Celebrating World Breastfeeding & Chestfeeding Week

My breastfeeding journey isn’t one that I often talk about… I was really proud to exclusively breastfeed / pump Charlotte for 6 months then went onto combi feeding until she was just over a year old.

The biggest thing I will say about my journey was that I was incredibly naïve about how breastfeeding worked – Charlotte latched straight away, yet walking into the new world of other parents and baby groups – it quickly became evident to me that breastfeeding was bloody hard work and it wasn’t easy. It opened my eyes to the struggles of other parents and how different our experiences are.

I had absolutely no idea that babies did not only breastfeed for milk but for comfort and felt drawn into questioning myself about how much milk I was able to give her when people would look in shock that she was crying at being passed around.. the truth is.. she wanted her Mummy, she wanted the breast for comfort. I very quickly decided that for me personally, I wanted to give Craig the opportunity to give Charlotte a bottle in the night… a decision which I was nervous about telling others for fear of judgement, but ultimately, I knew getting a bit of time to switch off would make me a better mother to my baby. And that’s okay.

The sheer lack of education and discussion on feeding once Charlotte was born is just mental to think back on and still exists to this day… Everyone has an opinion yet the real facts still seem to be buried underneath the surface when educating parents.

When I talk to the families that I work with about feeding choices, I often say –

  • Get educated before birth. If you would like to breastfeed / chestfeed – learn about how supply works and how babies like to nurse for reasons other than food
  • Get to know your local groups for feeding support (Leeds Bosom Buddies is great for you Leeds folk!)
  • Learn about different organisations that can support you
  • Ask for the support of your midwife to get that initial good latch
  • Make it clear to friends and family how you intend to be – visiting the YOU and the baby doesn’t mean automatic cuddles!
  • Always speak up and ask for help, it is available