This is the last in a series of posts for National Breastfeeding Week. Apologies for the mammoth post, this is why this one is last!
When I was pregnant with Big Muddle, we attended NCT antenatal classes. I still wasn't sure that I would breastfeed. I would give it a go, sure, but I wasn't sure it was for me. I had this idea of being restricted by it, unable to go out, have a drink, be 'free' from my baby. I remember one of the other pregnant women telling me how her mother in law breastfed both her children until they were 2. Not for me, I thought. If they're old enough to ask for it they're too old to have it, I reasoned. Little did I know I'd break her record! I set myself a target of six weeks.
Big Muddle didn't do well to start with. Mucuosy from an assisted delivery she preferred being cup fed the expressed top ups I was encouraged to offer it took us several days to really get going. Once she had got the hang though, there was no stopping her and she gained weight brilliantly, only dropping 500g post birth! The six week 'deadline' came and went.
When she was nearly five months old, I returned to work full time. Keen to keep her on breastmilk until six months, I expressed once a day. When we reached six months, she had only had one bottle of formula milk so we carried on as we were.
I stopped expressing when Big Muddle was about 11 months old, and from then she went straight onto cow's milk during the day. She was still having breastfeeds in the evening and at night.
At a year old she went into her own bedroom, which facilitated night weaning. It was also at this point that I dropped to part time hours at work, so we carried on feeding in the daytime as and when she chose.
This continued until she was about 2 1/4. It was then that I found I was pregnant again. As I felt we were reaching the end of our feeding journey anyway, when the hormones slowed my milk I explained that 'Mummy's milk is all gone now' and she adapted with no problems.
Baby Muddle was a totally different start. I had less painkillers at her birth and it was an unassisted arrival. I think both of these factors meant that she was feeding well before she had even been weighed.
She is a completely different feeder to Big Muddle, which I wasn't really expecting. Big Muddle was very focussed, and would take boob whenever offered, until totally full. Baby Muddle has to be in the mood, and even then will latch briefly, to stop and 'chat', then latch on again!
Second time around I have been less focussed on her having exclusively breastmilk. Lack of time for expressing has meant that when I've gone to the gym etc she has had formula. Also, I have decided I'm not returning to work now, so I'm sure that will have an effect on how breastfeeding progresses. It will be interesting to see how different this journey is as it progresses!