January 23, 2018

Mother and baby breastfeeding

I was never planning on writing a post on my breastfeeding journey with Louie. Since it was such a positive experience I really didn't think it was necessary to share. It's funny how when things are hard and traumatic writing them out is very therapeutic to me, yet I never get that same urge when something comes easy to me. In my reflection this year to focus on the positive and things I am grateful for, and to capture my motherhood journey with both Oslo and Louie, I changed my mind. I realised even though my breastfeeding journey this time around was a cake walk compared to my experience with Oslo, it doesn't mean it is any less important.

Yesterday my sister Alex sent me some shots she took on film of me breastfeeding Louie when he was just a month old. Suddenly my eyes welled up with tears and my heart sank at the thought that I wasn't going to take the time to write about this special time we have had so far. So here I am a year and a half after writing my first breastfeeding journey post, ready to share how things are going the second time around.

The first moment Louie latched onto my breast was in the back of a bumpy, speeding ambulance on our way to the hospital, just moments after he was born at the bottom of our stairwell at home. It was an awkward environment to begin, but for me it was an instinctual feeling that I wanted him to start right away. I didn't have those first beautiful breastfeeding moments with Oslo just after birth, so even though I was in the back of this ambulance with a nurse, doctor, and paramedic staring at me, this moment was perfect for us.

When we arrived at the hospital I was taken to the maternity ward where I was checked over, and a midwife assessed the post-birth damage. It turns out the ambulance ride and stress of delivering the placenta along the journey, made matters in my nether regions a lot worse than when I was at home. I told the midwife that I wanted Louie to nurse while she gave me the stitches, because I thought it would distract me from what was happening below. Unfortunately my post-birth uterine contractions began as he started to feed for the second time, and with that came the excruciating pain of getting stitches, which took me right out of what should have been a blissful beginning. Knowing this was a normal feeling, I powered through.

The first couple of days in hospital Louie fed well and was a complete natural. I was so nervous I would be in pain and struggle for many months like I did with Oslo, so I asked my doula to come and check me right away. I told her I was experiencing nipple pain when he latched, but she assured me everything looked great and that I should just give it time. I realised it wasn't fair to Louie to put unnecessary pressure on him and even on me, just because I struggled the first time. I then relaxed into it, and just enjoyed these moments of nurturing my wee one again.

After the first few days my nipple pain gradually went away, and our incredible bonding experience really began. With the experience I had with Oslo and the knowledge I learned from breastfeeding him, the highs and the lows, I feel this time everything is so natural and just easy. With no pain I let Louie feed as long as he wants and needs, which in turn has made this sweet babe turn into a massive, way above average sized 6 month old. It's actually laughable how giant he is, especially compared to Oslo's size. It's all thanks to my breastmilk, and I am so incredibly proud.

Now I don't feel any pressure to prove to myself that I can do it. This thought haunted me every day with Oslo. I so badly wanted to succeed at breastfeeding, that I continued even though the first four months brought me no joy, and only pain and negativity. In many ways I am thankful I persevered and fed Oslo until he was a year old, I will always be grateful for it. Though looking back on it all I really wish I gave myself permission to end things early, without feeling like I failed. That whole experience taught me so much. The best part being that I now give allowance to call the shots no matter what people might think, or judgement I want to place on myself.

Through all the positive moments we have had this time, I did have one major struggle that I needed to overcome. In the first couple of months Oslo was not at all thrilled about Louie breastfeeding and taking my focus away from him. Like Louie, Oslo really loved breastfeeding and it brought him a lot of comfort through those 12 months we did it. So when he saw Louie feed in the beginning he acted out and was very upset by it all. I thought because it had been so many months since we ended, he wouldn't really care. Boy was I wrong! Any time I fed Louie in front of him Oslo would cry out and want to be held, and have me put Louie down. It really affected him, and made him very jealous. I decided this wouldn't stop me from breastfeeding Louie, so I had to figure out a way to make everyone happy about our new situation. In between feeds I ensured I focused on Oslo, and when it was time to feed again I made sure he was busy with a toy or book. Sometimes I even had him sit with me and got him involved with feeding his baby brother. I knew in time this whole jealousy phase would pass and he would no longer care, so I didn't get stressed about it and knew all we needed was a little time to adjust. Just like that, after about two months or so Oslo completely lost interest and now he couldn't care less about me breastfeeding Louie. Now we can do it in front of him whenever and he barely pays attention now, which is such a relief for all of us.

breastfeeding mother and newborn baby

This time with Louie I really am putting no time limit or pressure on what will happen. I am happy to go as long as he wants it, which I have a  feeling will be a while. I can just picture a 3 year old Louie still coming after me for it (only joking!), I would seriously never let that happen and neither would James, ha! This chunk is enjoying it as much as much as me, so for now we will just go with the flow and continue on this beautiful journey together.

Through both my experiences though both very different, I have loved breastfeeding. It is so empowering to know what our bodies are capable of, and it still blows my mind.

Thank you so much for reading and continuing to follow along on my motherhood journey. I love sharing the ups and downs I encounter along the way.


In case you missed it, here is Oslo's Breastfeeding Journey & Louie's Birth Story.

(Photos by Alex Neary, Wild Eyed Photography)

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  1. So glad to hear you had a positive breastfeeding experience this time around. I think you hit the nail on the head saying you're not compelled to share when something goes well, I have wondered wether to share my breastfeeding stories as both have been very positive and relatively easy-you don't want to come across as smug do you(not that you do at all) but I think it's important for women to hear that breastfeeding can be a piece of cake as well, so they arn't scared off by difficult experiences,it's different for every mother and every baby, knowing both sides is empowering to women starting a breastfeeding journey. X

    1. Thank you for your comment Rebecca!
      Yes, it is so hard to sit down and write about things that were so easy, especially knowing so many women have struggled. If you did write about your experience though I know it would also resonate with many women. You definitely should share your story, it would be so nice to read about a positive breastfeeding journey! I totally agree it is so empowering :)

  2. Firstly Jules, I’m so happy to hear you’ve had such a positive time breastfeeding Louie and I ADORE these photos. Such special memories.

    Also, it’s funny you say this, as I totally feel like I couldn’t write about my breastfeeding journey with either of my boys as I am lucky enough that it was easy and enjoyable- but I loved reading this. Xxx

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comment Hannah, means a lot!
      It is such a relief to have had a much easier time with breastfeeding Louie.
      That's amazing you had great experiences both times, lucky mama! You should definitely write about it! It is so nice to have a balance of stories that are both difficult and easy.