A Year of Breastfeeding

I honestly didn’t think I’d get to this point – a whole year of breastfeeding under my belt, but with it being National Breastfeeding Week, it seems appropriate to celebrate. I’m proud to have fed Pickle for this long, and although it was tough to begin with (that initial six weeks of getting the hang of it and persevering through cracked nipples and raging hormones seems like a distant memory now), it’s been a journey I’ve absolutely loved. And I’m still not ready for it to be over.

Breastfeeding in the Sunshine

I suppose somewhere along the line, I made the conscious decision to not write about breastfeeding very much on here. And part of me is a bit ashamed about that. I feel like I should have flown the flag a little bit more and spoken out about the good and bad parts. It’s not because I’m a shy breastfeeder – I’ve happily gotten the boob out anywhere it’s needed and I’ve had some lovely conversations with other women, other Moms and inquisitive children about what it’s like, how it works and why it’s important. But I’ve been worried about not being able to express myself properly about it in writing, and run the risk of offending someone if they don’t read what I’ve said properly or in the manner in which it was intended.

I don’t want to be associated with the real hardcore breastfeeders. The ones who make other women feel inferior, or who criticise pretty much everything as being barriers for encouraging breastfeeding without seeming to realise that perhaps their behaviour is also pretty off putting. I’d love more women to breastfeed in this country, but I care more about more women being happier Moms. And that means letting each of us make our own informed decisions and being confident in them – whatever we decide is best for our family.

breastfeeding in car

I don’t know what the future holds for Pickle and I. He does still drink a fair amount: he loves a snooze-y feed first thing in the morning, and usually has a feed before any daytime naps and again before bedtime. And then on and off during the night – we still haven’t hit the holy grail of sleeping through. This recent hot weather has sent him into milk overdrive though and he’s been after milk a lot more frequently, and to be honest, I’ve let him. I’d rather him stay hydrated. He will drink water, but he’d much rather have milk! Wednesday was a particularly MILKY day, and for the first time in ages, I did actually feel like it was too much.

Breastfeeding My Baby

Part of me thinks that I really should start thinking about cutting down. But, I don’t really know how. I worry about how I’ll get him to sleep otherwise. I worry about not being needed as much. I worry it’ll be the start of him not wanting cuddles anymore. Because that’s got to be the best bit of feeding, hasn’t it? All those lovely snuggles. I don’t want to give those up just yet. I also worry about what others will think. And I KNOW, I’d be the first person to tell someone else not to give two hoots about what other people think, but there’s so much negativity and misunderstanding around extended breastfeeding.

For me, I initially wanted to get to six months of feeding. That was my first milestone. And when I hit it? I wanted to get to a year. And now I’m past that, what’s next? In all honesty, I don’t have something now to aim for, as such. I’m playing it by ear. But the World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding for up to two years, so whatever happens in the next eleven months, I feel like I’ll at least have their support.

Breastfeeding at Bluestone Wales

For now, I’ll just live in the moment. Because for as long as we’re both happy, we’ll continue. I’m proud to have made it this far. And I’ll be proud for however long this journey continues.

29 Comments

  1. Antonia
    June 22, 2017 / 7:57 am

    Well done you! And THANK YOU for not talking about it all the time. I mean I totally think if you are able breastfeeding is Ann awesome thing to be able to do butttt I am the “since when did we have to talk about how we feed our kids all the time?” Camp. I mean I never say “I’m going to go and bottle feed my baby now” but know so many who daybreak “oh I’m just going to go and pop them on the boob” like it’s a badge to wear. Enough boob talk lol! We managed fifteen weeks before completely stopping which I am really happy with 🙂 I wanted to go to four months of nursing but my little one was a really inefficient and unpredictable feeder, possibly due to early tongue tie and physical trauma set backs. I am back to work in six weeks and wanted to have finished by then so I’m not dealing with engorgement or anything as o can’t express in a client facing role! That and my supply isn’t great – I spend more time expressing than working! But I salute you! If you can do it…. I say do it! We struggled and now bottle feed and are both so so much happier! I am curious to see how long your journey lasts 🙂 whenever you’re ready to stop let me know as I didn’t have any problems the way we did it 🙂 xx

    • Antonia
      June 22, 2017 / 7:58 am

      Excuse the typos!

