The Guardian - Breastfeeding is tough


This article (Don’t infantilise pregnant women. Tell them how tough breastfeeding can be) was submitted by a member of 'The Project', who also struggled with breastfeeding. Having found the article resonate closely with her own experiences, she wanted to share below:
I remember the moments after our baby was born and the midwife placed her on my chest to feed, she commented that she appeared to latch well and everything felt great, amazing! We couldn't have been more overjoyed! We had our long awaited daughter!
Whilst in the hospital I was eager to get as much help as possible getting her latched and feeding well. The ward was busy but many kind midwives came to assist on various occasions and were positive about how we were both doing.
Upon leaving hospital it had begun to get more painful. I kept telling myself that this was completely 'normal', friends had said similar and that perhaps I was just adjusting, I had no way of knowing what was actually 'normal'. She was feeding for extensive periods of time and often coming off the breast distressed. I was anxious that I wasn't getting it right. We liaised with the midwives, breast feeding support workers, attended various breast feeding cafes but the latch wasn't quite right and it grew more and more painful (alongside also experiencing much of what the article describes). I often felt anxious awaiting her next feed and found it difficult to feed outside of the house.
When my husband and I had spoken prior to giving birth we had said that whilst we fully intended that I would breastfeed, if it didn't work that we would be comfortable with moving onto formula, after all, the most important thing was that the baby was fed. However even when we both had accepted that breastfeeding wasn't working out as we'd hoped we continued to persevere in the hope that it would improve and couldn't bring ourselves to make that change. I personally found it hard as health professionals told me that she was doing well and gaining weight but despite this things didn't feel right.
We finally hired a private lactation consultant who explained that our daughter had tongue tie and that the latch wasn't right. During these consultations, I developed mastitis and was unable to pick her up as it was so painful. At this point we decided to move her onto formula, I attempted to express as much as possible but the amount I was producing steadily declined and the amount of breast milk she was getting decreased.
Although feeding didn't quite take the journey we had planned (using the word 'planned' very loosely as with anything in parenting!!), we are comfortable with the decision that we made. It was something that we thought about, talked about often and reflected on throughout the early months however as time has passed it has no longer remained a focus and we have enjoyed her character as it continues to emerge!
This article really resonated with me and hope others find it an interesting read.

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