baby

7 mothers share what breastfeeding really feels like.

Philips Avent
Thanks to our brand partner, Philips Avent

I attempted to breastfeed moments after my son was born. My son locked eyes with me and my whole world was engulfed by a love I had never known. It was so quiet after he was born, apart from the happy sobs in the room, and he latched on with what seemed to be an innate ability to find his food source – despite me not really knowing what to do.  That overwhelming love helped me find my way, feeding and pumping at all hours. A hot cup of tea, a picture of my baby and a breast-pump became my 4am ritual. I was curious how others found it, so I asked my friends what breastfeeding was like for them.

Jessica, 36, just finished years of breastfeeding:

“I breastfed Asher until he was nearly four-years-old.  I never had any problems at all. I was very lucky.

Breastfeeding came naturally to both me and Asher and it was easy.  I fed on-demand. I never got mastitis I think because I was in tune with our needs.

I really enjoyed it at the start and I was planning to do it for as long as he needed to but towards the end it did get a bit too much for me.

I am proud of myself for breastfeeding but no matter what you do it’s hard, whether you breastfeed or not. We’re all just doing the best we can.”

Christine, 36, has only been breastfeeding for 12 weeks:

“Emily is 12 weeks old and I’m feeding every four hours.  It was a little bit difficult at the start, not knowing if I was doing it right and if she was getting enough milk but it’s good now – I’m comfortable now.

I would like to last six months if I can, but I’m already a little worried that she’s not gaining enough weight. I’m easy about it, if it’s not working for her then I’m happy to just substitute formula.  I’m just going with whatever is good for her.”

"It was a little bit difficult at the start, not knowing if I was doing it right". Image: iStock.

Isabel, 33, is trying to wean her 22 month-old:

 “I enjoyed breastfeeding because I could just lie there and sleep while they did it. I’m a lazy person – what can I say? You just lie on the bed and the baby is on you and you get a rest. It’s the only time where you are both allowed to sleep and not have to worry about anything. For that short period, it’s calm.

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It was relaxing because it was a moment when they’re settled. The baby was settled, you’re settled and no one is crying.

Breastfeeding was more convenient for me, plus, apparently it's better for them.”

Dewi, 35, said she took a while to get the hang of it:

“I've been breastfeeding Dharma from the very beginning but I was pumping for two months before he latched on.

We had a single breast pump and Graham and I were playing tag team he was feeding and I was pumping. In a way, it was kind of nice because I could sleep and Graham was up most of the time.

Graham had to go away to London for some work it was just Dharma and me and I did the skin-to-skin. I had been reading a book that said to let him lie on my stomach and learn to crawl to the nipple, so we did that and he finally got it.”

"We had a single breast pump and Graham and I were playing tag team he was feeding and I was pumping." Image: iStock.

Jo, 40, had three very different experiences:

I just thought breastfeeding would be easy. Philip’s birth was so dramatic and I was really knocked around from that. I just thought it latch on and he just didn't.

I'd given up after eight weeks the first time and I felt like a monster, but it had been so much easier once I started formula feeding him.

With the second one I had a friend who helped me through it. Every time I thought I couldn’t do it I would ring her. I eventually got over mastitis and the pain and managed to breastfeed him for a year, so that was good.

My third child it was much easier. With Katarina it was such a joy from the beginning.”

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Shauna, 41, said breastfeeding was actually fun:

“I never once thought I would be breastfeeding for nearly six years consecutively. Heck, when I first fell pregnant I didn’t have a clue about breastfeeding other than all the scary tales I’d heard about how difficult it was.

What surprised me was that for me, and I worry when I say this because I don’t mean to sound glib, I know may many women struggle with breastfeeding, but it was easy.
And, dare I admit it, fun.

Breastfeeding came naturally. Breastfeeding gave me unlimited cuddles and moments of intimacy with my babies. I never regretted it for a second (and it didn’t really change my boobs, truth be told). I’m neither here nor there on whether my children will be physically better off because I breastfed them, they are great – if it was just about the ease for me and the bonding, then that was worth it too.”

"Breastfeeding gave me unlimited cuddles and moments of intimacy with my babies." Image: iStock.

Fatima, 41, is thinking about weaning her daughter:

“My baby is almost two and she still really wants my milk. I keep thinking that I will run out any time soon but it continues to be here and she continues to really want it. When I come home from work, the first thing she does is ask me for milk.

I am just happy that I was able to provide it and she still wants it.  In a way I am really happy that my health and my body allows for it to continue.”

It still blows my mind that I kept a baby alive with my own body. All these women have had that incredible task. I miss holding my tiny baby in my arms but he’s not a baby any more. I see Christine with her tiny 12-week-old crying out for food and I miss it. I think it was actually easier when there was only one thing on the menu.

What did you find to be the hardest thing about breastfeeding?

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