    • June 22, 2017 / 8:05 am

      Exactly this!! This is exactly why I haven’t banged on about it – to me, feeding your baby is just normal and everyday. It’s nothing ‘special’. I will definitely be after your advice when I do stop – although, I’m kind of hoping it’ll just gradually reduce and reduce so I don’t have any supply issues. I think cutting down in the day time will be easier, but I’m not sure night times will go as well!

      Your little lady is a lucky, lucky girl!

    • June 22, 2017 / 8:08 am

      Yes! Exactly this! Couldn’t have written it better myself. I think even some people who preach about ‘fed is best’ still come across as having a bit of a superiority complex. I think I’m a bit more sensitive to the issue because one of my best friends couldn’t breastfeed due to a double mastectomy and I’ve always hated the idea that anyone or anything would make her feel less than the amazing Mum that she is.

  2. June 22, 2017 / 10:47 am

    Well done! When T was an infant, she had trouble latching and was losing weight really fast. The health visitor advised me to mix feed her with formula or else if she loses more weight she’d have to be admitted to the hospital and the thought horrified me. So even if I felt such a failure as a mother, I gave in and mixed fed her now. I’m so over-the guilt now. You do what you have to do right? I love hearing though about breast-feeding stories, even though mine wasn’t exactly good 🙂 xx

  3. June 22, 2017 / 11:09 am

    I always set out with the idea that if I could, I would. and I did, all four times. But I also knew when was right to stop, which was before the year was up. That was down to me, and lifestyle more than anything else. You’ve done so well to carry on for a whole year, that is wonderful. You look so very natural on your photos. I know my own Mother carried on for two years, because I was rather ill in those two years and the health professionals (even back in the ’70’s) recommended it was good for me, and would help.

  4. June 22, 2017 / 12:18 pm

    Well done for making it to the one year mile stone. I originally set out to BF Luke for six months, but I found I just couldn’t do it. There were possibly more “outside” factors contributing to me failing to keep it up, rather than anything to do with feeding itself. I’m not sure if I’d try it again if I had baby number two, I feel like I’ve been put off! But I know what you mean when you say you don’t want to be put into the same bracket as the “hardcore” breastfeeding mums!

  5. June 22, 2017 / 12:52 pm

    Congratulations a year of breastfeeding that is amazing! Well done you. I breastfed until 15 months it just kinda happened I didn’t put any expectations on ourselves we just did what was right so will be interesting to see what the future holds for you x
    Talya recently posted…Twin to win: awesome mummy and me tops from InkRocket + win a set!My Profile

  6. June 22, 2017 / 4:27 pm

    Congratulations! That’s amazing Holly and utter dedication too! I found breast feeding horrifically painful and very hard work, especially the more children I had. I admire you so much for this, you have given little pickle such an amazing start in life. xxx
    five little doves recently posted…A cheeky breakfast with JimJams chocolate spreadMy Profile

  7. June 22, 2017 / 7:16 pm

    I love your open non judgmental tone and I’m happy to celebrate your journey thus far with you. Indeed FED is best! I mix fed my first for 6 months then moved to bottles – purely to kick start my cycle and get pregnant again;, and breast fed my second for about 9 months, then formula. I loved both forms, breast feeding was special. But, for me, in fact in some ways I enjoyed the eye contact of bottle feeding more, and the liberation of wearing anything I wanted and getting my body back! I so wish general advice was more realistic about how hard it is for the first 6-7 weeks, the pain, pink milk, how tiring it is. I will never forget a breast feeding consultant telling our NCT group how easy and natural it was… and all 8 of us cursed her lack of realism as we dug our curled toes into the sofa During those early days. We all have our own journey, and they are all right. Kate http://www.fivelittlestars.com

  8. June 22, 2017 / 9:31 pm

    Well done on making it this far! And thanks for not banging on about it. I nursed my babies for 4 months and didn’t regret stopping, but people are often so quick to try and make you feel bad. Everyone should do what works best for them. Good luck with making it for as long as you want!

