Before I even got pregnant I knew that I wanted to breastfeed, it’s just something I always assumed I’d do. I couldn’t imagine going to all of the effort of sterilising and making up bottles. Once I was pregnant I started researching and reading about other people’s experiences and that’s when the doubt started to creep in. What if I couldn’t do it? What if my supply was too low? Would Matt miss out on bonding with our child if I was exclusively breastfeeding? I decided that I definitely still wanted to breastfeed but I was certainly more worried about the whole thing. The only thing to do was wait and see. So that’s what I did.
Fast forward to Lyra’s birth and nothing went to plan. The labour was long and ended with help from the ventouse so Lyra was understandably pretty shocked. Pair that with my tiredness, cannula in both arms and a catheter and lets just say motherhood did not start how I imagined it would. This, of course, had an impact on our breastfeeding journey. Lyra fell asleep as soon as I brought her to the breast and wasn’t interested in the colostrum that I hand expressed for her. I was so scared that my breastfeeding experience may have ended before it began. Looking back it was probably my hormones making me despair when really all I was facing was a minor setback because, sure enough, 24 hours later she latched on for the first time. I’ve got to say that the first time she fed was probably my favourite moment of motherhood so far (Matt captured the moment in the picture above). It was clumsy and a little painful since we had yet to master a good latch but I felt, for the first time, that things were working out OK. I just want to take a moment here to make it clear that I don’t for one second think you have to breastfeed to feel like this, I’m only taking about my own wishes and experiences.
Since those first few days in the hospital we’ve been very lucky in our breastfeeding journey. After some pointers from the midwife 4 days after Lyra was born, and the invaluable advice to use pillows to boost newborn Lyra up, we’ve had it easy (touch wood). Lyra got the hang of it quickly and I tackled feeding in public much better than I ever thought I would. My personal target was to reach six months and I feel so proud that we’ve made it. I’m certainly not ready to give it up yet but I know that with the introduction of solids and my return to work looming, the likelihood is that my supply will start to decline. I’m just very grateful that we made it this far.