My daughter Grace was born on Boxing Day of 2015 and like every mother, my life changed that day.
After a long arduous pregnancy with countless hospitalisations and pre term labour scares Grace finally made her debut after many hours of a drug free labour. She arrived with a bang at 9 pounds 6 ounces and with a head of hair which rivalled all others.
I always knew I wanted to breastfeed having been brought up with a mother who fed me until I was three. When Grace latched perfectly I knew it was the beginning of a good thing. We were discharged from hospital 12 hours after birth with no complications other than the fact our little heffa wasn’t going to fit in her newborn clothing.
The next few weeks were a steep learning curve for my husband and I. Two people who loved their sleep were suddenly floundering through midnight nappy changes and cluster feeds. However, like everyone, we soon got our heads around it and went on our way. Around 6 weeks I was ready to begin easing myself back into work as our marketing manager for our two companies and so I began pumping. At least, I began trying to. Literally nothing came out… I could not get one drop. It was so disheartening as I knew I had milk. I looked like a pornstar with my now E cup boobs (pretty big jump from my mere C cup pre pregnancy!) . I began reading and researching ways to pump more and it became an all consuming struggle to figure out why I couldn’t. I finally went and saw my GP for my 6 weeks PP check up and asked to be referred to a lactation consultant within the clinic.
Afyer much explaining and many different types of pumps I soon realised pumping wasn’t something my body was designed to do. And so, I kept feeding. It meant Grace had to be with me 24/7 as we fed on demand which was a struggle to wrap my head around when society has such an expectation of mother’s to ‘let go’ and return to ‘normality’ as soon as possible after birth. I soon realised it wasn’t a struggle at all as it not only meant I got have my darling daughter with me 24/7 it also meant I got watch her grow and learn and meet all the brilliant milestones everyday.
It has been a struggle, of course. The main thing though, is keep going. Your body was built to grow and nourish this child inside you for 9 months and is designed to nourish this child for much longer in the outside world. Breastfeeding creates such a strong bond between mother and child and I am determined to keep going as long as Grace desires in order for her and I to receive the full benefits of feeding to term. Ignore societies expectations and just do what your instinct and baby tells you. You’ll figure it out- after all, women have been doing I successfully for centuries before you!