With many of us coming from a generation who bottle fed their babies I think the key to keeping breast feeding going is support and advice from close friends and family who have breast fed themselves.
I had quite different experiences with breast feeding my two babies.
With the first one I had decided that I would try breast feeding but if it didn't work out I would bottle feed.
In hospital I breast fed him soon after the birth, but over the next 24 hours or so he was quite sleepy and not interested in feeding. Despite being topped up with formula, most of which came back up, he ended up in SCBU as his blood sugar was low and was becoming dehydrated.
Due to lack of advice and support from the hospital (and peers?) I only managed to mixed feed for 3 months. Most of my close friends and family who offered advice had bottle fed their babies.
My baby was later diagnosed with milk intolerance which made formula feeding difficult and took months to find the right formula and medication.
I felt so guilty about not perservering with breast feeding the first time that I was much more determind to do it the second time. I knew there was a chance that my second baby could also have milk intolerance and was keen to not have to go through the stressful time I had feeding the first one.
My baby also didn't feed well for the first few days and I was very worried that he would also end up in SCBU again. After a few days he discovered his appetite and was off! He fed frequently in the first 8/9 weeks (completely normal).
Luckily this time I had some close friends whose breast fed babies were only a few months older. They urged me to keep going and that it would suddenly get easier. And it did, although my baby did always feed a lot.
I had him weighed regularly for my peace of mind, to know he was gaining weight and I wasn't starving him!
Although I found the first few months of breastfeeding hard work, I am so glad I persevered the second time. It is such a lovely experience feeding your baby. I am still amazed to this day how we can keep our babies fed and alive purely by ourselves!
I really think that without the advice and support from my two close friends that I wouldn't have kept going and I can't thank them enough for that.
Thank you. The things I love most about this story are how it shows the importance of determination, perseverance and support, the most vital ingredients in successful breastfeeding!
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