Morelle is a first-time mum to her baby daughter, Sadie and a passionate writer who shares an honest account of motherhood on her blog and social channels.
Morelle chose to document her breastfeeding journey and hand-wrote her thoughts in a little pink notebook, mostly late at night, or whenever she had a free moment before transferring them over to her online diary The Land of Milk and Mummy.
It’s a pleasure to welcome my best friend Carlie’s sister Morelle to the blog to share her experience nursing her daughter.
Photo by Morelle Chodosh.
One definition of the word ‘journey’ is, ‘the passage or progress of one stage to another’ and that underpins exactly how I feel my experience of breastfeeding was for me. A learning curve.
Life really is full of surprises.
If someone would have told me that I was going to breastfeed my baby, Sadie, for 17 months without a bottle in sight, I would never have believed them but that’s what happened.
I appreciate breastfeeding is not for everyone and know I’m lucky to have received support from day 1 which helped me to persevere through the ups and the downs of nursing my baby. It took 4 long weeks to find my groove and get to know my two ‘new breast friends’ but we got there in the end so I wanted to share what helped us.
Support Early On
I was fortunate to have caring midwives at the hospital who supported my breastfeeding journey as soon as Sadie was born. They made me feel comfortable to ask for help during my 3 day stay in hospital and helped make sure Sadie was latched on properly and nursing quickly.
Looking back, those early days were a critical period for me and it was then that I gained my initial confidence and ‘on the job’ training!
I was clueless on how to position Sadie despite the many books, magazines and other paraphernalia I’d read up on so it was down to the midwives’ guidance and patience that I managed it from day 1. Without the midwives’ help, I’m certain things would have worked out differently.
In recent years, I have made a conscious decision to practise gratitude wherever possible. My breastfeeding journey was a catalyst to this ritual, and it’s truly changed my outlook on life.
Overthinking must be part of my DNA but practising gratitude has alleviated unnecessary anxiety and worry, for me. I now start each day with a positive state of mind. I focus on the present moment as the past has happened and the future is yet to come. This mindset helped me get through the harder feeding days in the first month as it took 4 weeks to find my groove nursing.
I decided to accept rather than fight the ups and the downs of breastfeeding and that meant accepting when I was sad too.
I was in floods of tears when my milk first came in and felt overwhelmed with the responsibility that breastfeeding brought. I also suffered with intense pain thanks to blocked milk ducts and fatigue, so, like many first-time mothers, often wondered if I had the strength to feed Sadie and continue to. Although with a positive mindset and the support of my health visitor and a community breastfeeding consultant who picked up where the midwives left off in hospital, I persevered, and Sadie thrived.
I know that being a quietly determined person helped too. I found courage even in the darkest of times, and listened to my gut instinct that breastfeeding would work out in the end. That self-belief kept me going.
In the early days, my ‘me time’ was minimal, and although my evening social calendar had slowed down anyway (a baby will do that to you), I was happy to take life at a slower pace, especially as time goes by so quickly when kids are babies. I learnt to appreciate the little things that made me feel good such as a hot bath, a home facial or simply reading my favourite magazine in between feeds. Soon enough, the time between feeds became longer which I saw as a natural progression for us both and motherhood started to become easier.
As I was not expressing or using bottles, I didn’t have any way of finding out how many ounces Sadie was drinking when I fed her, which forced me to just let go and let her lead.
I had to look for other ways to see if she was satisfied (coming off the breast and emptying them both).
Going to my local Children’s Centre was the only way of knowing for sure that my milk was nourishing her fully, and the regular weigh-ins always reassured me. In fact it became addictive queuing up to have her weighed. I loved charting her growth and seeing her put on weight boosted my confidence and get me breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding in public:
I quickly got over the stigma attached to feeding in public places. I tried to be discreet where possible with a trusty swaddle blanket or a breastfeeding shawl which made me feel comfortable, however at home or with close friends, it was a different story and I didn’t feel the need to cover-up at all.
Feeding was so much more than just providing milk and never felt like something I simply had to ‘get done’ during the day. It never felt like a chore. It was a special time. Seeing Sadie dose off, milk-drunk was my cue to get comfortable, have a snack and relax. I loved those special times and looked forward to them. Feeding out and about had its own difficulties as Sadie became more aware of her surroundings as she grew with every month and became easily distracted but that didn’t put me off. I found nursing a convenient and easy way to feed Sadie on the go.
A special bond blossomed every time I breastfed Sadie. The oxytocin high was one reason, so was the fact we could communicate with one another during feeds as Sadie got older. Hair pulling and nose grabbing aside (!), I saw in her face, the reassurance my milk provided her with, and the trust she had in me. The gaze I got from Sadie as she looked up at me and smiled, (which would break her latch) was a moment I wanted to bottle up and keep forever.
Back to work:
I returned to work when Sadie was one and decided to keep feeding her through the winter season so I could provide her with my antibodies, especially as she was starting childcare and winter is a time bugs, run riot. As I only needed to feed her in the morning and evening, I was able to make it work alongside my job and breastfed her up to 17 months old until she naturally weaned herself off, finding bedtime reading more interesting than milk!
I have three mottos in life, and all have been relevant to my nursing journey,
‘The more you put in the more you get out’
‘Life is about moments, so create them don’t wait for them’
‘Always try your best’
I have a passion for informal writing, and chose to document my feeding journey as a memory-keeper on my blog and in guest posts like this. Things can become hazy in the world of motherhood which I’m sure all parents can relate to, but posts on nursing Sadie provide me with a space to share but also reflect and remember all those memorable moments together.
Having said that, I don’t think the sleepy haze can mask or make me forget the night I was forced to squeeze my milk out with the help of my Mum at 4am when Sadie slept through the night for the first time! Ouch
…Sadie won’t remember me breastfeeding her or the journey we’ve both been on, but it’s help shape me as a mother, forever.