Breastfeeding is something I’d always wanted to be able to do as a parent, but it certainly hasn’t come without a few hurdles along the way.
Breastfeeding wasn’t an option for my eldest child, so when I fell pregnant with Ollie I was determined to succeed.
We were fortunate to get a good latch and a strong start, but the pain, cracked nipples and blocked ducts were things I wasn’t prepared for.
The only way to really unblock a milk duct is to keep feeding and that is painful as hell.
From the start, I used a haakaa pump to catch the let-down on the other breast to help with engorgement. This also allowed Ollie’s other mum to bond with him by feeding him my expressed milk.
I also managed to build a pretty decent freezer stash with it, which was comforting to know if I was ever away from him unexpectedly that there was enough food for him. It also allowed me to have much needed breaks, participate in my sport, or even just going to the supermarket alone.
I’ve always had a no holds barred attitude. I didn’t let where I was or who I was around stop me from feeding my baby. I got pretty creative with it – finding a way to feed him in the front pack while on the go – and even being able to feed him like that with earmuffs on while I played my violin.
My partner and I separated when Ollie was 12 months, and I was worried that having shared care and him starting Kindy a couple of days a week would affect my supply, or his interest in the boob.
But he is boob-obsessed and is straight at it as soon as he’s back with me. Now he’s a bit bigger he will just whip it out of my shirt and help himself, whether I want to or not.
Having to pump while I’m at work, or while he’s with his other mum is quite tedious. He’s 19 months now and I’d probably be ready to stop if he was, but he’s still going hard.
My initial goal was to get to 12 months, although I’d optimistically aimed for 24 months as recommend by the World Health Organisation.
There’s nothing like the bond you get with breastfeeding. It’s so nice to be able to nourish my child – especially if he’s unwell. He had a tummy bug recently and went completely off solids for a couple of weeks, so I’m so glad I was still breastfeeding him during that time.
It’s also nice not to have to get up and make bottles in the middle of the night like we had to with my eldest – the memory of those long, painful waits while the bottle warmed up is one of the driving factors that keeps me going for now.
I intend to keep going as long as he wants it and it’s practical for us, although I do look forward to the day my body is mostly my own again and I’m not tied down to my breast pump when Ollie isn’t with me.