By Amelia Mae Cunningham
Blogger and Freelance Writer, talking honestly about motherhood and family life. After finding out she was pregnant in her final year of uni Amelia set up her own blog where she shares her experiences – we’re thrilled she’s chosen to work with MAM Baby UK
Learning On The Job
I don’t think any feeding journey is straight forward. Whether you choose breast or bottle (or both), there isn’t a manual to refer to. No instructions to follow, we all simply learn on the job. That in itself can be strange, worrying and even difficult as despite the advice from midwives, friends or family, only we know what feels right and what works. In short, for many of us first-time mums, our feeding journeys are made up of a lot of trial and error.
With that said, throughout pregnancy we all have a pretty good idea in what we think we are going to do once our baby arrives. For me, I was pretty certain I was going to bottle-feed. There was a severe lack in confidence when I thought about breastfeeding my baby. I just didn’t believe I could do it, couldn’t picture it in my head. I was pretty set on bottle feeding right up until the very moment I gave birth.
Those first few moments of holding my son close are moments I will always treasure. I remember bringing him to my breast for the first time so clearly. It was the most natural, instinctive thing for me to do. That was the start of my journey as a breastfeeding mum. I couldn’t quite believe I had ever doubted myself. I couldn’t quite believe I didn’t want to do it. It was the most special feeling in the world and I am really glad I stuck with it for the first six months of my son’s life.
It wasn’t plain sailing and of course there were moments in the beginning where he struggled to latch on, when I felt like I wasn’t giving him enough fast enough, where I lacked confidence in public, where I felt like stopping and switching to bottle, but I carried on until the time was right for both of us.
Every Mum’s Journey Is Different
We all have struggles and while one mum’s feeding journey may look simple, there will always be something else she might be struggling with and that’s what I tried to remind myself throughout my feeding journey.
When I struggled, I knew deep down I wasn’t the only one, and I tried to take gratitude in knowing that I had support and advice from midwives and family. It’s so important to reach out and take advantage of all the brilliant support networks out there for first-time mums, you’ll be surprised just how much a different perspective or suggestion may help improve or enhance your feeding journey.
Introducing A Bottle
6 months into breastfeeding, I made the decision to introduce formula and start combination feeding. I reduced the amount of times I’d breastfeed and replaced those feeds with a bottle. The main contributing factor for me wanting to slowly make the switch to a bottle was so that others could feed him, including my partner.
I would express milk for others to feed him initially and sometimes topped up his feeds with formula. Within a couple of months, he was completely formula fed. It was a strange ending of an amazing chapter we had together. I was sad but also happy, he was gaining independence and confidence with other family members. It was lovely to see.
Making Breastfeeding Work For You
I felt like a bit of my self had restored and I honestly felt a bit more like “Amelia” again when our breast-feeding journey came to an end. That’s where I think every mum is different. Some may want to stop breastfeeding earlier than others and that’s ok, it’s about what works for you and your baby. While I did have some guilt about stopping, I think it’s important to remind yourself just how far you’ve come in your feeding journey.
Regardless of what method you chose, we are all amazing for providing our baby with everything they need!