Last Thursday afternoon (16th January) marked a bittersweet moment for me as I breastfed Jelly Bean for the very last time. I consider myself to be a very lucky Mummy because when I first became a Mum in 2008 to Little Bean my breastfeeding journey began. Like many expectant Mums I knew from the moment I fell pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed my baby, it just felt like the most natural thing in the world. It didn’t come easily once Little Bean arrived but together we persevered and successfully continued to exclusively breastfeed for the recommended 6 months.
Two years later Beanie Boy arrived and this time around breastfeeding was a breeze, from the very first attempt Beanie Boy latched on and fed well. I didn’t have one problem throughout the entire 8 months that I was able to breastfeed him (unless you count the fact that he loved breastfeeding so much that he refused to take the bottle).
Finally, Jelly Bean came into our lives as our third and final baby (and a gorgeous one at that). I struggled terribly with breastfeeding him in the beginning, he found it very difficult to latch on and made my nipples bleed badly. The pain when I fed him was excruciating, it got to the point that I was crying and watching the clock as he fed so that I could take him off the moment he reached 10 minutes because I couldn’t bear it any longer. We returned to the hospital when he was just three days old because of feeding issues and his failure to feed properly, I hoped that when we returned home things would improve but they didn’t. In the end, I had to stop breastfeeding and so I pumped exclusively for 2 weeks to give my nipples a chance to recover. At that point, I came across Geraldine Miskin, a Breastfeeding Specialist who helped me at a point where I was about to give up altogether. I spoke to Geraldine on the phone, via emails and eventually by Skype. In just 3 conversations Geraldine told me to go to the Doctor to say that she thought I had Thrush in my nipple and that Jelly Bean had it in his mouth so I did exactly that. We were given the medication to treat it and although the initial medication wasn’t strong enough, the second medication we were given did the trick and from that moment on breastfeeding settled into an easy routine.
Jelly Bean celebrates his first birthday next Friday which means I will have breastfed him for just over 11 months which I think is something to celebrate. I only ever intended to continue for 6 months but as time went on I decided to let Jelly Bean take the lead. As he began to eat more and more solid food, he slowly dropped breastfeeds until in the end, I was only feeding him morning and night, then slowly he dropped the breakfast feeds but began to feed in the afternoon once and again at bedtime, until eventually, it was just a ‘comfort’ feed in the afternoon. Last week seemed like the time had finally come and now we have finished, it’s time to throw away my nursing bras and reclaim my boobs. I feel sad to think that I will never breastfeed a baby again but at the same time, I couldn’t envisage breastfeeding past a year. I will always be grateful that I managed to feed my babies myself as I know so many Mums who wanted to but were unable to. I’m one of the lucky ones and I will always treasure the precious thing that I have been able to do for my babies.