Our breastfeeding journey

 I have always wanted to breastfeed. I don't really know why to be honest. My mam breastfed me for 6 weeks but was never a massively for or against breastfeeding but I have just always known I would breastfeed. I didn't buy any bottles/formula etc when i was pregnant because to me it just wasn't an option. I mean don't get me wrong i have absolutely nothing against mamas that choose to formula feed their babies, everyone deserves to have that choice, I just personally didn't ever picture myself doing anything other than breastfeeding. Luckily Gary completely agreed with me and was more than happy with my decision to exclusively breastfeed. My initial goal was to last 6 months.

When Rocco was born he latched straight away and had a big feed but due to my waters being broken for an unacceptable amount of time before delivering, he picked up a nasty infection and had to spend a few days in the special care baby unit (full story to follow in a another post.) To cut a long story short, in the middle of the first night instead of waking me up to feed Rocco like discussed, the nurses in the SCBU gave him a 50ml bottle of formula. Needless to say that this caused all sorts of nipple confusion and we couldn't get him to latch. The next few days consisted of trying to breast feed and then having to give him formula top ups with a little tiny cup. Once we got home, when Rocco was 5 days old, we finally managed to ditch the top ups and go back to exclusively breastfeeding

Rocco's first breastfeed- about 2 minutes old!

 It was harder than I ever thought possible. I know all the experts say that if the latch is perfect there should be no pain, but in my case his latch was spot on and it was toe curlingly painful. I remember Gary handing me Rocco and saying that he needed feeding and I instantly cried at the thought of it, but finally, after 6 weeks of pain, cracked nipples and tears, it finally got better. The pain was gone, my baby had piled on the weight and was proving to be a right little fatty, the sense of achievement was the greatest I had ever felt.

And then we got thrush...

I honestly didn't even think it was possible to have oral/nipple thrush. I had realised feeding had gotten a little bit more painful again but had put it down to possibly the start of teething. I looked into Rocco's mouth and noticed these small white patches all over his tongue and gums. A phone call to the Doctor later and we were prescribed medication- Nystatin for Rocco and Clotrimazole for me. It definitely got worse before it got better though and brought back all the pain I had in those first 6 weeks.

So apart from those minor hiccups 6 months went past without a problem and by that point there was no chance he was giving up yet. There was also no way he was ever taking a bottle- not that I tried too much to be honest.

We started weaning on 20th September- the day Rocco turned 6 months old. We started with traditional weaning- because that was all I had ever known, but then quickly switched to baby led weaning. I really thought that once Rocco was on solids he would have less breast milk. I was wrong, by his first birthday he was still boobing every 2 hours- day and night!

One of the biggest reasons for breastfeeding for me was the impact it has on the babies immune system and health. For example did you know if someone sneezed in the same room as a breastfeeding mother, within half an hour the mother's milk is packed with the antibodies needed for the baby to fight the germs that were in that sneeze. How fascinating is that?

Rocco has never been a good sleeper. In fact despite him being an absolute dream baby in every other way- he has been a god damn awful sleeper (have a look at my post on co-sleeping for more info.) We managed to finally cut down the breastfeeding in the daytime, but there was no chance of night weaning yet. By the time he turned Two he was having boob for nap time and bedtime and then around every 3-4 hours through the night.

At around 2 and a half years he FINALLY started sleeping through the night! I finally had a full night sleep for the first time in about 3 years! This was also around the time that he dropped his naps most days too so would only have boob for bedtime and that was it.

And then, on January 19th 2019 the strangest thing happened. We had done our usual bedtime routine, teeth brushed, bathed, massaged (yep he's that extra) read a story and then snuggled up, usually he would ask for 'boobie time' as he did every single night, but instead he gave me a cuddle and a kiss, turned over and went to sleep! This was nearly a month ago now and he hasn't asked for boob once since!

Don't get me wrong I was super emotional that our breastfeeding journey had came to an end but I was SO happy that he had the chance to make the decision to stop himself and that it came to a natural end.

So that's that, 1035 days of breastfeeding my little human. It will forever be the proudest thing I have ever done. I've grown this perfect little boy from a tiny little dot in my tummy to this amazing, clever, funny and energetic almost three year old. Aren't us mamas bloody amazing!

Click here for some fascinating breastfeeding facts!

Click here for information on breastfeeding beyond a year and natural term weaning. 

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