October 24, 2011

On Breastfeeding

click image to enlarge
I’ve been doing some thinking recently, looking back over Rowan’s pictures of him as a newborn as I’ve scrapbooked his life so far. To some, parenting seems to come fairly easily – I thought it would for me because of my background as a preschool teacher... but I was wrong. The first three months were bloody hard, I’ll admit now. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation that I didn’t cope with very well, or the fact that Rowan and I had such trouble getting the hang of breastfeeding. I don’t know. But what I do know is that things got better.

I reached out when I found myself falling into a bottomless pit of dread and anxiety (especially about daytime sleep times and post-3pm when I’d find myself clock-watching until Matt got home from work). I got busy with my Mother’s Group, I started talking to my own Mum about my experiences, I tried to get back into my hobbies again. Life was being consumed by all things baby, baby, baby!

Forming a positive breastfeeding relationship with Rowan was one of the turning points for me. Sure, we’d been breastfeeding up until that point but because of the pain associated with his poor latch (it was discovered this was due to head/jaw/neck issues resulting from positioning in the womb and at birth by an osteopath and was treated accordingly... oh the difference it made over a  two-month period!!) it wasn’t all that enjoyable for me. Simply put, I remember turning up to a maternal health check-up with Rowan early because I couldn’t bear to be at home alone in my house anymore while he made mincemeat out of my left nipple! I was almost begging for permission from the health nurse to stop breastfeeding. Yes, I said it – I wanted to stop nourishing my baby.

But things got better. The sores and cracks healed, the sensitivity lessened. Rowan relaxed and so did I. He got into a pattern of daytime sleeping (and slept for longer periods during the night) and life became more predictable.

Six and-a-half months later, it has gotten easier. Three naps have become two (but are longer), he’s getting mobile and playing together is more interactive than it has ever been. Sure, there are difficult parts – teeth and breastfeeding aren’t always a good mix, but Rowan only tends to bite when he’s distracted and latching on poorly (with his tongue going above the nipple instead of below). All in all, he’s very gentle when feeding and is absolutely relishing his milk... he drinks it so fast these days too!
Breastfeeding for six months is not only a milestone for us, but also a wonderful act too. I’ve come to enjoy it, and the relaxing hormones that it sends throughout both our bodies.

Newborn Rowan

2 months

6 months.


  1. I love it that I can still read about Rowan's growth here! :)

    I loved breastfeeding although being a very young mother when I had Sarah I didn't understand the mechanics of it well so I only fed her until 3 months (just). Thankfully by the time Georgia came along I'd learned a lot and we enjoyed breastfeeding until she decided she'd had enough at 10 and a half months.

    It's not easy but it's so worth it if you persist! You've done so well. Hope it continues for you both for as long as you both want it to! xo

  2. Thanks Leisa, I'm so glad I persevered too - even if we're dealing with teeth and distractions during feedings now! To be honest, it's generally the only time when Rowan's actually still and cuddly (he's a little man on the go!), so I'm relishing it while I can. :)

  3. look at that perfect latch at 6 months! Gorgeous photo. I'm so glad you are finally able to enjoy bf...I completely understand you when you say it's the only cuddle time you get! Abbey is the same way. If I hold her she'd better be sitting or standing not curled up in my arms (unless she's eating) because she wants to see the world lol
    Being a mom is hard no matter how prepared you are...you are doing a great job and Rowan is growing and thriving beautifully. In a way I'm happy I had postpartum anxiety attacks in the first month...now things are much easier.

    As for the carrier, I ended up buying one that only faces inwards and backpack style as well...she really likes it now and like you, it's great for distributing her weight :)

    I'm going to order the book on BLW...Abbey is going to be 5 months on Nov 1st and she's already showing a lot of the signs that she wants to eat...she's very interested in food! We've already let her try butternut squash and toast crusts...and she grabs the baby spoon and puts it in her mouth by herself!

    So nice to hear from you and learn about Rowan.

  4. P.S. I meant to ask you...have you gotten a period yet? I have some spotting today for the first time since Abbey was born...I'm hoping it's not more than that...I've been loving the fact that I haven't had to deal with AF for so long now!

  5. Not yet Jenny, although I've been getting little crampy twinges here and there over the past 6 weeks and am having other signs that I might be getting pseudo-fertile again (HA!), not spotting just ovulation-style signs.