Hi where to start...I guess it starts before you even hold your baby for the first time.
Mine is a true story of the highs and lows I experienced and still do.I'm breast feeding my first child at 31, a beautiful 6 and a half month baby girl. I hope it may help.
You write your birth plan and decide i'm going to feed him/her myself.I't seemed so easy to write down and the easiest thing to prepare for. No bottles, sterilizing and I was given these breasts for this purpose.
The day arrived and after all this time I held her and wept. She was all I had dreamed of for so long. The midwife, lay her next to me and showed me how to hold her and my breast at the same time....This was my first of many lessons.
I didn't think pysically It would feel this awkward feeding her or at least trying to.
I was in hospital for eight days after a c-section and my baby needing anti-biotics, due to an infection.I can't count how many times I rang the buzzer, because I needed help with positioning and latching on.I began to get low, my nipples were so sore, it wasn't the baby blues.... it was the breast feeding blues.I looked at her and thought, 'I can provide love, warmth, shelter but if I can't feed her she'll starve'. She was sleeping loads.(probably a bit too much thinking back on it.I wasn't sleeping I was worrying so much.I knew she wasn.t feeding properly and when it came time to be weighed I was right. She had lost nearly ten ounces. That was it.... 'GIVE ME THE BOTTLE' I begged the woman answering the buzzer this time .This time was different, She didn''t just show me what to do again. This fantastic woman came to my aid ,( I can't remember her job title or name..there were so many) she asked me if I wanted to give up on breastfeeding my baby and did I think I might I regret it.She was right, but I was desperate for my baby to feed.With her help I learned so much.
Firstly, I should have gone to the anti-natal class on breast feeding and not have thought there was nothing to learn.
Secondly, I learned to relax, I did this first by closing the curtain around my bed and then sharing skin to skin time with my little girl.We both relaxed and sometimes she would start to suckle.
Then My 'HERO' provided me with nipple sheilds( they make you look like madonna if you keep them on under your top).This gave my nipples a break, they stopped feeling so sore and I had the reassurance of seeing my baby getting her milk.I used them for a few days when I got home,until I gained some confidence.
Finally I bought a feeding pillow.I still Use it now and again.It helped so much, while I was still learning positioning.
After joining a great baby club I learned alot of mums don't find breastfeeding natural at the beginning, but of those that do, all are glad they breasrfeed now and many that don't breast feed, wish they had tried it or not given up trying. I believe....You are not a bad or un-natural mother if you find breast feeding hard or indeed if you do not breastfeed at all, loving and bonding with your baby are far more important than getting calories into them.Do what you feel is right for you.
Finding places to feed is difficult, In Southampton I can recommend John Lewis-Top Floor (fantastic feeding areas for breast and bottle feeding, Water for you, changing stations,bottle warmers and a toilet you can take your pram in with you). The cafe is a bit more expensive than other places,but you don't have to use cafe.Lots of mum's seem to meet there. Now I'll feed in public if i'm somewhere not too busy I just tuck the corner of a muslin in my nursing bra ( an essential breast feeding tool ) and to the side of babies head.
Babies weight Don't panic too much about the growth charts at weigh in clinic. They will show if your baby is losing weight or if they are putting on too much too quickly( not something breast fed babies seem to suffer from), but these graphs are not based on the research of breast fed babies. This is something I've been told is in the pipeline for change.
Here comes the happy ending.......
Macy is now seven months old, I am still breast feeding her (it's easy now) and started weaning at six months. I am so glad I never gave up and yes proud. She snuggles into my breast and gazes into my eyes. I know she is happy too.
Please rate my guide if you found it of use.I've also written ome on weaning.