When Henry was born in February 2011 i knew that I wanted to try breastfeeding and that giving it a really good attempt was important to me. My mum breastfed both me and my sister for the first 6 months of our lives so it only seemed natural that I would do the same. It wasn't the easiest of starts as due to a retained placenta my milk didn't come in for nearly a week & Henry was losing a lot of weight & crying in hunger 24/7! I didn't know that I had retained placenta at the time and I was so upset that I didn't seem to be providing my baby with what he needed most.....the temptation was there to give up. I remember sitting in the bath crying listening to Ken trying to sooth a distraught Henry and feeling like a total failure. Luckily later that day my midwife came to visit & spent over 2 hours with me showing me different ways I could stimulate milk production and calming me down. Later that night Henry was still crying and I was at the end of my tether, so I tearfully begged Ken to go out in search of some formula to feed him. Ken was gone for over an hour as it was a Sunday night and most places were closed, and I am so grateful for this because during this time all of the attempts at feeding & stimulating my milk production paid off and I was able to feed Henry successfully for the first time since he was born. Ken returned home to me holding a sleepy milk drunk baby, and the box of formula that he had searched high & low for sat unused until I gave it away a few months later.
I had to work hard for the first 6 weeks to keep my milk production up, feeding on demand & pumping when Henry slept. However once my retained placenta was diagnosed & removed my boobs really changed! I hadn't suffered with any engorgement initially and thought I had escaped that experience, however I woke up in the middle of the night after the operation to find that I had boobs like pamela Anderson all of a sudden! They were HUGE and rock solid! I lifted my top to examine these new arrivals only to squirt myself in the face with milk. It's funny looking back on it, but at the time I was a bit weirded out by it all. After weeks of worrying I didn't have any or enough milk in there I was now so full of the stuff it was making a bit for freedom in my face! I attempted to feed Henry to relieve some of the engorgement but my milk was coming out so fast that the poor little chap couldn't keep up. In the end with the assistance of gravity we managed to feed properly with my lying flat on my back & Henry lying across my chest.
After that night I never really looked back. I was very lucky that sore nipples were never an issue for me, and feeding was never a painful experience. In fact I loved it! I adored the closeness i felt with Henry, I loved how convenient it was, especially at nighttime, and I loved that I didn't have to carry lots of stuff with me when I went out in order to feed him. In fact it was such an easy, pleasant experience that when Henry was approaching 6 months and the questions from Friends and family started regarding when I was going to stop I suddenly didn't know how to answer them! I had not intended to extend breastfeeding beyond 6 months, but I knew that neither Henry or I were ready to stop, so I carried on. In fact we carried on for much longer than I had ever anticipated, and I am so glad that I did. Breastfeeding really worked for us, and there were times when Henry was quite poorly last year and refusing all food and drink that I would have found impossible to deal with if i hadn't had the option of offering breast milk.