Mother Stories

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I’m so grateful and relieved that I didn’t let anyone stop me from feeding her

I’m just grateful that I was able and stubborn enough the continue to breast feed Isabelle. It hasn’t been the most enjoyable time that breast feeding is suppose to be. I think I had about a week of being able to enjoy the bonding and comfort of feeding her before it just all just turn into a constant struggle of self doubt if I was even feeding right and worry, having to have midwives suggest 1000s different ways to do it better. I was literally feeding her for 3 hours straight at times, the pain of feed her so much and the worry turned me into a zombie and she was never full.

I am not the most comfortable of people to feed around other especially in public, so to add that on top of feeling I couldn’t even do the basic of natural things properly and feed her right, made trying to constantly feed when out and about extremely difficult. Obviously I get other feel it’s not something they want to see when out but it wasn’t like I was able to wait to feed her in a toilet or hidden away in a quiet place when I chose to it was literally on a the necessity of her needing to feed. She was losing weight but feeding constantly for hours, which as she was only born 5lb 15 she couldn’t afford to lose any.

This all made sense when at 3 weeks old I got the phone call saying she had markers for Cystic Fibrosis detected on her heel prick test. In part I was relieved as it explained why all of this was happening but at the same time it hit home how breast feeding her wasn’t just about food it was literally keeping her alive, she was starving and I’m so grateful and relieved that I didn’t let anyone stop me from feeding her, that I didn’t give up.

Then within a week of being diagnosed and starting treatment for the first time in ages I was able to hold her and feed her without self doubting, not scared, worried or stressed. I just enjoyed sitting there getting lost in feeding her, which is why this holding time project appealed to me so much.

I’m so happy to of been apart of it, it’s been an extremely hard time and taking part in this has been a pleasure and helped me personally.

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It really bonded us together

Ella & Frank

Breastfeeding was incredibly easy for me and frank. I had a horrible labour and lost lots of blood so I was lucky my milk came in. He was a guzzler from day 1. It really hurt, toe curling pain in the beginning but thankfully that wore off. I remember being stressed about how much milk he was taking, how long he was feeding and feeling like if he doesn’t feed he’ll die! But I really enjoyed feeding and found the night feeds so meditative. It really bonded us together.

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I was so in my own world with my baby

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Breastfeeding in the beginning was great - I watched the whole box season of breaking bad & spent a lot of time in bed eating chocolate :) Tully I swear was born shouting 'boob' he did the self wriggle and latch within minutes of being born and we didn't look back. I was fortunate not to have any problems but he was slow to put on weight at first & recover his birth weight despite being seemingly always attached- breastfeeding on demand took on a whole new meaning when a midwife demanded I breastfeed in front of her (as I must've been doing something wrong and would need to supplement with formula if I couldn't get him gaining faster) Fortunately she couldn't fault his latch and I stuck to my guns about exclusive breastfeeding.

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As time went by breastfeeding just became very normal

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Surprisingly easy. I say surprisingly because when I was pregnant I had a lot of people warning me that breastfeeding is horrendous, painful, impossible. In fact I found it to be calming, painless and easy. I had very peaceful home births with both my children, with midwifes and a doula who gave me the support, space and respite to be able to focus on feeding and recovering. Generally, I found being able to breastfeed was a huge confidence boost in the beginning. It made me feel strong, important, purposeful. And completely autonomous - as though it wouldn’t matter what situation we found ourselves in, so long as I had my breasts my babies would be fine. Then as time went by breastfeeding just became very normal. Nowadays, it inhabits a strange place in my world, sitting somewhere between being this potently significant achievement, and just a very normal everyday occurrence. 

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She knew what to do from the start

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I'm very fortunate that I had an easy pregnancy and  lovely home birth with my daughter, Leila, and that she knew what to do from the word go. So happily I had no problems with breastfeeding and I just found it all quite lovely. Although she was small she even put on weight in her first week and so I just felt rather in awe of the whole process and how amazing the body is to produce just what she needs whenever she needs it.

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It was really hard

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With my first boy, it was really hard. He was premature and after a tricky labour, ending in emergency Csection, I struggled to get him latched on. My milk took a long time to come in and he lost a lot of weight and the doctors prescribed formula in the hospital which really knocked my confidence. It was a difficult and painful experience, physically and emotionally.

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Breastfeeding was a Real Joy

Vickie & Indy
Breastfeeding for me in the beginning was a real joy! I know that must make a lot of people feel frustrated but I just found it so natural. This is back when sawyer was a baby. Then I had Vienna and totally expected it to be a breeze again but that time, due to a bad latch moments after she was born, the whole of my left nipple ended up peeling off! Totally horrendous. But even with all that happening I really didn't want to give up, the thought of using bottles actually seemed harder and like more work. I fed through gritted teeth and the nipple did recover but now it looks like it has a sad face!
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Giving it time

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I guess it always begins before birth. I wanted to breastfeed. I knew it might be difficult. My mum breastfeed me and my younger brother but nor my older brother, as she had a lot of pain, and difficulties, and no support. So I was aware that it might be hard. I had gone to my NCT classes, read about breastfeeding, but it felt like reading about running without ever having run. 

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Posterior Tongue Tie

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It's 7.15, Sunday, Mothers Day and I am finally breastfeeding. No expressing, no bottles, no formula, no steriliser. Just me, her and the open road. A slight ache in my left breast reminds me that this achievement is the culmination of many small battles, won quietly, furiously in the past three and a half months since my baby, Lily was born. Who would have thought it would take so long to get here? Not me. But then I really hadn't a clue about breastfeeding before she was born.

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