Breastfeeding: Bonding after Hyperemesis

Today’s guest post is written by Laura. She is mum to 2 and has suffered incredibly with hyperemesis (extreme nausea and vomiting) throughout both pregnancies until both babies were born. Laura was on hand to help me (via WhatsApp) during those long night feeds in the first few months. Enjoy!

So it’s World Breastfeeding Week and I’ve been asked by the lovely Olivia to do a guest blog for it.

I’m a mum to Luca (4) and Maximus (2), both individuals in their own right. Luca is my lovely little autistic superstar and Maximus is just bat shit crazy but I love them all the same. Depending on when you ask me.

Breastfeeding? I mean it’s what they were built for right? What I hate about the whole thing is how much other people care about how someone else chooses to feed their baby. Yes, breastfeeding is best scientifically (don’t argue this as you won’t win) but we are fortunate enough to live in a developed world where there are extremely good “alternatives” available which will nourish your baby as they grow up.

I hate how much pressure is put on mothers from BOTH sides. Sometimes the hospitals are too busy to help with establishing breastfeeding so they turn to formula. Sometimes, midwives are too pushy to a new, overwhelmed mum who has just had the worst labour experience possible and here she is having a knitted boob thrown in her face and told to syringe her milk.

I was lucky that breastfeeding came naturally to my boys and myself. I had very little issues. My supply was good and they were consistent. My main reason for breastfeeding? Laziness and it’s cheap. I mean who wants to be paying £10+ a week for formula that I have to make up myself. No thanks. Luca started having issues around weaning age. He wasn’t interested in feeding from me anymore and I ended up with mastitis 3 times. After the 4th time I decided it was time to switch him to formula. He was eating a great weaning diet and went down to 2 bottles a day so it actually worked in perfectly. Maximus I fed until he was almost a year. He did have the odd bottle of formula here and there but I was really proud of my journey with him. He transitioned onto cows milk around a year and our journey was over. Low and behold, he now has a dairy intolerance which means I have to spend about £63744 extra a week on dairy free snacks. Thanks kid.

Breastfeeding wasn’t important to me, before the boys were born. It definitely wasn’t the be all and end all. I always said I would give it a go and stick at it for at least 6 weeks. The first 6 weeks are definitely the hardest. All the cluster feeding. The cracked and bleeding nipples. The feeling that all you’ve done all night is feed feed feed. There were times I wanted to give up but I didn’t. I don’t know why I didn’t. Maybe it was just the convenience of it all. I also never had any issues feeding in public and always felt confident to do so.

My pregnancies, on the other hand, aren’t great. I suffer from Hyperemesis Gravidarum and it robs me of any joy in the early and later stages. Breastfeeding was the best thing that could have happened to me. It allowed me to bond with the babies I fought so hard to keep healthy. I didn’t bond as well as I should have pregnant because of all the issues but it was all forgotten when I was lying there feeding my babies and watching their milk drunk smiles turn into dreams.

I always said I’d never feed past a year. That’s a personal preference. I just didn’t want that for my boys. I wanted them to be independent and not rely on me for that sort of comfort. I find it difficult to watch someone sit and breastfeed their toddlers. I don’t know why. I can’t explain it but if that’s what works for them that’s what works for them. I guess I just couldn’t imagine having Luca sitting on my lap having a causal drink of milk from my boobs.

I am in no way a breastfeeding nazi. I had 2 very good experiences and I’m glad I had the opportunity to breastfeed. I was always on hand to support my other friends who had babies later on my experiences and give them the reassurance that it’s ok if your baby wants to feed every 30 minutes. That it’s ok to sit and cry when you are feeding because you are so exhausted. I was also on hand to support anyone who was having issues with formula. I had the best of both worlds at some point or another and I always believe that fed is best. No matter where it comes from.

Although don’t give them whisky. It’s apparently frowned upon.

A big thank you to Laura for sharing her story with us. Hyperemesis can be incredibly trialling and isolating. You can find out about support here: https://www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk/help/women-suffering/hyperemesis-gravidarum/

Laura has her own witty blog, which you can find over at: https://thesecretchocolatehobnob.wordpress.com/

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