Breastfeeding // The Early Days

breastfeeding early days

“One Tuesday afternoon, the warm sun came out and POP! out of his Mama came a tiny and very hungry Baby. He started to look for some food.”

As soon as HRH entered the world, he lifted his teeny head and looked for my breast… and not much has changed since that day two weeks ago.

Establishing breastfeeding hasn’t been easy (is it ever?):

  • We’ve had an inexperienced and miseducated Paediatric Registrar questioning my supply during an emergency hospital visit on day two/three. HRH had a rash and a temperature, and had been awake most of the night very fractious. He had marginally low blood sugar levels, so we were forced to give him formula because (as they wrote in my notes) my “supply was inadequate”… In actual fact, my milk hadn’t come in yet. I was producing plenty of colostrum, but not one of the health professionals listened to me; they thought they knew better. We almost discharged ourselves, as we were so angry with their lack of knowledge in regards to newborn babies and milk production.
  • I’ve suffered from severe bleeding nipples again…
  • …But this has been rectified by an amazingly observant and on-the-ball Student Midwife who noticed that HRH had tongue-tie. We were back in hospital that afternoon and, following an examination by a Senior Midwife, he was diagnosed with 80% tongue-tie and a frenotomy was performed there and then! Since then his latch has been fantastic, and I feel like we’ve made it through the proverbial breastfeeding wall.

It’s been quite the breastfeeding rollercoaster thus far.

I have times when I love it; the knowledge that I’m providing my offspring with all the food and nutrients he needs – and that I’m the one making that milk – fills me with immense pride. When he de-latches, utterly milk drunk with milk dribbling down his chin I feel a swell of joy, love and subliminal contentment.

I’m enjoying the bond we’re forming as Mother and Son, and I feel like I’m in-tune with him. He doesn’t have to cry in the night to ask for a feed as he did initially – he shuffles his head into my chin and nuzzles me until I wake up, as if he knows that I’m not so great with loud, immediate wake-up calls and that the gentler approach is far better!

His total dependence on me is also really rather lovely.breastfeeding

But that total dependence also has a downside, and I do have moments (usually at about 2am after being woken up after only an hour or so of sleep) where I want to say to Nick “That’s it! No more! I’m stopping breastfeeding! Let’s give him a bottle so we can share feeds because I’m too tired to be awake and feeding for another two hours!”

There have been some tears – mostly when at my most sleep deprived during an epic cluster feeding day – where I’ve sobbed that I don’t know whether it’s worth continuing, whether it’s really and truly worth being constantly suckled and drained. Bottle feeding hasn’t harmed Busby; she’s an intelligent and healthy little girl, so why continue?

And then there’s my relationship with Busby, which has already been hugely affected by breastfeeding. She’s used to me being there for her 24/7, and although I knew that would change, I feel like I can’t really be there for her at all whilst HRH is munching away. I’m hoping this will get easier with time, but if Nick hadn’t been here for the past two weeks, I’m not sure how I would have coped with a demanding Baby and a demanding Toddler! She’s not one for sitting still and watching television… and there’s a reason he’s lovingly nicknamed “Breast Limpet” at the moment!

This being said, I am more determined to succeed this time round; I only managed to feed Busby exclusively for 10 days, so to have reached two weeks with HRH feels like a real achievement. I’m not ready to pack it all in yet!

I’ve felt so much more prepared with HRH:

  • A completely natural, relaxed birth and increased skin-to-skin has helped immensely. I couldn’t have asked for a better birth; it was totally relaxed, I felt in control and I listened to my body. HRH was straight on my chest and stayed there for an hour – he had latched on within 15 minutes of arriving! Neither of us had any drugs in our systems to confuse or stun us, and I’ve felt so much more comfortable with skin-to-skin this time round.
  • I’ve been better equipped mentally to deal with breastfeeding. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to establish – that it would take work, determination and persistence. I also knew that latching on would hurt initially, but that it passes in time.
  • I’ve been better equipped with breastfeeding paraphernalia. I’ve felt so fortunate to be working with Medela this time round, as they’ve supplied me with a fantastic breastfeeding kit! Their Purelan™100 nipple cream has been an absolute dream, and I’ve found it’s healed and soothed my sore nipples much quicker than other nipple creams.purelanI’ve been using the Medela electronic Swing breast pump almost daily to increase my supply, and siphon off any milk prior to HRH latching on if I’ve felt engorged. I’d definitely recommend an electronic breastpump to any Mamas wishing to breastfeed. I also prepared myself by buying nipple shields this time round; a friend once told me that if a Midwife hadn’t covertly handed her nipple shields in the early days of breastfeeding with her son then she wouldn’t have continued due to pain – and she breastfed for over six months, so I knew I had to have a pair. They were a godsend a number of times before HRH’s frenotomy!
  • I’ve had infinitely better support. The East Yorkshire Community Midwifery Team have been absolutely amazing with breastfeeding support. It has been consistent (I’ve seen the same Midwife each time) and encouraging, without feeling pushy. Nick has also been terrific – as he completely understands how heartbroken I was when breastfeeding didn’t work out with Busby – and he has been so supportive, keeps a great supply of cake and food coming my way… and makes the best chai tea latte!

I’m incredibly proud of myself for getting this far, and I really hope that I can continue for many more weeks/months to come.breastfeeding early days


Ps. The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed something on HRH’s shoulder in the first image… that would be a piece of my breastfeeding fodder – breastfeeding makes you super ravenous!!! Nothing but images of real life on this blog! Oops!

