I'm currently breastfeeding my 9 month old son, after not being as successful with two older boys.
When my eldest was born almost 5 years ago I knew nothing about breastfeeding. I actually believed that there wasn't much difference how you fed your baby. I wanted to give it a go, but I also wasn't too worried whether I managed to do it for long or not.
When my son was born he latched fine pretty quickly after birth. he fed well. It was sore, but wasn't as scary as some stories I hear about cracked and bleeding nipples. He fed A LOT, which I now know is perfectly normal for a new born baby. I, however, thought it was that he was "big" at 8lb 15oz, and that I was not filling him up, after all, my Dad had told me that I wouldn't be able to breastfeed because my breasts were too small (a B cup)
At 2 days old the midwife came to visit and I asked about the feeding. Her reply pretty much backed up my fears! Then she offered me a life line. If I didn't want to completely switch to formula I could "combine feed"!
During the day my son had formula in a bottle, at night he would have breast milk. We co-slept. We carried on like that for 5 months as he gradually cut down his night feeds until he didn't want any more.
I thought I had done well! I had nearly made the 6 months, so what if it was only part time feeding, and he stopped right before he got his 1st tooth so I didn't have to stop him feeding! When I look back now I shake my head in disappointment at my young naive self.
But I had enjoyed the experience and I soon missed it. I planned to give it a better go with my next baby.
When baby number 2 arrived 3 years ago I made sure I didn't have any formula in the house so I wouldn't be tempted. I knew by then that it was normal for them to feed lots early on. Still didn't know there was much difference in the milk though. I remember my Nan seeing me breastfeeding, the shock on her face as she exclaimed "are you breastfeeding him!" It wasn't in a good way either! I used the excuse "well he wont take a bottle, just spits it out" *I'm ashamed of that now*
I started to feel down and was diagnosed with post natal depression. It is the hardest thing to describe but I loved breastfeeding, but resented my baby! I was put onto medication for the depression, I took it as I thought I was a danger, but it meant stopping feeding. I have now been told there are some medications you can feed with but again at the time I wasn't told that and didn't know so i listened to the doctor. I fed him for a total of 6 weeks.
Since the birth of my 3rd son 9 months ago I have joined a forum for breastfeeding. I have started following this blog as well as the Milk Matters blog and have made a real effort to find out the facts.
I am disappointed in myself that I didn't try harder and find these things out with the others as I didn't really have any trouble breastfeeding and did actually enjoy it. I just didn't think there was a need to as "the formula was almost as good" and wouldn't make much difference.
Even with my youngest I thought I would stop at 6 months or when he got teeth. His now got 6!
I now try to help others who have questions about breastfeeding and try to educate them the way I wish I had been.