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Share your experience - Karen's story

This is fabulous, seeing all these different breastfeeding experiences!
My first child was born in 2004, and even after reading all the pregnancy & birth books and magazines I could get my hands on I was still nervous and unsure about everything, including breastfeeding. All I knew was that I wanted to do it, all I need to do is plonk my baby on my breast and away we go. I will suddenly give birth and become the closet thing to a cow!
How wrong was I and nobody seemed to know how to help either. The midwives didn’t seem bothered if I was a breast or bottle feeder. I had no idea about positioning and attachment and I just remember a midwife coming into my room in the hospital after me panicking as to why my baby was crying and feeding constantly and grabbing my tender boobs and trying to get my baby to latch on then giving up and said ‘your breasts are too big and your suffocating her’.......cue the SMA Gold and a serious lot of guilt. I had all the best intentions to breastfeed, didn't bother buying bottles, formula and sterilisers, but by the time i left hospital a rushed shopping trip to Mothercare to buy all the equipment was in order. The next year of feeding her was hell.
5 years later and pregnant with my 2nd child and what a difference, I was asked whilst i was still carrying my baby how i was going to feed her and had a chance to ask my midwife about my overly large breasts suffocating my first child to which she replied ‘what utter rubbish!’. Gone were all my books and magazines and all the ‘how to feed, look after and care for your newborn’ bumf and I knew exactly what I wanted. A natural birth, lots and skin to skin and my big massive breasts feeding my child.......perfect. 

I got the birth I wanted and the midwives that looked after me whilst having my baby were fabulous. There was no mention of formula just breast. My baby was passed to me straight after she ‘popped out’ for skin to skin and was feeding within half an hour. Everyone was very supportive and very encouraging. I was given all sorts of info sheets on breastfeeding and the support groups that were in my area and here I am 18 months after the birth still breastfeeding and half way through my Bosom Buddies Peer Supporter Course.
I’ve been lucky in the fact that i didn’t experience any problems whilst breastfeeding and any concerns i had were always answered. The only ‘blip’ i had was going back into hospital 4 days after the birth to have retained membranes & placenta removed, it knocked my confidence, scared me to death and my emotions were all over the place. It was hard to feed my baby at the time but the midwives helped me a lot as did my husband who has been my biggest supporter.
I still can’t believe the difference in attitude and support from the NHS in 5 years. I still feel guilty though about my breastfeeding experience first time round and wish i would of had the support I received in 2009, I only hope that the help, information and support for breastfeeding mums gets better.
Thanks for reading.

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