Hi! Tell us a little bit about yourself (how many kids, about your family and blog etc)
Hiya! I’m Abigail Bryony (Abbie) and I run a family themed blog over at www.LilypadandBow.com. I have a 4 year old daughter called Lily and last January we welcomed our baby boy Archer who is now 11 months. I started my blog 5 years ago whilst still at uni so I could document my pregnancy with Lily and loved it so much that I’m still blogging today.
I tried to breastfeed my daughter Lily when she was born but it just didn’t work for us. I was pretty young and not even 100% sure I wanted to breastfeed I just knew it was what everyone expected me to do. As my midwife at the time kept telling me. I struggled on with mixed feeding (breast and bottle) till Lily was about 4 months and then switched to bottle full time and it was such a relief! This time round with Archer I was more informed and wanted to give breastfeeding a try again. This time I felt like it was more my decision than anyone making the decision for me. I also told myself that if I struggled with it as much as last time then I wouldn’t push myself, I’d just stop with no guilt, and I think that lack of pressure I put on myself this time round really helped me to successfully breastfeed. I’ve had a great breastfeeding journey with Archer and it’s been much smoother than it was with Lily as he’s been a good feeder from the start. He’s 1 in a couple of weeks and I’m still feeding him with no signs that he’s stopping any time soon.
What are your top 3 breastfeeding essentials?
A comfy pillow for the early days. Whether for your own back or for the baby to lie on. In those newborn days a lot of cluster feeding happens and you can be sat still for quite a while so it’s important to be comfortable! Essential #2 would be Lactation cookies (I recommend Boobix.) Whenever my son has teeth cutting through he goes really off milk and my supply will naturally drop. Lactation cookies always help me when my supply gets low and they taste so good too! Nipple shields also helped me with latch problems the first few weeks so I would have that as an essential for the early days.
Do you feed in public? If so, was it hard to begin with? If not, why don’t you?
I don’t often. I have done a few times at baby groups, doctors appointments and sometimes in the car but it doesn’t happen regularly. I wish it didn’t make me feel self conscious but it does! I’d love to be one of those empowering woman who doesn’t give a crap but I’m not haha. Not that anyone does give a crap, I haven’t had anything negative about public feeding, in fact no one bats an eyelid really. It’s just inside my own head!
Have you ever bottle fed your other children? Which do you find easier? Bottle or Breast? And why?
I bottle fed my daughter after 4 months of trying to crack breastfeeding. I don’t think one is easier than the other really – they’re both easier in different ways. Bottle feeding is much easier in terms of the baby not solely relying on you. I could leave my daughter with her dad and not have to worry whereas I can’t do that with my son as he breastfeeds so often. Breastfeeding is easier when you’re out and about I think. With my daughter whenever we went out I had to make sure I had packed bottles, flask, formula etc and it could be a right faff as there was always something I’d forget to pack. And then there’s all the sterilizing too!
Please tell us the easiest and the hardest thing about breastfeeding
The easiest thing about breastfeeding is that it’s like a multi purpose tool haha. I can soothe my son when he hurts himself or feed him to sleep when he’s teething as well as all the health benefits. The hardest thing is probably that he can’t be fed by anyone else as he refuses bottles. Which has made me feel trapped on a few occasions although it's worth it for the amazing bond that we have.
If there was any advice you could give to someone who’s considering breastfeeding, what would it be?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If it isn’t working for you and is making you unhappy then switch. Fed is always best no matter what way and it shouldn’t risk your own mental health. If it isn’t working for you it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It’s just that every baby is different. I’ve had one baby who refused to latch and just plain wasn’t interested and another who was a great feeder from day 1. Yet I did nothing different with either of them. Not your fault.