Posted by Saturday, 23 September 2017

BREASTFEEDING STRUGGLES - IT'S NOT EASY


If you follow my blog, then you will know that Freddie was the first baby I breastfed as I bottle fed my two girls. Breastfeeding third time around was an easy decision as I wanted to do it. No one forced me, no one pushed me towards it, it was me that wanted to see how it goes and shockingly I was incredibly lucky that Freddie was able to latch from the very first feed. I remember feeling so happy and told my partner to take a photo of the first feed. I won't put it on here as my big hanging belly was out and I forgot, ha ha. But it's such a precious photo and one I will treasure forever.

Although breastfeeding felt easy right at the beginning, probably because of it being so new to me, I didn't know what was to come. A few days later when your boobs get huge, well for a small breast Mum (hello!) to have huge boobs was good (for me) but so painful. I didn't enjoy feeding when my breasts felt like they were going to explode, but I still had to feed through it. There were a few tears and a few sicky moments where I felt so nausea of the thought of him feeding as it just hurt so much. It calmed down a few days later, thankfully, and it started to get a little easier again.

But it wasn't as easy for that long. Freddie was a baby who liked to feed for around 30 minutes to an hour, have a 10-20 minute break then feed again, all day, every day. It was hard, but I honestly didn't mind it for the first 5 or 6 months. I struggled badly during the first two months, late July and August, as both girls were off school and so trying to entertain them and keep feeding Freddie was a day-to-day struggle. My partner was off for two weeks which I loved as he helped so much by taking the girls out for me so I could have some time to myself.


Housework was a huge problem. We had many arguments over housework. I honestly struggled to leave the sofa, I was in my own little world. But I look back now, and I don't regret one minute of it. I spent most of my days cuddling my baby boy, and I treasure those moments, so much. There's not one regret that I have for when Freddie was a young baby. I did the housework around Freddie and me. Although the washing baskets were filling up, the cleaning, washing, and tidying could wait, time couldn't.

Roughly 3-4 months later, Freddie was still feeding on me so often. He would never go 2 hours without a feed, and the health visitor did get a little concerned as to why he was feeding so often and suggested I start thinking about weaning him around the 4 month stage. I started weaning the girls around 4-5 months, so it had come to my mind. When Freddie was around 4 months old, I started him with fruit puree's first. He didn't take it that well, and I stopped for a few weeks. After a few weeks, he started feeding better. He was then slowly getting into a routine of feeding every 3 hours, then a few weeks more it was 4 hours.

As he was breastfed, it was me who settling Freddie to bed and feeding him through the day and through the night. It was hard. His sleep was getting worse, I was getting extremely sleep deprived, and then I started to change. I was miserable, exhausted, not thinking straight and I wasn't able to concentrate on anything or anyone. I remember feeling so mad at people if they told me that they were tired. I started to get jealous my partner going out with friends. I wanted to do that. In the first six to seven months I never really had the urge of wanting to go out. I enjoyed staying at home, in my own little bubble. But something just started in my head. I wanted to get my life back again.

I felt trapped.

I felt guilty for having that thought of wanting to go out with my friends.

I said no to my friends if they asked me to go over to theirs for a girly night, or even to the cinema because I was exhausted and knew I wouldn't be able to cope staying up late. I'm also not the chattiest or happiest person when I'm so tired.

I slowly started to hate breastfeeding.

I never wanted to get to the point of hating breastfeeding. I began to feel like some kind of crazy woman. I think a lot of it was because it would take around an hour or two hours for Freddie to actually settle to sleep, only for him to wake up an hour or less later and it was me who had to go back up and settle him. I cried at every night feed. I hated it.

His daytime feeds were getting better, and I was only feeding around 3 or 4 times a day, sometimes less. But his daytime naps were awful. One or two naps that only lasted 10 or 20 minutes. I was exhausted and couldn't remember such struggle with the girls, and I honestly do put it down with breastfeeding. A lot of it was a comfort, and if we ever planned another baby, there are a few things I would have done differently. But being a first time breastfeeding Mum was hard. It was all so new, and I did struggle, a lot.


I desperately wanted to reach the one year mark without having to introduce formula. But I failed that. I do feel guilty, but it made me a better person. A better Mum. Around 10 months old, I finally made the decision to start Freddie on formula in the evenings. It was still hard to accept, but I now feel 'free' in the evenings. I finally found that light at the end of the tunnel, one I couldn't see before. The sleep didn't really improve until a few months later and now 14 months on, he sleeps most nights. Starting formula meant I was able to get on with my work or relax a little as my partner helped by feeding and settling him to sleep. Combi feeding wasn't an easy decision or an easy journey either.

14 months on and I am still breastfeeding Freddie. The times I settle him to sleep during the evening, I feed him formula, and then he will breastfeed as a comfort, but I know he can do without as he does when my partner settles him. He will also have a feed around 10am just before his nap time, again it's probably a comfort as he can do without that too but I love the cuddles we have before his nap time. The other feed, a proper feed, he will have is his morning feed in my bed, when he wakes up. I absolutely love that time of day. It doesn't last long, probably around 10 minutes or less but I love it.

After struggling with separation anxiety with my baby boy, struggling with sleep deprivation and struggling with other problems, I am slowly feeling myself... just slowly. Although I've struggled a bit with breastfeeding, I still think it's been an amazing journey and I would do it all over again, by doing a few different things that I've learned from.



Posts you might like to read:
1 Month into my Breastfeeding Journey
6 Months of Breastfeeding
1 Year of Breastfeeding - an honest post
Why I Won't Stop Sharing My Breastfeeding Journey
I Was Nervous To Be A Breastfeeding Mum
Breastfeeding Must Haves
Tips For Surviving Cluster Feeding
11 Things I Didn't Know About Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding - Four Months
Tips For Breastfeeding In Public
Reasons Why I'm Glad I Started Breastfeeding
15 Things You Should Never Say To A Breastfeeding Mum
Breastfeeding - The First Two Weeks

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