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Proud to be a Medela Mum


  1. 7th July 2015 / 7:38 am

    You are doing wonderfully lovely and your hormones will still be settling (and peaking!) so the highs and lows will continue for a bit. Well done for getting through the breast feeding wall. It is by no means easy and when you’re absolutely exhausted i remember it can feel torturous sometimes. He looks so content and happy and the way he wakes you up is just lovely xx

  2. 7th July 2015 / 9:25 am

    It’s like reading about my own story! Even down to having an amazing supportive husband, I too was do upset I couldn’t do it with Tia. I only managed a few days and then expressed daily for a few weeks and topped her up with my milk.
    Michael didn’t have a tongue tie love him but he did point blank refuse my right boob for the first five days causing me huge engorgement. Then I got mastitis in my left boob! But it’s been over three weeks now and still going strong and I’m stupidly proud of myself as you should be yourself.
    I’m sorry you had to put up with stupid uneducated people in the early days. It’s no wonder do many new mums feel like failures. Xx

  3. 7th July 2015 / 9:31 am

    You are doing a great job! Thank you for sharing your story. My little one was born with tongue in December and I feel extremely blessed to have found an supportive Lactation Consultant and Tongue Tie Practitioner. I have combined feeding with both my children so I do have the flexibility of a bottle (expressing in beginning days). The changes in my relationship with daughter ( “Big Sister”) was what caused me to cry the most at the beginning days. I promise that it gets easier around 12 weeks. My baby boy is 7 months and I have forgotten the early days of lack of sleep. Try to cherish these early days because they go so quickly. xoxo

  4. 7th July 2015 / 9:39 am

    You’re doing so very, very well. I remember the boob limpet days and they are not easy at all. Every day you manage to continue is a huge achievement and you should feel proud of yourself! Cake rewards also help, definitely 😉 x

  5. 7th July 2015 / 10:42 am

    People who judge mothers for breastfeeding or not breastfeeding really ought to read more accounts like this. I’ve not yet tried to breastfeed, but it’s clear that it’s a rollercoaster and is not always easy and it takes huge perseverance and dedication to get through the initial stages.
    It sounds as though you are doing amazingly well lovely. Keep eating that cake and best of luck xxx

  6. 7th July 2015 / 10:58 am

    Loved this honest and real post all about breastfeeding. I breastfed both of mine for 11 and 15 months respectively and I loved it so much, but I can honestly say it was the hardest thing I have ever done. There were times, in the night and also during the day when I felt like my body just wasn’t my own- that was suffocating at times. Plus in the beginning there were horrific rounds of mastitis, bleeding nipples, ouch, I wince at the memory of it. But it was wonderful and now neither of them need me like that anymore I do miss it at times. And I miss big boobs haha! 😉 x

  7. 7th July 2015 / 12:47 pm

    I only managed 2 days EBF with Gwenn. Although we continued breastfeeding for 10 months, it always felt like I’d not done it “properly”, which is probably silly because I was producing milk from my boobs so yeah, I was breastfeeding. I learned so much first time that I’d like to think “next time” would be easier in as much as I’d know what to expect. xx

  8. 7th July 2015 / 8:04 pm

    Well done student midwife! So glad they spotted something that has made your breastfeeding journey much easier. I’m really considering the medela pump is breastfeeding is successful for us, it looks amazing xx

  9. 8th July 2015 / 10:55 am

    Great post. You’ve done so well to get to 2 weeks, it certainly doesn’t sound like it’s been easy. Bleeding nipples-ouch! And I’m shocked that a specialist children’s doctor knows so little about breastfeeding.

    I loved that little milk drunk face and feeling proud that I was nourishing my boy. I hope that I’ll be able to do it again if I’m lucky enough to have a second child, but the challenges of breastfeeding when you have a demanding toddler worry me!

    Looking forward to hearing how you get on. Xx

  10. 8th July 2015 / 3:51 pm

    It sounds like you are doing an amazing job, despite the difficulties you’ve had in the first few weeks. I’m really hoping breastfeeding is more successful for us this time around too – with Toby I ended up combination feeding from about day 3 on the recommendation of a midwife and eventually switched to full time bottle feeding at about 6 weeks. Things were complicated for us by Toby’s reflux and an undiagnosed lip tie but I think we could have managed to maintain breastfeeding for longer if I’d had more support. Fingers crossed for this time, and you keep up the good work (and cake!)

  11. 11th July 2015 / 7:54 am

    Keep going Mama, you’re doing a brilliant job. It will get easier, I promise, especially after about 6 weeks. When we had our second I put together a feeding bag for my eldest. A snack, a drink, a funky straw, some colouring books and a couple of little toys that I’d swap in and out. When baby needed feeding, out would come the bag. Also when you grab your water and snack when the baby cries, grab some books too. Reading and feeding was the best activity for us.

  12. 13th July 2015 / 9:15 pm

    Oh he is adorable! I’m so sorry you had a shaky start- why aren’t doctors trained on the basics of breastfeeding??! Glad you overcame it all and that the tongue tie was picked up quickly. Can you believe that we waited until Elsie was 10 weeks before hers was snipped??!

    Thanks so much for linking up to #maternitymatters xx x

  13. 14th July 2015 / 11:16 am

    Yeah, the early days can be so challenging. So glad they figured out your tongue tie and sorted it out really quickly … what relief! Shame about the ignorance you faced though. Please pass on your experience to your local MSLC (Maternity Service Liaison Committee) so that they can take up the issue and address it, to improve the service for other mums.

    Well done for your perseverance with the cluster feeds; they really can be very disheartening … and the sleep deprivation; I don’t know how we cope. Then to add dealing with a toddler to that! You’re doing great.

    So lovely that it’s working out better this time and that you have quality support! #MaternityMatters

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