Breastfeeding for 6 months!

I wanted party poppers to burst forth from your screen when you opened this blog post, but unfortunately, that isn't a thing. This is a hugely celebratory post though, because not only have I kept a baby alive for six months - but I've done so by feeding her breastmilk, and that makes me feel awesome.
To some people, this probably isn't a big deal, I mean, the NHS and WHO recommend exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months, so I've only done what I'm supposed to, but when you consider that only 1% of British babies are exclusively breastfed at 24 weeks (Quinn's 26 weeks now) - I can't believe that Quinn is one of that 1%, given that I was so so ready to stop breastfeeding at 2 weeks.
If you read any of my early breastfeeding posts (I'll link to them at the end for newer readers), you'll know that we really struggled. I was lucky to have amazing support from my boyfriend, but the physical pain of feeding a tongue tied baby, along with the emotional pain brought about by struggling to breastfeed when your body is full of post-partum hormones is incredibly overwhelming.
Am I blowing my own trumpet a bit here? Yeah probably. 
At 6 months, Quinn doesn't sleep through the night. I get asked quite a lot if she's a "good sleeper", and I get a lot of sympathy when I say that she isn't, but in the grand scheme of things, whilst I'm tired some days, I actually don't mind being up in the night feeding Quinn because every breastfeed is such an achievement for me. 
I really wanted to give Quinn the best start in life by giving her six months of breast milk. In that six months, breastfeeding has taught me lessons I didn't even know I'd missed before. Breastfeeding alone has set me on a completely new path, and I'm now taking the first steps on a longer journey to qualify as a lactation consultant - a career path I'd never so much as considered before. 
The bond that I have with Quinn is something spiritual and awe inspiring. Perhaps that would have been the case if I'd bottle fed her too, but I am confident that breastfeeding has helped us to carry on living as two separate halves of the same thing - I still feel some of that same relationship that I did when I was pregnant. She's her own person of course, but I feel so connected to her in a way that I never experienced when I bottle fed Seb.
Don't get me wrong, the amount that I love them both is the same. I'd have died for Seb in the moment that he was born, and that's never changed, but bond and love aren't the same thing, and Quinn and I are definitely better gelled than Seb and I were when he was six months old. 
When I started breastfeeding I just wanted to get here, to six months, that's all I focused on, that was the goal. When Quinn's tongue tie meant that my nipples were bleeding and I screamed when she latched on, I didn't think we'd get here. After her tongue tie was surgically divided and she had to learn, pretty much from scratch, how to breastfeed, I cried and cried with frustration and pain and exhaustion, and I didn't think we'd get here. The first time I was bed ridden with mastitis, the second time, the third time, the time I ended up in hospital on a Sunday morning, I didn't think we'd get here. When I was put on steroid tablets to try to tackle agonising ductal thrush, I didn't think we'd get here. When I realised that suffering from vasospasm and D-Mer weren't conditions that could be treated and that however long I breastfeed for, the symptoms would be there, I didn't think we'd get here. Yet, here we are, still breastfeeding every couple of hours, 24 hours a day, and training to help others to reach their own breastfeeding goals.
So... is that it? I've reached what felt like an impossible goal, does it stop here?
Hell no. I never ever ever thought that I'd be someone who'd breastfeed an older baby or toddler. I fully admit that the thought of feeding bigger children always struck me as weird, selfish and alarming - until I breastfed a baby, and now I'm like "how does anyone ever choose to stop breastfeeding?" So, despite the vasospasm, and the D-Mer, which are ongoing and will get their own blog post at some point, we're in it for the long haul.
I see how happy breastfeeding makes Quinn, like, not a satisfied hunger kind of happiness, but  a sense of safety, security, I see her latch on, and realise for the umteenth time that she is loved, it sends her to sleep, it makes her giggle to herself and when she's sad it stops her from crying. So yeah, there's no way we're stopping any time soon!
Thank you so so much to everyone who helped us get to 6 months, mainly to Boyfriend for his undying support and encouragement, and to all three of our boys, who've always championed their little sister's love of the boob! Thanks also to the Mother of Quinn's two eldest brothers, who's always been so understanding, even taxi'ing me up to the out of hours doctor with ductal thrush and blocked ducts. Thanks to my Mother-not-in-law-because-I'm-not-actually-married-to-her-son for bringing the coffee. Thank you to my best friends who've always been my breastfeeding cheerleaders, and their husbands, who've never cared about me whacking out a boob! And thank you to everyone who reads my blog and sent me messages, emails, tweets, commented on posts, or came and sought me out in person just to say well done. You guys rock. 
Thank you last of all to Quinn, for opening my eyes to something I'd previously shrugged off and never quite "got". Thanks for feeding every hour through the night to help clear out infected blockages and for the 26 week oxytocin trip! 
Our breastfeeding journey so far:
2nd August: The Early Days
5th August: Darker Newborn Moments
10th August: Tongue Tie Snip
24th August: Introducing Formula
31st October: Ductal Thrush
4th November: Breastfeeding in Public
23rd November: "Brelfies"

1 comment:

  1. Hi 5 mama! Tongue tie sucks, boob pain sucks but you did it and you are doing it and let's be honest night times are less painful with those happy bf hormones and that satisfied guzzle and list fist resting on your skin!just lush, please try not to feel pressure to stop you will both know when it's time and if people make you doubt yourself pop over and tell me I'll shake my cheerleader pom poms at you xxxx