I can't believe it's been a whole year since I have started breastfeeding. It was my plan all along as I didn't see any other option and I'm so glad I stick to it.
It wasn't as easy as I thought, those women who have it easy are extremely lucky!
L was reluctant to nurse and I didn't have enough colostrum. I had to hand express into syringe and what I had (1ml or so at a time) to give to L, absolutely overwhelming moment for me as I was so sure that breastfeeding is an extremely easy- express and feed.
The first night I have spent hand expressing every 2 hours thanks to the student midwife.
On day 2 when we came home I had high hopes for my dutch electric pump and I was absolutely devastated to see the only milk drop I had was stuck in the pump tube!
A week later I was sent to the local children centre to see a breastfeeding counsellor who fixed our latch which meant that at least one problem was out of the way.
My supply on the other hand wasn't getting better, I was eating enough, drinking plenty, tried nursing tea and was breastfeeding L every 2 hours, but I was and still convinced that I don't have enough milk. None of the pumps worked for me and for the first 4-5 months I had to hand express which I wasn't enjoying as I didn't see much coming out plus it was a very time- consuming process.
L wasn't putting much weight you see and I was under lots of pressure from community midwives and health visitors, some of them were shaking their heads in disappointment when L put only 100 grams in 1 week, others tried to encourage saying how good I'm doing but if by 6 weeks she won't put her birth weight they would insist on topping up with formula.
I'm not against formula, but it was never my plan to give up, but I didn't feel supported from the community midwives at all, in fact they made me doubt myself. Even now I have days when I'm not convinced L had enough milk or she is getting any, the bad memories of early days are stuck in my head! That's why it is so important to have a network support, someone to reassure you, your family, community midwives, breastfeeding support workers and keep persevering!
People were right saying that it gets easier, it does! I absolutely love the connection we have when I breastfeed L. I try to breastfeeding her first thing in the morning, before or after her naps (we have 2 during the day) and before she goes to bed. I can see how much she enjoys these moments as well, how she is used to it as her hand is always in my bra and how her face lights up when she sees a boob, all the pain, stress and struggles are absolutely worth it!
I'm not sure yet how long our breastfeeding journey will last but I'm certainly not stopping yet!