This week is National Breastfeeding Week. Happy National Breastfeeding Week everyone! I’m taking part in the Keep Britain Breastfeeding scavenger hunt along with an awful lot of other bloggers.
Let me tell you a little bit of mine and Betsy’s breastfeeding story. I was terribly naive about breastfeeding while preggers and thought it would be a breeze. Turned out that for some (me) it can be quite tricky. After Betsy was born, she fed pretty well at the breast, it was a bit painful and the latch most definitely needed some work, but we were happy and going along just fine. The day my milk came in, Betsy had a bit of jaundice so she was sleepy and lethargic (taking after me so soon!) and trying to feed on what was now an enormous and engorged boob meant she didn’t really feed so I expressed some milk and fed her that with a bottle. Because I had introduced a bottle at such an early stage, Betsy got what is quite frankly a brilliant expression, nipple confusion. Long story short, it was an uphill struggle to get the Boo back onto the breast and we spent almost two months exclusively expressing milk and bottle feeding her. It was a pretty miserable time and I got hit by the baby blues pretty badly. It was only because of some wonderful midwives at my local hospital (and the eternal support and encouragement from Dave) that Betsy managed to breastfeed properly again.
Almost 20 months on, we are still breastfeeding. This makes me immensely proud.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and should I ever have another child I’m going to make myself so much more prepared for feeding than the last time. The main way to do this? Read up on the subject matter (which you know, it’s a bit obvious really now I think about it). My friend Sian from Little Star and Me lent me The Food of Love by Kate Evans in the early days with Betsy and I cannot recommend the book enough. The advice is solid and incredibly useful, is full of funny cartoons and reads like a lovely friend chatting to you. It even goes into topics like co-sleeping and depression and making a sling. (I’ve now brought my own version of the book as Sian would have never seen her copy again!)
Also worth keeping note are the people around who are able to help should the need arise. In the borough of Enfield there are a number of places you can go to. On a Monday afternoon at the Ridgeway Birth Centre in Chase Farm Hospital, a team with midwives are on hand to help with any problems. It was these brilliant women who got Betsy feeding from the breast again. Gawd bless them. The whole maternity department at Chase Farm is due to close soon though, sadly, but the breastfeeding clinic should still be available at Underhill Children’s Centre in Barnet. Also my local NCT branch has recently trained up a group of BF peer supporters so you’ll be able to see someone on any weekday around the borough in a children’s centre. The full list and details are here. Nationally the Breastfeeding Network is a good source for finding groups and support in your area and the Analytical Armadillo is a great blog, but the Facebook page is a brilliant place to have any questions answered by some lovely wise women. Kellymom though is the queen of all breastfeeding sites and has information of every single aspect of feeding.
There is *so* much advise that can be given to anyone thinking about breastfeeding or starting up (or continuing even). I’m not the person to give it* (because I’m slightly shambolic and confuse *everyone*). If you want to read more though, pop along to one of these five brilliant blogs that are also taking part with the scavenger hunt:
And as this post is part of the scavenger hunt, here is the link to take part in the competition to win a whole load of prizes including a Snoob scarf, which looks absolutely beautiful and totally useful.
*However, I will pass on this bit of advise that has been a bit of a mantra throughout my pregnancy and motherhood: follow your instincts. You know best, so listen to what your heart is saying above anything else.