The Saturday after Charlie was born on the Tuesday I nearly gave up breast feeding. The night of his birth he wouldn't feed. No one told me that babies who have a traumatic delivery often don't feed for a day or so as they recover from the birth. Apparent babies are born with enough in them to keep them going 24-36 hours without needing to feed. How true that is I don't know. But Charlie wouldn't feed. When he did start getting hungry he would fuss and fret when trying to latch. Then when he did latch he fed and fed and fed. So by the Saturday afternoon I was sore, tired and still also recovering from the birth myself. I couldn't put him down and I remember just thinking I just want a bath! So I nearly gave in and went to formula.
After some tears, some harsh words from hubby (which I didn't appreciate at the time, but in hindsight, helped) and a bit of time to have a wash, a glass of wine and a nice meal cooked by my mum I stuck with it.
The next few weeks were still difficult. He still fretted when latching and my supply was all over the place. He fed on demand every 2 hours or so and it was hard going. Many times I thought formula feeding would be easier - it wouldn't always have to involve me. However then it snowed, our power was out for four days and we were snowed in - if I hadn't had been breast feeding I would have had no way of feeding my baby. It made me realise that actually breast feeding is important - to me anyway. I don't go around advocating "breast is best" but I do think it's what I want for my baby. No one can deny the benefits.
It has not been easy. There have been plenty of times I felt like giving up. Particularly when he's gone through growth spurts and fed all day. But so far I've stuck with it and today marks 7 weeks of breast feeding so I feel proud that I've stuck it out and made it this far.
The past couple of weeks I think I've found my stride with it. I breast fed in public for the first time. Albeit with another breast feeding mummy, but I then went on to go it on my own, just Charlie and me, in a cafe. I've also started to express once a day during the first morning feed. I'm getting about 4-5 oz each time and freezing it so that in a few weeks the hubby can start getting involved feeding and give him this and also in preparation for when I go back to work.
I still think formula feeding would make things slightly easier on me but on the whole it's not worth it for me. At the minute Charlie may cluster feed from 6pm - 11pm most evenings, but then he sleeps until 4/5 in the morning. Last night he even went until 6.10am! We are getting there and settling into a pattern. I know this stage doesn't last forever. And when he lays his hand on my chest and looks up into my eyes during feeding it makes it all worthwhile.