My Breast Feeding Experience

Several minutes old
Several minutes old

Prior to giving birth to my daughter Savanna, I had been fully educated about breastfeeding by my midwife and my husband and I had attended a breast feeding information session at our local women’s hospital (including practising feeding a doll with a knitted boob!).  Having been bottle fed as a baby myself and having had friend’s who had not been able to manage breast feeding for various reasons I had adopted the attitude that I would give it a go but if I couldn’t manage then it wouldn’t be the end of the world.  To be honest, my thoughts were mainly around labour and how I was generally going to manage as a first time mum, so feeding was something everyone else seemed to be more concerned about than me.

Savanna's first feed.  Exhausted mummy!
Savanna’s first feed. Exhausted mummy!

After a relatively quick labour (4 hours active) my daughter was born in a birthing pool.  I was exhausted and unfortunately had a nasty tear which took several hours to sort.  By the time I was left alone with my daughter and husband I was so hungry and tired that when the breast feeding advisor came into the room to see if Savanna would latch on, I felt like I didn’t give things much thought and just went through the motions.  Savanna had a good feed and I remember the midwife and advisor telling me that I had done really well.  I felt too zoned out to appreciate what was going on.

I ended up breast feeding Savanna for 13 months and she was exclusively breast fed for 6 months until she started on food.  I used to regularly express milk for when I was not around or if my husband wanted to give her a bottle during the night and I only introduced formula at 11.5 months just to take the pressure off as I went back to work on a short term contract.

Would I do it again? Yes, although maybe not for as long.  Was it difficult? Yes.  I never experienced pain or mastitis or anything like that but it was tiring at times, particularly in the first few months as I could not seem to eat enough to support the both of us and was permanently hungry.  Also there is the fact that nobody else could share the load as I was the food source, which means you always have to be around during the day and the night feeds are down to you too.

Despite the hunger and exhaustion breast feeding gave me a special, unique bond with my daughter and it was a  wholesome feeling to think that I was keeping her alive and healthy with my milk.  Savanna thrived on it and had no difficulty gaining weight.  Another big plus for me was the fact that I could feed her anywhere at anytime and didn’t need any equipment to do it.   There are also all of the much publicised health benefits for both you and your child that come with breast feeding.  I guess that I like the concept of keeping things natural and feeling that Savanna is getting the best start in life.

I would definitely recommend giving breast feeding a go although remember that it isn’t the right option for everyone so don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work for you and your baby.   The other thing that I would say is to make use of the support available through local children’s centres and breast feeding advisers/clinics if you need them.  Good luck!

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