Well, here we were. After 9 months of waiting it was about to happen, but things weren’t going according to plan. Following a long unprogressive labour, we were taken into the operating theatre for a C-section. I had never really thought about feeding a baby and had only really known babies to bottle fed. So it was great that my wife and I had discussed how our baby was going to be fed. I knew she intended to try hard to breastfeeding and I supported her wishes. Having discussed her preferences for the birth and breastfeeding previously proved to be invaluable as I was able to remind her. If I hadn’t been able to do this I feel she may have agreed to medical procedures that she may have later regretted and could have effected her breastfeeding experience. The birth went smoothly and shortly afterwards our son was presented to us. Later when we were taken through to the recovery room he started feeding at her breast and it all felt so natural to me.
A few days later, we took home our new “bundle” and suddenly we had this feeling of being incredibly alone and responsible for this tiny human being. This was not helped by the fact we had no family or friends nearby so we felt very on our own. The relief of being at home was certainly mixed with the great apprehension of being a new parent. These feelings were compounded by in the hospital our son didn’t breastfeeding particularly well, being unsettled and crying a lot but then suddenly once home he became very quiet and wanting to sleep all the time. The contrast made us feel there must be something wrong, there wasn’t he must just have felt settled at home.
For the first few weeks with persistence, frequent breast feeds and support the feeding seemed to get easier. I watched in amazement as he fed firstly on one side and then the other appearing so contented. Over these weeks my wife tried different positions to feed and with my help we’d get the most comfortable for them both. I remember how some positions worked better than others and I just used to love those times when we sat as a family whilst my son fed. Over the weeks to my amazement he gained weight and grew just on the breastmilk. I remember being especially pleased about breastfeeding when at 4.00am most mornings my wife would quietly feed him without having to put on all the lights or make up a bottle.
Our next big challenge was to feed him when we went out. I remember the first time was in the restaurant at our local supermarket. I felt extremely protective and kept an eye out for anyone “looking” but nobody did. My fears had been unnecessary; there was nothing to “see” except for a mother cradling her baby across her tummy. Amazingly only after a few times it became totally normal and I felt so comfortable that I never gave it a second thought.
I look at him now and feel so proud that my wife kept going with the breastfeeding. My son was a healthy baby and this continues today which I feel is due to the breastmilk. Breastfeeding now seems to be the most natural thing in the world. I would encourage all mothers to have confidence and at least give it a try for both theirs and their baby’s sake.