I had the highest highest hopes for breastfeeding my baby, on top of the endless health benefits for both her and I, it seemed so natural, easy and essentially the right thing to do! That's what you hear isn't it?
So as you can imagine I was over the moon when, at just a few hours old Cora was latching on amazingly and generally loving life feeding from me! It absolutely blew my mind that I, who struggles to feed myself on a day to day basis was feeding this child - just me! No bottles, no artificial help - just me and my boobs!
This carried on great, as hubby was still off work on paternity he would sit up and chat with me in the night whilst I was feeding (which was a godsend as she seemed to be feeding for hours). Although not fully comfortable whipping my boob out in front of family, I was happy to be in the same room with a muslin over me.
There was pain that came with breastfeeding I won't lie, my boobs were similar to Dolly Parton's - I could only compare how they felt to someone who's just had a breast enlargement - absolutely rock hard. The leakage was something else and I felt sweaty all the time! Cora latching on wasn't my favourite time either, the pain was sometimes toe curling but this was completely balanced out by the goodness I felt I was giving her, and her little eyes looking up at me! I didn't mind feeling like the only ones awake at 3am, it was our time.
It came to Day 6, still on a high with motherhood and how perfect Cora was when her reaction to my milk changed - it was almost as if it tasted bad! What followed was an afternoon and night of screams, tears from both of us and a call to Triage at the hospital as I was just so fearful that she wasn't getting anything to drink from me! I felt like I'd broken her, nothing was settling her and as you know with a newborn there are limited settling options!
We tried giving her some cool boiled water (we were advised by the midwife the next day that that was completely the wrong thing to do, aaargh) and then resorted to giving her some ready made Aptamil we had bought just in case. She seemed to gulp this down which only made me more distraught as she must have been so hungry.
When our midwife came to see us the following day for her routine check, we were a world apart from when she'd seen us on Day 1 at home, we were both shattered, quite upset and worried and just wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing for our girl! After a discussion on how I felt, she said what I wanted to hear - had I thought of trying bottles?
It felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
Yes, I had tried breastfeeding support groups and if I'm honest I probably could've persevered - however I'm very conscious that my stress at breastfeeding, the worry at not knowing how much our little bundle was drinking and feeling self conscious out and about - could've passed onto Cora and in turn made her quite anxious, I wanted feeding her to be a lovely experience for both of us.
So we went to bottles, Cora responded really well to the change and despite the pang I get when I see mums at our baby groups breastfeeding with ease, I know our decision was the right one for us at the time. I will definitely try again with our next baby and can only hope it goes a bit easier but if not I'm happy that I'm feeding my baby in the best way for them!