Breastfeeding – Our Journey So Far

I found breastfeeding difficult with Ella. Exhausting, painful and frustrating.  I didn’t know it would be like that. No one warns you!

And I didn’t know enough about it. I had low supply. But I didn’t know the best thing was to let her feed and feed and the supply would increase. Instead, at 3 weeks old, we started supplementing with formula and did so until the amount of formula increased and my supply dwindled even more, until I dried up at 3 months.

I had read, when pregnant with Ella, books about routine and how often babies ‘should’ breastfeed. I didn’t realise that in the early days they can literally feed nonstop.

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Breastfeeding Take Two

I wouldn’t say I had the most positive breastfeeding experience with Ella.

I would have loved to have breastfed her for as long as both of us wanted to continue to.  Unfortunately, my milk supply was far too low for this to be possible.

I managed to breastfeed Ella for 3 months in total before my milk completely dried up, though this was supplemented with formula to avoid her starving.  There was a ‘cracking point’ at 3 weeks old, when I realised that I wasn’t providing enough milk for Ella.  She sucked almost non-stop for 7 hours, and was crying out for more.  So we gave her some formula and she guzzled it down.

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My best mate…the microwave!!!

Yep, since weaning Ella I am a bit, OK a lot, in love with my microwave!

We did baby-led weaning, which was fab and saved a lot of time and faff! What I did find though is that meal times came round all too quickly. And more often than not, I wasn’t prepared!

So I found myself softening apple or pear slices in the microwave, and using it to cook spuds and veg. 

I then progressed from there to create microwave cheese omelettes (1 egg whisked up with some grated cheese in a bowl, microwave for just under a minute!).

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What I Learnt In Year One: Weaning

We decided to try baby led weaning with Ella.  This is where you bypass the puree, to lumps, to normal food routine.  Instead you take the baby straight to eating normal food, meaning no pureeing or mashing!

It is supposed to have a few benefits.  Supposedly, the child ends up less of a fussy eater, as they have controlled their own eating.  Plus it develops motor skills.  And they are less likely to overeat, as they stop eating when they’ve had enough.  And, the idea is that eating is a positive experience from the start, rather than their first experiences being ‘force fed’ puree.

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Off The Scale!!!

Ella had her 35 week check the other day.  Turns out she is off the scale!!  Her height no longer fits in the normal range!  That means she’s beyond 100th percentile for her height!  She’s 98th percentile for her weight, so perfectly in proportion.  Either she’s doing her growing early, or she’s gonna be a supermodel/amazonian goddess!!!  Realised that this makes her the height of an average 14th month old!  I thought her 9-12 month clothes might be getting a bit snug!  So, she’s now advanced on to 12-18 month clothes, at bloody 8.5 months of age!!!!

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Big Baby!!

Ella has never been a tiny baby!!

She was 9lbs1 at birth, and really long!  She didn’t really have that newborn look!

Her weight dropped, as it does with most babies, and then she struggled to put the weight back on.  I realise now this was probably due to my poor milk supply!  So, she dropped from the 91st percentile at birth, down to the 75th percentile for weight.

Then her weight steadily started to increase again.  At 4 months, she’d moved to the 94th percentile, and her recent weigh in at 6.5months, showed her to be at the 98th percentile, weighing in at 22.5lbs.

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Baby-Led Weaning

So, now Ella is 6 months old, she’s more than ready for the next eating stage…solids!!!

Typically, babies go through eating in stages.  Milk, to puree, to mushy, to lumpy, to solid.  But, having read a few books, something that kept coming up is baby led weaning.

This skips straight to the solid, so no pureeing or mashing.  You essentially give baby what you eat, give or take the odd thing.  You just put the food on their highchair tray and they help themselves.  So, it’s worthwhile at first giving them things that are easy to grab and big enough to leave a bit poking out for them to chomp on, while they are learning and developing.  Eventually, they’ll be able to pincer grip a pea and release it in their mouth!

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Feed Me Mummy!

I was always adamant I’d breastfeed Ella for as long as, and if, I could.  And, really I stuck with that.

I guess the ‘breast is best’ you hear all the time really makes it an issue for parents.  Because why wouldn’t we want the best for our children?

As Ella had to go to special care straight after delivery (read the birth story here!), we didn’t have that magic moment where the baby just turns and latches on straight after it has been born.  It actually makes me broody for another just to have that moment!  Not long after she was born, the midwife came in with a small syringe to help me collect some colostrum that could be sent up to Ella.  Hand pumping it a couple of hours after delivery was so difficult!  It took ages just to get some tiny drops, but she assured me that it would make the difference to Ella and would encourage my milk to come despite her not feeding from me.  I then had to set an alarm every 3 hours to do the same.  It was so frustrating.  I just wanted to feed my baby myself!

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