How long have you been boobing Penelope for?
I was really lucky that as soon as she was put on my chest (after an emergency section) she latched instantly and I’ve now been breast feeding Penelope day and night for almost 9 months!
Can you talk us through some of your journey?
I had to have an emergency section because she was really big so having a section recovery and breast feeding was hard work. Learning how to hold her so she kept her latch and so she wasn’t resting on my section scar was tough. She was 9lb 13 when she was born and such a hungry baby so the first few weeks she was attached to my boob constantly and she would cluster feed every night from about half past 5 to maybe 10pm! At around 6 weeks old she got diagnosed with hip dysphasia which meant her knees were held up in a bent position constantly for 6 weeks and once again I had to adapt how I held her whilst feeding because I couldn’t snuggle her on her side anymore so I had to lay her flat on her back and move myself to be able to feed properly. This was a big change feeding in public too because I’d always used Penelope as a shield so my boobs weren’t out but now I couldn’t do that. This is around the time I started to not care as much about what other people were thinking and focused on feeding Penelope so she was happy and content. She’s not feeding as much now she’s eating more food but the morning and bed time feeds are still going strong! The bedtime feed is my favourite I feel like we have such a special bond and a big part of that is down to breast feeding. She still wakes up 2/3 times in the night too and uses me as a comfort but I know this won’t last forever so I’m appreciating it while I can!
How did you ensure you had the correct latch?
While I was in hospital with Penelope after giving birth to her I made sure I asked the midwifes if I was doing it correctly and I also had the breast feeding team visit me in hospital to talk through all the details of feeding and your milk changing and how to get the correct latch. I was really lucky because I didn’t really have to force it upon Penelope (I battled with the sore & cracked nipples from feeding her constantly however). I was petrified she was going to forget how to latch though which is probably why I immediately fed on any demand.
Any tips for dropping the cover?
Before I had Penelope I thought I would have no issues with breast feeding openly but once I had her I was slightly more conscious. I think it helped me feeding her on demand because I could be absolutely anywhere and if she needed feeding I would feed her which made my confidence grow. I also was really lucky that I had loads of friends who have had babies this year and majority of them breast feed so I felt a sense of comfort when I was in public with them to not cover up. Just focus on your baby and no one else and stay calm. I found I got really flustered trying to cover myself up with a blanket or muslin and Penelope was born in January so add massive warm jumpers that your wearing and all the layers the baby has on into that equation and your asking to be stressed!
How long do you feel you would like to boob Penelope for?
I’d love to feed her until she decides she doesn’t want to feed anymore. I haven’t got a time limit on it and I’m more than happy feeding Penelope and I know she uses it as a comfort too which I love. I feel like I’m going to have to adapt how I feed her the older she gets because she already sometimes wants to sit up and feed instead and the bigger she gets the more of a challenge it will be but we’ve made it to almost 9 months and I’m really proud of myself.
Any tips for new mums starting their journey?
Don’t panic in the first few weeks it’s super hard, painful and the lack of sleep is a killer but somehow you just survive! The night feeds are tough but they won’t last forever. You’ll have days where you just want to pack it all in and days where it’s an absolute breeze! Be kind to yourself too if it’s not right for you don’t put yourself through hell just to please other people. Listen to your body and do what’s right for you and baby. Surround yourself with amazing support and new mummies because having someone to WhatsApp and 2 o’clock in a morning is a life saver! And invest in great nipple cream, good breast pads and nursing bras!
Thank you so much Charlotte! What a journey and a huge inspiration with persevering through c section recovery, hip issues and cracked nipples. You should feel proud of yourself. You can follow Charlotte here.