn't as it can't be absorbed properly to treat the thrush. In tears, I gathered up both boys and went back to the doctors. I cried and begged the receptionist to find me an appointment with a doctor that evening. By now, it was 5pm on a Friday and I knew if I didn't get help then, I'd give up over the weekend. Luckily, a wonderful doctor saw me and gave me the correct cream. I could have hugged him! Once the thrush had cleared up, it's been pretty smooth and we're still breastfeeding at 6 months!

    I've found wonderful support in online mummy friends (one is a trained breastfeeding support worker so she was invaluable to my success!) and a Facebook group too, especially in the early days. My mum and fiancé are amazing too, not letting me give up, letting me cry and moan whenever it's bad. There's also a breastfeeding support café 5 mins away, I haven't been but I know it's there if I need it.

    Breastfeeding isn't easy. It's painful, hard work and sometimes feels never ending. But it's so, so worth it. Feeding A is the time I have with him. Just me and him. These are moments I'll cherish forever.

    Read more from wonderful mama at her main blog over at

  2. Breastfeeding definitely didn’t come naturally to me. I never imagined that I would enjoy it and the whole idea of it really freaked me out.
    The fact that I would be producing milk from these two fatty lumps that had been almost completely useless, other than to give my clothing shape, was absurd to me.
    Also, shape was a strong word, as I had the breasts of a prepubescent, slightly chubby boy. I mean honestly, I was pushing it to fill a B cup. I tended to wear bralettes, because why not? I enjoyed my flat chest, but to be the only source of food and drink for a baby? Absolutely ludicrous.
    So then it happened, I gave birth. So, on Day 1 the baby drinks around 1mL of colostrum, it’s nothing to write home about. The biggest news was that the entire hospital staff had touched my ever expanding nipples.
    I left the hospital after three days and nothing much had changed, my nipples were now sore from this little pipsqueak’s hoover suction cups, aka lips, tearing my poor delicate areolas. Then, Day 4 something magical happened… I awoke to the sight of the breast implants I’d never wanted! Huge, augmented breasts filled with what seemed like gallons of milk!
    Without the prying eyes of the midwives and nurses we found our flow and with no more discussion of ‘latching’ and ‘attachment’ she eased into feeding, positioning herself without too much guidance.
    I held my daughter close to feed and as she stared up at me with her shiny, happy blue eyes I was grateful that these once useless fatty lumps had found their purpose. With a full tummy she fell asleep on my lap, tiny hands curled around my arm, my heart filled with joy.
    I found myself enjoying, so much, the time that we spent together feeding. Her little face looking up at me, often smiling and spilling sticky milk on my clothing. We cuddled a lot and I felt a sense of security strengthening within her, it was a safe place for her to be. At times she would just want to drink to be close and cuddle, overwhelmed in a world that was so big, new and strange.
    Feeding in public in Northern Australia, in the summer, was a challenge for me. I felt uncomfortable exposing myself and I felt a sense of judgement. Thankfully over the next two months we travelled to Italy, where I felt the freedom of feeding in the most beautiful piazzas in the world, under the safety of winter’s loose shirts and scarves.
    Sitting under the Duomo in Florence, with my hungry baby being fed was a great experience. At first it was daunting, but after walking for hours and offering only chamomile tea I knew that it was necessary. One of the busiest places in Italy, definitely the busiest in Tuscany, perched on an old stone bench I fed her… and nobody cared. The feeling of anonymity and acceptance at the same time was freeing.
    From that point on I felt empowered to feed wherever I needed to. Once, in a restaurant after lunch, once at the beach, but everywhere without fear and with pride of doing what was best for my little love.
    Now, almost six months later, I feel so content that I can be free from any feeling of shame or guilt, knowing that if she is hungry she should eat, as everyone else would. I feel so overwhelmed with the bond that we have created through feeding and so grateful that I can be both her source of nourishment and security, by doing just what nature intended.
    So, to those B-cup, useless lumps: I applaud you. You were so useful after all!

    Post submitted by Candice at A Pocket Full of Stars Blog.  Click here to read more of her blog.

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