Hello and welcome back to another instalment of The Baby Feeding Series, that features real stories from real parents who have experienced how hard and baffling feeding your baby can be. I want this series to be a place where parents can share their own experiences in the hopes that other parents who are struggling can feel less alone. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world but it's one of the most rewarding jobs too and so I want to share their stories.
Last week we had the lovely Emily from Fresh Milk Mama who kindly offered to share her weaning journey with her son. So much of her post resonated with me, but we soon found our feet and now she's a wonderful eater, with the odd days where she wants to be fussy. This week I would like to introduce the lovely Sherene from Mama's Doody who shares her beautiful breastfeeding journey with her children so without further ado, I'd like to hand it over to the lovely Sherene...
My Breastfeeding Journey
When I was pregnant with my first-born I knew I would breastfeed. I took a breastfeeding class put on by the hospital and the will that no formula would touch my baby’s lips. I had looked at the ingredients on a can of formula once and could barely pronounce some of the words. I was very leery of formula and the unknown ingredients it was made of.
My first-born latched on perfectly, I was very lucky. She instinctively knew what to do. As a first time mother, right after you deliver your precious little baby, the very first thing the baby wants is mama – and milk! I remember she nursed for what seemed like a while after she was born. She had always been very vocal about her needs and it started from infancy.
I breastfed her for 10 months solid with no hiccups. But then, around the 10-month mark I noticed I wasn’t pumping but an ounce of milk when at work. My body somehow just stopped producing the 3 – 4 ounces I was accustomed to at each pumping session. A baby always gets more when nursing versus when a mother is pumping, or so I was told. And I truly believe it. A machine cannot completely mimic that of your baby. Your body knows.
So with the decline in my milk supply, I was forced to turn to formula since I worked outside of the home. Any paediatrician will tell you that babies need milk – whether breast milk or formula up to the age of one. And so I started her on formula. And she was completely fine and I got a bit of relief from the pumping and nursing sessions each day.
When my second daughter was born, I thought I knew everything there was to know about breastfeeding. After all, I was a pro the second time around, you know – been there, done that. My little one, just like her sister, latched on no problem. But my little one was a much better sleeper as a new born than her sister was, and not so vocal when she was hungry. And when we got home from the hospital her latched had changed. She started to prefer one breast over the other and nursing started to hurt. Code red!
Enter Mastitis territory. If you are a nursing mother (in the early days) and your baby doesn’t wake to feed every 2 – 3 hours – wake your baby! If nursing is hurting more than a week – get help! Do what you have to do, but wake the baby or call a lactation consultant. This could save you big time! My little one went one day when she didn’t nurse for almost 5 hours and my body went a little berserk. I also at the time was applying lanolin cream day and night. Any article of clothing I wore hurt my breasts.
I remember waking in the middle of the night one night covered in sweat as if I had just dipped in a pool. The next day I thought I had the flu, but not only did I have flu like symptoms, I also had sore boobs.
After I met with my OB, she confirmed what I had already suspected – a breast infection. Also known as Mastitis. She put me on an antibiotic and shortly thereafter I was better. It is important to note you can continue to breastfeed when you have Mastitis.
While breastfeeding the second time around wasn’t a piece of cake, I continued to do so, and it did get easier. It was around the 11-month mark, just like what happened with my oldest, my milk started to decrease. It was at that time I stopped nursing and switched to organic formula. And my daughter stayed on that till about 14-months of age. And she was totally fine. I did feel better giving her organic formula versus non organic but it is pricier.
My little one will be 2-years-old this May and I think back to when I breastfed her. I had a lot more downs than ups with her during the beginning but, since she is becoming more vocal now, and more opinionated on what she eats, I long for those days I could simply give her breast milk.
She is a full blown toddler now and often says, “Eat, eat!” Repeatedly. Of course, she takes a few bites of something then wants something else, as toddlers do. It is in these moments when I thoroughly miss being able to give her a boob or bottle to fill her hungry belly.
For any woman reading this that is unsure of breastfeeding or scared to, don’t be. It might take work in the beginning, but if you know that going in, you’re less likely to fail. And remember, if you simply cannot breastfeed – formula will keep your baby alive. And in the end, that’s all that really matters. A healthy, happy baby.
A mother of two adventurous little girls that has oodles of patience whilst craving a balance with her children that's almost impossible. Sherene works part-time for the federal government in HR and most days she can keep it together but for the days that she can't, wine helps her stay in the zone. Sherene created Mama's Doody during her maternity leave with her second daughter, something that she never imagined. But, motherhood is something that you must rant about and even though Sherene cherishes being a mother to her little girls, motherhood is not for the fainthearted and so Mama's Doody was born.