I can honestly say, I never thought I would have made it to ten weeks of breastfeeding. Whenever anyone asked me if I was going to breastfeeding or not, my answer was always an emphatic "yes! For as long as I can". I know breastfeeding isn't for everyone, not every baby takes to the breast, and sometimes its not the most suitable solution for baby or mum, so I thought we'd play it by ear, and feed her myself for as long as was comfortable. I never thought I'd still be doing it, and loving it, 10 weeks on.
We wanted to breastfeed for all the obvious reasons: as the slogan says "breast is best" providing immunity/antibodies to the baby, helps with bonding and it reduces the risk of SIDS. But to be totally honest, it appealed to my lazy side! Breast milk is always ready, it's the right temperature and has everything my baby needs all in the one place. No making up bottles in the middle of the night, washing and sterilising the bottles. Oh the sterilising! I bought a breast pump and the washing-sterilising-using-washing-sterilising cycle has totally put me off using it!! Told you I was lazy!
It also appealed to my mean side, as breast milk is totally free! I mean, the things we do to save money... ;o)
There were a couple of weeks where I really doubted that I was doing the right thing for Samantha. We really struggled. She just seemed constantly hungry, she was struggling to gain weight, and I worried that my milk wasn't good enough for her. Plus I was exhausted, she just wanted fed allllll the time, and my poor hubby felt so bad that he couldn't do anything to help. It is only in the last couple of weeks that I feel my milk supply is steady and plentiful, and we're I'm a very loose pattern.
Our Health Visitor became very focused on her weight, making me even more paranoid that my milk was rubbish, and she suggested that we should maybe "top up" with formula at night. Even my mum said that we had done well to have got this far, and suggested we should maybe go p. to formula. I got upset at this, which really surprised me, as I had it in my head that we wouldn't be breastfeeding for this long. But I got really quite upset, why I don't know, and I was determined to continue exclusively with the breastfeeding. And I'm glad we did.
Samantha is putting weight on, slowly but surely. She sleeps well through the night (our HV had also suggested waking the baby up through the night for a feed - eh, don't think so!), and is so alert, wide eyed and nosy!! She certainly doesn't go hungry, and some days she's like a little feeding demon.
One of the things that has kept me going has been attending the local breastfeeding support group. The mums that go are so supportive and it's great to talk to people who are going/have gone through what you are going through. It's been lovely to run my problems past them, get their advice and to hear them say "ignore your HV, here's what worked for us" Sometimes I go with nothing to say, but someone else is going through a tough patch and if I can help then great. Other times it's just to get out the house and have a natter over a coffee with the other mums. Regardless, I don't think I would be as confident if I hadn't started going to the group.
I also never thought I won be able to breastfeed in public. I had a fear of people confronting me, telling me to get out or, even worse, being asked to feed the baby in the toilet!! Trust me, I have a whole load of replies to that stored up just in case. I have breastfed in public now, and have had no problems. It's so easy to be discreet. And nursing bras and tops have been invaluable!
I don't know how long I will continue to breastfeed Samantha. I don't intend to be still doing it when she is two! There is a woman at the group who is still feeding her toddler and he almost has a full set of teeth. Perhaps I'll stop when Samantha's teeth come in. until then, we'll just keep on winging it.