  9. June 23, 2017 / 3:46 pm

    Both of my sons fed till they were ready, there was no difficulty, they just naturally ate more food and needed less milk. I love that you mentioned the early weeks of soreness and cracked nipples. That came as a complete surprise to me when I had my first son, but parents need to know about it.

  10. June 23, 2017 / 3:46 pm

    Both of my sons fed till they were ready, there was no difficulty, they just naturally ate more food and needed less milk. I love that you mentioned the early weeks of soreness and cracked nipples. That came as a complete surprise to me when I had my first son, but parents need to know about it.
    Rachel George, Ordinary Hopes recently posted…When you wish upon a star…My Profile

  11. June 23, 2017 / 7:19 pm

    Congrats! Love your post that you didn’t make other women feel bad that they didn’t commit to breastfeed for as long as you did.

  12. June 23, 2017 / 7:58 pm

    I think it’s a shame that breastfeeding/not breastfeeding has become such a source of contention between people, and that you haven’t felt comfortable with writing about it because of it. I totally agree with you that every mother and baby are different, and will therefore find happiness with different techniques!

  13. June 23, 2017 / 8:43 pm

    well done. I am still so sad I wasn’t able to feed mine. Sadly not enough support to help 🙁

  14. June 23, 2017 / 9:32 pm

    Well done! We currently still going at 28 months. I wanted to stop a couple of days but I’m sure I’ll miss it once he suddenly weans one day.

  15. June 24, 2017 / 8:36 am

    OMG, how is he a year already?????? I breastfed mine until around 2-3 and it is a decision I don’t regret at all
    Kara recently posted…Schleich Wonder Woman ReviewMy Profile

  16. June 24, 2017 / 9:04 am

    Well done, My youngest breastfed till he was three and although it wasn’t my choice, he has benefitted from it immensely health wise. Although one area I didn’t realise is that breastfeeding for a long time can lead to tooth decay due to the sweetness of the milk and my youngest has suffered from cavities that the other two didn’t who I breastfed for less time.
    Kizzy recently posted…Review: Into The Water by Paula HawkinsMy Profile

  17. June 24, 2017 / 10:12 am

    Well done for getting to both of those milestones. I had to stop at 9 months on my first cause I was returning to a job which meant I couldn’t physically carry on feeding. Then on my second I decided not to return to work but my little one decided to self wean. She was the one that gave up. I was devastated x

  18. June 24, 2017 / 11:05 am

    You’ve done fantastically well to reach the 1 year mark. I got as far as 8 months and stopped and regretted it afterwards. I wished I’d continued until my son weaned himself. So do what is right for you and your son and don’t worry about anyone else. He is obviously thriving and you are still enjoying it and the saying is so true: Happy mum = happy baby!

  19. June 25, 2017 / 10:29 am

    I think you’ve hit a good balance of championing breast feeding without being preachy. There are lots of women who would love to be able to breastfeed but can’t because of circumstances outwith their control. My wife had an abscess when breastfeeding which hospitalised her. This put the option of breastfeeding out of her reach, and she’s felt awful about that ever since.

  20. Sarah
    June 25, 2017 / 10:59 am

    I do think it’s a shame you say on one hand that you don’t talk about breastfeeding for fear of offending others, but then say you are nervous about extended breastfeeding because of what others will think. Talking about your breastfeeding journey or sharing info is in no way belittling formula feeders and it’s a shame that it is always taken in that manner. England has the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world, and if people sharing information helps more women to successfully breastfeed, or feel more confident about it (ie seeing women on social media happily feeding in public, or detailing how they overcame a barrier) then that’s surely a good thing. It’s unfair for people to keep advice or experience on breastfeeding to themselves in case it offends someone who chose not to breastfeed. If a woman can’t, or simply doesn’t want to breastfeed, that’s entirely her choice and I am a huge champion of this. But, I don’t see the need to say that someone who made a different choice shouldn’t be allowed to talk about it for fear of offending. Whether it’s breast or bottle, women should make their choice based on what’s right for them, and own that choice.

  21. June 26, 2017 / 9:55 am

    Well done you for making it so far. It can be quite problematic for some mothers, so I take my hat off to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge