I’ve always had a positive image of breastfeeding. Growing up I knew that some babies were breastfed, and some were bottlefed. When I gave birth to Charles in 2009 I knew how I wanted to feed him, breastfeeding seemed so natural to me and when he was placed on my chest everything seemed perfect.
We had a few struggles, and after a very tough 3 days he was diagnosed with tongue tie, which was later snipped when Charles was 8 days old. Although he took to breastfeeding perfectly fine it then took me two weeks to feel confident enough to latch him on and to accept that there would no longer be the shooting pains and bleeding. We struggled through Oral Thrush on a couple of occasions, and went through the biting stage but even then I enjoyed every feed. I didn’t know how long I would breastfeed him for. I set myself goals of 6 months , 7 months and then 14 months and I reached every one until at 18 months he stopped feeding. I was pregnant with Harry and my milk supply was really quite low compared to the milking machine I once was. Although I felt sad I was pleased that Charles made the decision to stop. He knew it wasn’t working well anymore.
When Harry was born there was no doubt in my mind about breastfeeding, I knew that once again this was how I wanted to feed. With 18 months of experience I felt confident in feeding him at home and in public, recognising any issues and for continuing as long as he wanted. The first 2-3 weeks were really tough. There were so many moments I almost gave up. Harry simply had a lazy latch, he just wanted the milk to pour into his mouth with no effort. Once he got over that we also faced Oral Thrush, biting and also me suffering from mastitis.
Although my initial goal was set high at 18 months I didn’t think we would go much past that. When it got towards 2 and a half years I started to think about how long we would continue. I was happy to go on to 3 years but there was a doubt in my mind. Then Christmas Day came and something inside me told me it was time to stop. I breastfed him for the last time late on Christmas Day.
He would beg for it everyday, and although it would have been easy for me to give in and continue but I knew I had to be strong. Part of me didn’t want to give up. Part of me felt like I was letting him down, and I struggled to really understand why I was putting us both through this upset. I had to keep reminding myself that I had done so well to get to two and a half years, but that we had to stop at some point. It would benefit us both. He kept trying to get milk from me for 2 months. And occasionally he still asks. And occasionally I sit down and, due to habit, I cradle him and position him for a feed, especially when he is poorly, or tired.
5 months after stopping I miss it more than ever. I would love to go back in time and experience breastfeeding them both just one more time. I have had to accept that I won’t breastfeed ever again, but instead I have some wonderful precious memories that I will never ever forget.
Lauren from Real Housewife Of Suffolk County