My name is Darcie, and I am a mother of two.
I was 18 years old when I first started breastfeeding. I only knew one other person that breastfed and so I was completely oblivious to how difficult the early days could be! I knew nothing about cluster feeding, or how to seek the correct support. For the first four days I was repeatedly asked by midwives to put my son on formula, as they didn’t think he was feeding as he should.
On day four of me begging for some help, I finally saw a lactation specialist who helped correct my latch. He latched on and fed perfectly and our journey was amazing! We did have a bout of thrush and mastitis, but we quickly got over it, and he continued to breastfeed until he was 2 years 7 months old.
It was really important to me to continue breastfeeding him for at least two years, after that: I wanted him to decide when he was ready to stop.
When I became pregnant at 21 with my second baby, I knew I wanted to breastfeed again.
However, at 31 weeks my waters went unexpectedly, and my baby was born prematurely. He was sent to NICU and we were separated for long periods whilst I recovered and he gained strength. I had to express colostrum into syringes for the first few days to stimulate my milk supply.
When my milk came in I expressed 3 hourly and fed my son through a tube. It was a long and tiring experience, but I felt more aware, and more able to speak up against the nurses asking me to use a bottle and a dummy. I also had some expert support from the infant feeding team in hospital.
He did eventually start to latch on and now at 6 months he is completely fed from the breast. I have been able to seek the correct support from amazing breastfeeding support, including an IBCLC, who have supported me along this journey, and reassured me that any obstacles can be faced together.
After the first 6 weeks it becomes a natural part of day to day life, and not having to buy formula or wake up to prepare bottles has been such a relief.
I feel so proud to be part of the small percentage of women who breastfeed past a few weeks, and I wish more mums were aware of the convenience and benefits to breastfeeding.
I love being a young mum and definitely feel that the bond and empowerment I have felt through both breastfeeding journeys has boosted my confidence, and capabilities as a mum.
Here’s a video from another young mum, for #CelebrateBreastfeeding week