When I fell pregnant with Ava I knew I wanted to breastfeed again. But there was also a slight bit of anxiety around it as I had such a difficult time with Emilia.
For a bit of background if you didn’t follow me back then, I had an extremely difficult start to my breastfeeding journey with Emilia, poor latch, cracked nipples and mastitis meant after a few weeks I only ever fed Emilia from my left boob.
So whilst I knew I wanted to feed Ava I was so worried about feeding from my right and what I would do if I had the same issues again. This anxiety built throughout my pregnancy and I felt incredibly nervous for that first feed. I went straight to my left as I felt comfortable, she latched with no problems. However I was still so nervous every time I had to try with my right. I didn’t feel like I got much support either. I was on a ward with no family support and it was a difficult time.
Things got even more difficult as time went on.
Issues with my right resurfaced and Ava wasn’t gaining enough weight. She was such a different feeder to Emilia, didn’t seem to take comfort from it and didn’t cluster feed or even feed for very long. It was tough to judge her intake and I questioned myself so much more than I ever did with Emilia.
Luckily I was never told to supplement with formula, the advice I received was just feed feed feed which I did as best I could. I added in extra feeds through the day, waking Ava to fit in more. Eventually after about 3 weeks she hit birth weight.
It was such a difficult period, as I again battled feeding on my right. Ava seemed to just cause the old wounds to reopen, and so there were days I attempted just to feed from my left. I felt incredibly guilty when I had these days as I could tell Ava wasn’t satisfied. So after a lot of grit and determination Ava now feeds from both sides. Although my right is a bit of a pain, it leaks a lot even 9 months on and I don’t think the milk flows as easily as my left. It’s odd but we manage.
Breastfeeding a second baby is such a different experience.
It’s not that peaceful time where you can just chill on the sofa watching your favourite film or programme. Your first born always seems to want a snack or juice, or their bum wiped the moment the baby latches. Ava is whipped off my boob far too often whilst I tend to Emilia but we make it work. Ava has also never taken a bottle so I’ve exclusively fed for 9 months now.
Whilst I absolutely love breastfeeding I am already feeling like I’m ready to stop with Ava, a feeling I didn’t have with Emilia until she was at least 18 months. I am going to keep going until Ava is a year and slowly wean her onto cows milk as I feel like changing to formula and then to cows milk isn’t worth the hassle, for me more than anything. I’ve now been pregnant or feeding for over 4 years and I’m ready to get my body back.
*Breastfeeding is incredible but it is relentless especially in the early days, and there is so little support. I have no issues with how anyone wants to feed their baby but I do have an issue when women want to breastfeed and don’t get the right support to help them. With that said I am always here if anyone is struggling and wants a friendly ear to talk to, just get in touch*