I breastfed my daughter for 11 weeks and 3 days and i can honestly say that i loved every second. Well, almost. Im so proud of myself for making it that far but it became hard, and very messy, so heres my story on why i gave up breastfeeding.
My normal everyday job had a massive impact on how i wanted to feed my daughter. Im a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse so i teach and discuss breastfeeding almost everyday. This made me passionate about breastfeeding and i knew i wanted to give it ago myself. My job lets me see how magical that breastfeeding can be and the bond that can be formed between mother and child from it.
A little history.
Poppy was conceived via IVF. You can read all about my story here. Before i even became pregnant i knew i would have issues breastfeeding. I can’t believe I’m putting my nipples out there on the internet (cringe) but hey, i lost most of my dignity whilst in labour so here goes.
My nipples are flat and slightly inverted and no matter what i tried i couldn’t get them to stay out. I tried the Avent Nipplette which let me tell you, was very uncomfortable and not exactly discreet. Yes they worked, but within hours my nipples were flat again. I did this for months and they didn’t seem to get any better.
Poppy was born at 38+4 weeks gestation following an induction for Obstetric Cholestasis. She had low blood sugars initially so my plans to give the first breastfeed went out of the window. As her blood sugars were low i agreed to let the midwifes give her some formula by cup. Although her blood sugars became stable she was still very sleepy. This carried on for the first 10 days or so. I began expressing straight away so that i could give her breastmilk by bottle, but also kept trying her at the breast.
I had already mentally prepared myself about having to use nipple shields whilst being pregnant. I knew there was no shame in using them, but i also knew how annoying they could be. So we started using them at around day 10 and she took to them straight away.
I loved it. She was finally feeding well and i felt so happy. I could also have a bit of time back, as trying her at the breast, bottle feeding her and then expressing was becoming very tiring.
Why I gave up.
Little did i know my milk supply would be crazy and things would get very messy. At every feed i would become soaked with milk which would then leave me feeling wet and smelly for the rest of the day. I tried everything to try and not let this happen, but nothing worked.
She was gaining weight so i knew she was getting what she needed but a lot of it just poured down the back of the nipple shield and into my bra, muslin, and t-shirt. Have you smelt stale breastmilk? Its is not exactly a pleasant odour.
I also found that the bigger she got, the more she would knock it off. At times it would be funny, like when she knocked it off and i squirted milk half way across the room, but most of the time it just became a battle to keep the thing on. This also made it really hard for me to breastfeed in public. Having to get her in place, get a muslin tucked into my bra, attach a nipple shield, whilst not letting her knock it off was an art i hadn’t mastered very well.
So at around 10 weeks i decided it was time to give up. I weaned her off the breast and onto a bottle over the next week and that was that.
I felt so guilty for giving up. I would taunt myself for giving up so easily, question if i did the right thing. Think of myself as selfish for giving up. But i had to do the right thing for me.
I became to realise that i had done very well to get to 11 weeks. I became proud of what i had given my daughter . It doesn’t work out for everyone.
So remember ladies, don’t feel guilty about giving up breastfeeding. You have given your child some pretty important milk in whatever time you breastfed for. And also don’t feel guilty if you didn’t breastfeed at all, fed is best and we are all entitled to our own choices.