I've never written about my birth with Eva and i'm not going to go into huge details about it but it was traumatic and I suffered a lot afterwards with needing an operation from a horrific infection. (The birth and infection are related to my breastfeeding story).
Before I had delivered I hadn't planned how I was going to feed my daughter. I was going to give breastfeeding a try but if it wasn't working then I wouldn't stress and push myself into it. I wasnt going to be forced into anything. I was very indifferent about it all. Luckily, as they laid Eva on my chest and I got to see her properly for the first time, she immediately took to feeding. I managed to feed her by myself the whole time I was in hospital. However, nobody showed me any other positions for breastfeeding or actually gave me any support or guidance.
When I got home my health started deteriorating. This was from the infection. The midwifes that came everyday to check everything seemed completely disinterested in my health and only concerned with how much I was feeding Eva (who was dropping weight daily). I had temperatures, was in constant pain, was being sick all the time and couldn't eat anything so as you can imagine my milk supply was drying up and I was struggling to feed my daughter. I couldn't even sit myself up at night to get her out of the moses basket and I could barely walk. I felt like a complete failure. I would cry all day at feeling so useless. I couldn't look after myself and therefore couldn't look after my daughter. At one point I remember contemplating throwing myself out of our bedroom window (we live in a townhouse so it is pretty high). I was devestated that my start to being a mother was so hard and unfair.
My own mum lives in Australia and I could only talk to her through texting which I did regularly as I needed the support. She was worried I had post natal depression. Hearing her say those words gave me a kick and a boost I needed. If there was one thing I was going to get right it was going to be to provide and care for my daughter in the best way I knew possible. Even though I felt horrendous, she was now my main priority and she needed me and relied on me to look after her. Even though I felt I was failing at being a good mum, I was determined to get the one thing right that brought me closer to her and developed our bond. That was breastfeeding. My husband had to do everything else for her as I was in too ill and in too much pain to be able to do it. This included changing nappies, getting her dressed, bathing her etc.
I took matters into my own hands and rang my local hospital (not where I birthed) to see if they would help me with feeding. I spent a day there with one of their breast feeding experts and came away so postive. I had learnt so many techniques and top tips. Finally things were looking up. After that I demanded to be seen by my gp who referred me to hospital immediately after seeing how badly I was infected. A consultant then gave me the correct treatment to get my own health back on track.
Breastfeeding was hard work but I did enjoy the closeness it gave us. I hated planning my day around feeds. For some reason I didn't want anybody (even family) seeing me feed her. At about 6 weeks something changed in my attitude towards it all (it must've been when my own health was improving). I decided to breast feed in public and from that moment on it was easy. Feeding was easy, expressing was easy and I was absolutely loving it. It became the most natural thing in the world.
I continued to breast feed her until I had to go back to work at 9 months. I would've continued but I work in an operating theatre and it really wouldn't have worked with the type of job I do. I never know when I am coming home and I wouldn't have wanted to stress about needing to feed if I was stuck in work. I found giving up an extremely difficult process as it was so rewarding.
I can't wait to be able to breast feed my next daughter. It's one of the things I'm looking forward to the most. I learnt so much from my journey with Eva and I'll be using all of that with my new baby. I also wanted to say that I am not a lactivist or whatever it is they call these people that are only for breastfeeding. This post is just about my personal experience and journey and I strongly believe whatever way you feed your child is fine. I just wanted to breastfeed, as I felt it was the only thing I could get right whilst being so unwell.