Breastfeeding is a unique experience for each and every mum. Some mums find breastfeeding too painful and difficult. Other mums love it and want to continue breastfeeding for a long time. Many mums find breastfeeding easier or more difficult at various times during their baby’s development.
We asked mother-of-three and blogger Florence in Bordeaux to tell us about her experience of breastfeeding. She explains how breastfeeding was different for her with each of her children.
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Did you breastfeed each of your children?
“Yes, I breastfed all three.”
For how long?
“I actually breastfed our daughter for 17 months! I breastfed each of our boys for a much shorter time. It was more complicated, so I breastfed them completely for just two months. Then I combined bottle and breastfeeding until they were about six months old.”
Did you have problems breastfeeding? What are the benefits of breastfeeding?
“Oh, yes! I almost gave up on breastfeeding my daughter several times. She demanded to be fed all the time, sucked a little and then fell asleep – over and over again. I was sure I was doing something wrong. But I kept going and once I got the hang of breastfeeding, I found it easy and convenient.”
I felt like a failure at first and blamed myself.
“Surprisingly, breastfeeding our sons turned out to be more complicated. Although I fed them on demand, they didn’t gain weight, so I had to give them baby formula as well after about two and a half months. I felt like a failure at first and blamed myself. But when I saw that they were contented and thriving, I realised that was all that mattered. Later on, I discovered that my milk came out too fast and forcibly, meaning both boys had trouble latching on to the breast to feed.
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What are the benefits of breastfeeding?
The main benefit of breastfeeding is that breast milk helps to strengthen your baby’s immune system, and the quantity adapts according to your baby’s age and needs. It’s also helpful that your milk is always the right temperature and readily available when your baby is hungry. You have no bottles to sterilise, powder to measure out or bottled water to carry home. It doesn’t cost anything either. And the sight of our tiny baby falling asleep, snuggled close, contented and full of milk – it’s magical!”
Which breastfeeding position worked best for you?
“I usually breastfed in the classic sitting position with my baby in my arms, resting against my tummy. I would sometimes breastfeed lying down at night.”
What do you feel about breastfeeding in public?
“I’m not bothered by mums breastfeeding in public. I think it’s completely natural and don’t see any problems with it, although I always tried to do it as discreetly as possible. I’ve never had the feeling that it has upset anyone else, or perhaps I just didn’t notice as I was so focused on my baby’s needs and wellbeing.”
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Occupation: On maternity leave. Runs the “Cerise sur le Berceau” blog
Lives: Bordeaux, France
Family: My husband James, our three children (a 7-year-old girl, a 5-year-old boy and an 18-month-old baby), a dog and a cat.