"I wish I had known what was happening was normal"
Babies and mothers experience breastfeeding in a multitude of ways and it's almost always exactly what should be happening. Sometimes, success comes from having faith in your instincts, your body, and your baby. This can be tough when there are so many theories and opinions around us.
We asked our online community of mothers what they wish they had known about breastfeeding. The voices repeatedly said the same thing: "I wish I had known my situation was normal".
This page is for information and inspiration, and does not replace qualified advice in case of difficulties. If you're having a tough time and need one to one support, please see our 'Find Support' page.
If you are feeling unwell and need immediate help, please contact your local healthcare professionals. You've got this!
“I wish I’d known how normal & healthy everything was. I was constantly worrying, watching the clock. I thought our little one wasn't getting enough milk because he was feeding "too much" and waking "too often". He wasn't. He was a totally normal baby. I also wish I’d known that it was ok to let him sleep on the boob. I was made to believe this was wrong, but it turned out to be so right for us.
The main thing I'm grateful for looking back is that I went online and found the village of other mothers that I needed, then followed and nurtured my own instincts and my baby boy.” Claire
So what is normal?
Our Comms Team mate and Infant Feeding Specialist Midwife Kate manages to sneak her video whilst being held car hostage by a sleeping baby.
“I wish I’d known what a tool breastfeeding is. The fact that babies can feed for things other than hunger. They feed because they’re tired, because they’re hungry, because they’re over-stimulated, because they’re in pain… Realising that earlier on might have helped me to understand the process better and analyse it less. It’s easy to overthink things and think “Oh God you can’t be hungry again!?” But actually no he wasn’t, he was wanting comfort. Babies want to breastfeed for lots and lots of reasons.”
Shareena tells us about her journey, about the support that helped her, and what she wishes she'd known from the start.
“I was only going to do it for a week at the start. We started off with a bad latch in the hospital. I held my breath for the first 10 days every time I latched her on, I just always thought it was going to be like that. Then someone noticed her making clicking noises, and I had it corrected by my friend who was very luckily a Peer Supporter. It was a lot easier after that. We got to nearly two years. I’m proud of us both. I wish I'd known from the start how supportive the breastfeeding community are, how many people there are out there in the community, and how we all want each other to succeed.”
Our Comms Team mate Anna talks about her breastfeeding journey, about the determination it took, and what she wishes she'd known form the start.
"If it’s something you really want to do, then sometimes there are times when you really have to put your foot down and say “This is what I’m gonna do, this is for real, this is how I’m going to continue to nourish and grow this child." There is help out there, particularly the online communities are so powerful for women breastfeeding, so really use that because help is there."
Natalie, Founder of 'Can I Breastfeed In It', a large community of women sharing links to clothes they can easily breastfeed in, tells us about what she wishes she'd known from the start.
“I did eventually find the facebook groups where I learned a lot of stuff and I think that was probably the biggest help that I had for breastfeeding. It still is at 15 months. If I was to go back to my pregnant self, I would have joined those online groups in advance. One of the biggest things was learning from other people’s experiences before mine had even happened. I really wish I had got that knowledge from all the other mums out there early on.”
You'll find a few great international facebook breastfeeding support groups on our 'Find Support' page. There are many, and there's probably one local to you.