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The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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The End of an Era : National Breastfeeding Awareness Week 2012

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After successfully breastfeeding my first daughter, to the point where it was a struggle to make the transition to bottles, I never once questioned my ability to feed my new baby daughter when she arrived. With your first child you dont know what to expect, so I never put any pressure on myself and just maintained that I would be baby led and hopefully all would be fine.

However, the second time around, as an "experienced mother" (the midwife's words, not mine) I just assumed that my new baby would latch on the same. How wrong could I be?

For the first couple of days she just "snacked" and when the midwife weighed her on day three, she expressed concern that she had dropped lower than 10% of her birth weight and needed to speak to a consultant at the hospital. By this point, I was exhausted but had already recognised that feeding wasnt going as planned, so out came the breast pump! Anyone that has used one will know that this is quite simply the least glamorous piece of equipment ever invented (with the exception of stirrups maybe) and I started expressing and expressing and expressing. Amazingly, in complete contrast to my eldest daughter, the little one took the bottle straight away and whilst I was dissapointed that she wasnt breastfeeding in the traditional sense, she was still getting my milk, so did it really matter?

Those first few weeks seemed to be a constant merry go round of expressing, sterilising, feeding, expressing ... (you get the picture) and I joked that I was like a 24 hour cafe and I found it much harder than I had ever imagined.

The little one is greedy and my exhaustion didnt help the milk production either, so I replaced one feed, with a formula bottle. At the time I felt like a failure but I also knew that if  I wanted to retain some form of sanity, I had to do what was best for me and the baby. My health visitor was amazing and once I had "confessed" to giving her a bottle of formula milk, we talked through moving forward and how I felt. 

National Breastfeeding Awareness Week needs to be celebrated by mums, dads, grandparents and everyone else in between and its such a shame that the NHS simply dont have the funds to promote it as I was so grateful to have my health visitor to talk to and a local breatfeeding group to share with and these resources are invaluable.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I know that I gave both my daughters the best start I could but all mothers beat themselves up over whether they are doing the wrong thing or indeed anything right . The little one did eventually latch on and now at 9 months we have eventually stopped the last feed, so am I writing this with some pride and a little sadness. I did perservere, it was sometimes hard work, exhausting but ultimately totally rewarding to be the one she relied on but now at 9 months, she loves to feed herself and is already demonstrating strong signs of independance.

So for me, its the end of an era but for her, the food adventure is only just beginning.

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  1. Great post. I breastfed all three of my boys successfully but some of my friends have had real problems with breastfeeding. After I had my 3rd baby I did a course to become a breastfeeding peer support worker so that I could support other mums. It's great that you got the support that you needed.

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  2. It is amazing how different it can be. I struggled terribly with my first, and felt I couldn't even try it with my second. Very well done with persevering, I can completely see why you choose this as one of you favourite posts.

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  3. Great post, I'm glad you had a supportive Health Visitor. I had certain issues which meant I didn't breastfeed but I wish someone had suggested expressing as I think I could have been okay with that. Maybe if I ever have baby No.2 it's something I can consider, so thank you!

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  4. Thank you for sending me this link. Well done for perservering and getting there in the end, I'm fairly sure I'd have given up by then but it must be different if you've already done it once. REPLY: Thank you. You have to do whats right for you and baby - nothing else or no one else matters x

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  5. Antonia

    Great article. I think it's all about people having the right support and not feeling guilty for making the choices right for them. I'm a big advocate of feeding and fed both my boys. I'm now expecting my third and hope it works out again however if I have issues, decisions I make about what to do need to be about all of us and what's best for the family. I just hope the support is there from the health visitors, hospital etc. if I struggle feeding for a reason that can be helped. Thanks for publishing your story.

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  6. Wow a pumping mummy! *bows down* Amazing! I've come so far with my first daughter, she's 17 months now and still feeding - I am so nervous about if I were to have another baby, having to start from scratch is a horrifying thought!

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  7. Well done on persevering with the breast feeding and you got there in the end. I can imagine expressing to feed must have been like doing everything twice! My first born had a bottle of formula a day from six weeks so I know how you felt. I was beside myself with guilt! But whatever makes for a happy mum at the end of the day is most important. xx

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