Lucy Rose Studios

August 22, 2023

My breastfeeding journey so far

Hello lovely, if you’re new here, I’m Lucy – your Maternity, Newborn and Family photographer based in York bringing you all the best top tips, my breastfeeding journey and the cutest photos to make you broodier than ever.

Breastfeeding.. I have so much I can say about it but I also don’t want to just rehash what everyone else says about it. This definitely isn’t going to be a ‘how to’ guide but more events and things that have happened over the last year! I also want to say, before I even start to say anything, that I am all for feeding your baby. I don’t care how you do it, formula or breast.. it’s all milk and as long as they’re fed, you do you. Both have their hardships and I think you should be proud of yourself for feeding your babe no. matter. what.

Now, when I was pregnant I was pretty sure I wanted to breastfeed but a bit ambivalent to it all. If I did, great.. if I didn’t, great but without sore nips. I have one babe and I never formula fed at the start so I can’t speak for that experience, nor am I trying to! This is just my experience.

Rewind to minutes after giving birth and my gal latched on lady and the tramp style, there was no stopping her. I know I’m insanely lucky in this – we had no tongue ties, my nipples weren’t too big or small, we had a good little thing going.. until an hour later when we realised that first latch was actually a horrible latch and she’d turned my nipples into a tap rather than a sieve.

Because of how cut up the poor things were, the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding were pretty painful – and this is pretty normal for those first two weeks from speaking to a lot of the ladies that come to the studio. We bought pretty much everything Amazon has to offer in the nipple soothing genre (which isn’t loads) and I wore breast pads, not because of the leaky boobs, because I could cope with them, but to hold copious amounts of cream and ice packs on them. Having said that, I remember those first 2 weeks also being the most incredible for bonding – the hormones that I could physically feel run around my body when I fed her were insane and if I could bottle that up (along with the newborn smell whilst we’re at it.. and the strange adrenaline that keeps you going – I’m sure a lot of college students would pay good money for that), I’d be on route to my second million by now. It is a closeness that I can’t describe.. being able to feel yourself feed your child and watch as they pull that milk drunk face. Now, 12 months on, when she’s latched she regularly smiles, giggles, we do funny eye contact things where I raise one eye brow and she cackles to herself, and I’m obsessed.

The one thing I will say about breastfeeding is if you ever have a Mama breastfeeding at your home.. get that woman a drink, stat. In fact, if she’s in her own home, just assume she needs one, please! There is no explanation or words I can use to describe the insane, immediate thirst you have when you get a let-down of milk. Your whole body becomes the Sahara, very bizarre – I’d glug entire bottles in one sitting. That’s slowly eased over time and now a cuppa will do but every now and then, I’ll get that big thirst! Food is the same.. I’ve never been as hungry or snacky as I am now. And I mean I get it, my body is making fuel for her too, but it’s a strange feeling to have to compensate. So yeah, go get your gal a drink and some form of delish snack because she’ll thank you.

As I started venturing out into the world with my newborn and the family rather than sit at home in my jammies, so many hilarious things happened that I thought I’d share some because whenever I have, it’s made another breastfeeding Mama go “oh thank god, that happened to me”. Breastfeeding in public was something that I was so nervous about before I had her. The first ever outing I had was to a little coffee shop in the city centre and within minutes, an elderly lady had asked me if ‘I’d had a cut’ during the birth because of the way that I sat down and stared at me as I sheepishly tried to get my tiny babe to latch and I hated it. But if you’ve been out with me since, you’ll know that I have ZERO shame in wacking a boob out because if she needs feeding, I can’t do much else! She won’t feed with a blanket or muslin covering her up and I’ve had so many comments telling me to cover up but people don’t realise that I don’t wack them out for fun…

A few weeks after giving birth to my newborn, I met up with my friend (we were both due on the same day and we both gave birth on the same day 5 days early – spooky!) to grab a coffee and get out the house. We had a fab few hours and I stayed a touch longer than I thought I would which means that about 10 minutes before we got home, my boobs started feeling like space rocks. That had never happened before.. and it can be really uncomfortable to downright painful when your boobs get too full, especially in those first few weeks when your supply is trying to figure itself out. I slammed the front door open and screamed upstairs to my poor, poor husband “I NEED HELP MILKING ME” and his face when he came down the stairs was as you’d expect. A sort of “please be joking”, very confused vibe. But he did, he grabbed some muslins, some cold water, a flannel and got me a coke out the fridge to glug at whilst he slowly deflated them. IMMEDIATE relief washes over you once you start to get rid of the milk though so that’s the one good thing about it all.. but it makes me very glad I’m an open book-not much can embarrass me-type of gal these days.

