Over the last year the team have shared numerous breastfeeding stories from finding it easy, to wanting to but being unable and to choosing not to breastfeed from the off. Whatever your decision it is definitely just that. Your decision.
When I was expecting Alice I presumed I would do things very similarly to Molly. I had no expectations or pressure and was happy to go with the flow (so to speak!). I hadn’t really had any issues feeding Molly other than a few bouts of very nasty Mastitis so I was hoping that it would come easily to me again. Luckily it did. I know that isn’t always the case but I am grateful that it wasn’t difficult or stressful for me. I did however notice some differences in how Alice fed compared to Molly and also how I was with my approach to breastfeeding and I thought it might be useful to share. It just goes to show that not only can your baby be different second time around but also your approach and feelings.
Immediately after she was born Alice latched on and fed really well. In that post birth haze I do remember thinking one thing. How very different she fed to Molly. She was so quick. I mean really speedy. And it stayed that way.
Molly would feed for hours on end, always. Alice on the other hand was a quick 10 to 20 minutes maximum and she was done. She thrived and her 6lb 12oz birth weight rocketed so she was most definitely getting enough.
I have to say the speed with which she fed was a lifesaver. I had a 19 month old toddler who also needed my attention so sitting feeding a baby for hours on end was going to be tricky. All would have been good with the world if Alice hadn’t been such a nightmare sleeper (you can read about that debacle here).
Feeding in Public
With Molly I was always quite wary of feeding in public. It was nothing to be ashamed of but personally I just didn’t really feel comfortable. I’m not a very confident person and so preferred to sit somewhere quiet or on my own. That was not the easiest or most sociable when she took so blimmin long to feed. I’m not saying I whipped them straight out with Alice but I had less time to think about it and so on our first day home found myself sitting in our local park at the bottom of the slide feeding Alice. I still kept covered over but I was less conscious of people being around.
I always planned to mix breastfeeding and bottle feeding. I needed that little bit of freedom it would give me and mainly to enable me to still do things with Molly whilst someone else could feed Alice. In her first week of being home she took a bottle with no problem at all. I felt cocky and thought I had the combination feeding cracked. How wrong I was. The following week she flatly refused to take the bottle and nothing we did would change that. We tried every trick going but until around 12 weeks it was breastfeeding all the way. She wouldn’t even take my milk from a bottle let alone formula. We then slowly managed to introduce a bottle but I will admit to many times giving up and just feeding her myself. I couldn’t take the crying and the immense guilt I got at trying to force her to have a bottle she didn’t want.
With Molly I expressed quite a lot once she started having a bottle so that she could have a combination of breast milk and formula. Alice was having non of it and so, in truth, I couldn’t really be bothered. I had no issues with expressing and always produced plenty of milk but I never really liked expressing and felt distinctly like a cow being milked! It was also rather disconcerting to have Molly constantly wandering up and pulling at the pump to see what on earth I was up to.
How Long I Wanted To Feed For
Again, this is a very personal choice. I fed Molly for six months and so I felt I should do the same for Alice. If I’m honest I could happily have stopped a lot earlier but there was some gnawing guilt that told me I should do the same for both of them. I will put my hands up and say I didn’t really like breastfeeding. I didn’t dislike it per se but I suppose I found it all a bit odd.