My breastfeeding journey started out a little over 9 years ago with my first born Sam. I was determined to try breastfeeding but to be honest I wasn’t very confident. I didn’t have much support, none of my close friends had babies and my sister had put her babies on the bottle from day one. But I was determined to try.
My beautiful husband Ashley was very supportive, throughout the pregnancy and the long and traumatic birth. We were so glad our son was safely in the world, now I wanted desperately to be able to nourish him. The first few days were rough. I had had an 18 hour labour and epidural, so we were both exhausted. The midwives were supportive but I was overwhelmed with how my body was feeling, the emotion of the first baby and that it just wasn’t working! Thankfully we kept at it and after about a week, things started to settle. It took a lot of work, we used nipple shields, football hold, lots of cuddles from Daddy, but we made it through the first four months okay.
It was around five months that things went pair shaped. I was dealing with lots of emotions at that point. My Mum who had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer just before I fell pregnant with Sam was doing it tough and we were living four hours away. I didn’t have many friends where we were and I was desperate to move home to be near my Mum, my sister and Ashley’s family. So we decided to up and move, and bought a block of land in our home town. The stress of moving and building caught up with me and suddenly I had doctors telling me that Sam wasn’t putting on weight and there were concerns for his health. Of course, as a new mother this is not what you want to hear so we began our downward spiral away from breast feeding. I felt like I needed to give him formula supplements, more solids and I didn’t have the support or knowledge I needed to continue.
I was sad but also proud that we had made it to eight months and was more determined than ever that next baby would be longer.
When we fell pregnant with our second, I was in a much better head space. We were settled into our own home and I was confident with the help from our wonderful OB that our labour and birth would be different this time! And boy it was… Lucy was born after a two hour labour with no drugs and was on the boob within half an hour of birth. She just got it! She was a boobie girl from day one and things were so so so much easier and I LOVED feeding her! Our journey was wonderful and when she self-weaned at 14 months old I was fine with that! I had achieved my goal of 12 months and I was stoked.
Our third beautiful baby, Gabby (in these amazing pictures), is our rainbow baby J. She was born with the help of an amazing midwife who made our final pregnancy and birth the most precious time. I have finally found my groove with breastfeeding! I will feed her anywhere, anytime and without hesitation. I feel like I truly understand the meaning of feeding on demand and how breastfeeding is so much more than just about breastmilk! Gabby will be two next month and I can’t see an end in sight… and I am so happy about that.
It has taken me three babies and nine years to get it right but that has been our journey… For me these photos are a celebration of me as a mother of three gorgeous human beings (and one angel) and how we got to this point. As someone who has always struggled in my own skin, I cannot thank Sarah enough for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something so special and giving me these memories.
Susan, Sam, Lucy & Gabby 😉