About 2 months later, we went over to Harrogate to meet some friends for a coffee or 3 and a cake in a really lovely little cafe. We’d sat at the back and, again, stayed longer than expected (we’re pretty good at that). Just after ordering our last drink, I popped to the loo and could feel my boobs starting to go down so I pulled my bra down to just check in and see what was going on (not realising I was in the middle of a huge let down) and proceeded to get breast milk ALL over the mirror, walls and toilet. About 20 minutes later, I came out and had to explain the reason I’d been so long in the toilet and just cracked up with laughter (because if you don’t laugh, you cry.. right?!).

A more recent thing that happens is my gal has decided to get FOMO when she’s latched. But she’s also decided that she has to be playing with the other nipple when she’s latched. You combine those two together with the fact she won’t feed with anything over her head (and why should she) and you become a pretty regular unintentional flasher. We were sat in a cute little pub, again in Harrogate, but a football game was on so the only seats were next to the TV facing everyone who was watching the game so we had to sit there. In front of me where a group of about eight 25-35ish year old blokes and.. well.. you see where this is going? They all screamed at something kicking off on the screen and she un-latched and dropped her head to turn around to them all whilst also holding my other boob on her hand like a platter. It’s safe to say they all watched the game VERY hard after that. Again, I’d like to say that’s only happened once but it’s more like a weekly thing these days. I’ve grown thick skin..

Now whilst some of the funniest things (or most embarrassing, but I’m taking the glass half full route) have happened, some of my best memories have happened too. I touched on it before and if I didn’t think Instagram would report me for nudity, I’d have posted one – she will catch my eye in a certain way or I’ll pull a funny face and she’ll smile and it just makes my heart IMPLODE.

Now, however, the glass half empty side of things. I LOVE breastfeeding, so much so that at the beginning I was adamant I didn’t need to bottle feed. Why should I? I didn’t need to sterilize bottles, my milk was free (other than the snacks) and it was heated on tap. We had a good thing going, why change it? Fast forward to month 3, I had gallbladder surgery and my girl was refusing every bottle type and formula you can think of. We likely spent hundreds on everything you can think of and both me and husband tried everything every book said.. I left the house, I stayed next to her, all the latches, all of the positions – one time, I lay her down in the garage (the only place in the house I’d never breastfed her and according to book number 2,675 that was why she wouldn’t latch..) and fed her and she took a bottle! I was going round saying we’d cracked it to everyone who would listen! 2 days it work for, then never worked again and we’re now at month 12 and to this day she’s never had a traditional bottle. She has taken a straw bottle though – she did so from month 5 (hit and miss) and it’s only recently that I’ve been able to actually leave the house alone for fear of her rejecting that bloody bright pink straw bottle.

Now whilst I am so proud of myself for getting this far, the one thing that I wish I’d done differently was to give her a bottle early on. Not every day.. maybe one a week.. just so she had gotten used to it. It would have done a world of good for my mental health, it would have allowed my husband to nurse her and I would have had a little bit more freedom BUT if you’ve read my last post, you’ll have seen that my post-partum anxiety didn’t want me to do any of that. We are where we are at this point and we made it through though! And now she’s eating and drinking like it’s going out of style.

I thought I’d write about some of the things that I’ve found helpful with breastfeeding:
1 – nipple cream, I’ve gone through so much of the stuff but it really, really works
2 – lansinoh freezeable breast pads – GODSEND if you have mastitis or overfilled boobs because it takes the slight burn out of it
3 – non-padded breastfeeding/maternity bras (H&M are my fave). The padded ones are fine but you have to fold them completely backwards to tuck under your babes face and it’s not very comfortable for them and soon enough they lose their form.. plus it’s faffy, with the non-padded you just pull back.
4 – vests – I VERY quickly gave up my dignity and trying to hide everything because my girl pulls down on my tops and always has done anyway but when I was trying to maintain some modesty, vest tops were easy to pull down and you could have your actual top over the top of your boob to create a little clothing sandwich.
5 – my biggest tip that I was told by a midwife for latch that works every time I suggest it is.. support baby with your hands on their neck and lower head, don’t push on the back of their head. If you push your own head now, your natural instinct is to push backwards (give it a go!) and so holding the back of their head can cause them to pull of the latch so just support it instead and let them do the head moving. It might not work for everyone but always worth a go, Mama!
6 – last but not least, find yourself someone who will help get rid of that extra milk because you won’t want to do it yourself..!

Interested in having your own breastfeeding photography done? Then get in touch here to find out more or follow me on my Instagram page here for more inspiration!

Lucy x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *