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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 Carol from It's A Kid's Life blog who shared her breastfeeding experience with her youngest daughter and talk about how the differed from one another. This week we have the lovely Louise from Lou Ekai who has kindly offered to share her experience as a breastfeeding mama and offer advice in the hopes to help other Mama's who may be struggling. So with that I will hand you over to the lovely Louise.
My pregnancy was a shock, and it certainly was a surprise! I had every single emotion running through my body. Throughout my pregnancy, I was terrified. I tried to stay optimistic, but going through pregnancy knowing I will be a single mum and when you're the only friend in your friendship group to become a mum, it was a lonely experience.

Half way through my pregnancy after dealing with dreadful morning sickness and anaemia, I was contacted by the family nurse scheme, who worked with teenage and young mums.My family nurse filled me with so much knowledge; I was no longer bored as I wanted to research everything she was telling me. The different methods of feeding popped up in one of our discussions.

If I'm honest, I didn't really think about how I would feed my baby. I was very open-minded about it and didn't give it much thought until I spoke to my family nurse. She put me in contact with a breastfeeding peer supporter to have a discussion and to learn more information. I decided to try breastfeeding after hearing all the information that the peer supporter told me. I was told me to get in touch when I have had my baby, so she could support me.

At 36 weeks, my waters broke. Some of my family members suspected I was in early labour because of how much discomfort I was in and how emotional I was all weekend. I was also nesting and wasn't acting like my normal self.

At 1:30pm, he arrived, beautiful, tiny and healthy! My labour went quick according to the midwives; I honestly thought it was the longest and hardest experience of my life due to my blood pressure rocketing through the roof and my little boy mimicking my heartbeat. I couldn't get up and move around to deal with the pain like I wanted to, I just had to be laid flat on the bed while they monitored me. I was just thankful he was here, healthy and safe.

Our first feed was quick as he was exhausted due to the pethidine I had during my labour to help with contractions. In the hospital, I couldn't get latching right. I tried every position possible, and my little one was so sleepy the midwives even had trouble syringe feeding him with the colostrum I expressed. I gave up and told the midwives to try the bottle, and I attempted breastfeeding the next day.

During my stay in the hospital and the first two days at home - until the breastfeeding peer supporter came to see me - I was having trouble with feeding, and it drove me crazy. I felt guilty if I didn't try to succeed, I felt like a bad mum.

I was also battling with my own mum who kept pressuring me to just give him formula, but I was so determined to breastfeed; It was emotionally exhausting. When the peer supporter visited, she checked my positioning and said that was fine, but my little one just couldn't latch properly so she suspected a tongue tie. I was then referred to see a specialist, and in the meantime she suggested that I try the nipple shields.

Success! Nipple shields saved my breastfeeding journey! My boy was gaining weight, and I felt like I had succeeded, I felt proud of myself. When we had seen the specialist, I found out he wasn't tongue tied. They thought my difficulty feeding was due to him being born slightly early. I wasn't bothered because I was breastfeeding fine through the nipple shields.

At 6 months, he decided to latch on his own without the shields which made things easier.

If the breastfeeding peer supporting team didn't approach me, I would have probably chosen formula, which isn't a bad thing. I think it's important to have a great support network. He's now 16 months old, and I'm still breastfeeding. My goals are to wait until he's ready to stop.

The hardest thing throughout my feeding journey was having to justify myself to people who kept pressuring me to give him a bottle. It was more so the elder generation that would say, "how would you know he's getting enough? It's cruel."People will say, "so he's still on the breast then? Just give it up!" But I'm adamant about continuing until he's ready to stop.

I find public feeding difficult because people tend to stare even when I do cover up. I think it's a shame that breastfeeding is sometimes looked at as disgusting because breasts are sexualized in this society. It doesn't matter how you choose to feed your baby. You have to do what's optimum for you and your baby, as long as they're healthy and putting on weight nothing else matters. There's this whole divide between feeding with the bottle or breast, mothers should be able to do what they feel is best without being judged.

About Louise
Louise is a single and proud mother to one, her adorable son. Louise has only just embarked on her blogging journey recently and already has a keen passion for blogging. Aside from writing about all the things that pop in her head during the night feeds, she likes to write about her life, being a single parent and beauty. Louise feels that having her own space on the internet is great due to all the encouraging comments you get from other people who have been through similar times like her, which in turn gives her so much confidence as a mother and a blogger.

You can find both Louise over at Lou Kai
Don't forget to go and give Louise's social media platforms a little like or follow
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