Breastfeeding: It Isn’t What it Says on The Tin!

Written by Nicola Mansfield, Kent Mum

I do not mind admitting that when we first found out that we were pregnant with Archer, I didn’t even think about the effects this would have on our relationship. I just assumed we would handle things like everyone else seems to (thank you social media) and just crack on! Oh how wrong I was!  

Nicola and Archer

We both love our Son to bits and anyone who has met Archer will know he is one of the happiest and smiliest babies ever (she say’s while he is rolling around on the floor screaming at me because I am not paying him any attention) but he has come with some challenges.

The first 4 months of this life were plagued by constant worry about his weight gain, sore nipples, mastitis, anger, fear and anxiety. He had an undiagnosed tongue tie that was stopping him from latching correctly hence the reason for the slow weight gain. As much as my husband tried to understand how upset I was getting, he also couldn’t really understand why I wouldn’t just switch for a bottle or top him up with formula.

To be honest, I couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t do that either- I know we were taught at a young age, breast is best but its 2020 surly we can all agree fed is best now?

Roll forward to a few more weeks down the line and I remember sitting in the Breastfeeding support clinic in Twydll with my mother in law, crying my eyes out because I had just had enough. We had the tongue tie rectified and he STILL wasn’t gaining weight quickly enough.

It was only when I finally managed to get my Husband along to one of the meetings, that the decision was made to try and switch Archer to bottles. I had been expressing so much milk I felt like Daisy the cow so we decided that I would express feed him until he was 6 months old and then I would stop.

Unfortunately for me- I then had Mastitis 3 times, I was really not coping well mentally as I was shattered. We made the choice together to stop and alternate with formula until the frozen milk supply finished. I felt lucky because I was able to give Archer a breast milk bath to almost finish our breastfeeding journey together and now he is on solid foods and thriving. Hes actually now in 9-12 month clothing and he’s just turned 8 months! I cannot believe we used to worry so much about his weight now.

I guess, the point I am trying to make here is that if you are expecting your first baby, please lean on your partner and let them help. I was so adamant that I wanted to breastfeed Archer I feel like it partly ruined those first few months. I almost isolated myself from people because I was continuously worrying about him and secretly getting very angry at my Husband for not understanding why this was so important to me.

We are continuing to learn every single day, about each other as well as Archer and with our weaning journey well under way, the challenges are still there. Our relationship is getting into a new routine and our love for Archer just keeps getting stronger as each day passes.

I like to be able to look back on these times and be thankful that I had the support from the Breastfeeding Key Workers at the Twydll Clinic and also my friends from NCT classes and Yoga.

If you have any questions and you are in the Medway area, please do reach out to your local support clinic. The support they provided us with over the first few months of Archer’s life was amazing and I would highly recommend them.

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