Breastfeeding – all mothers have their own experiences and feelings. For some, it is a painful experience that does not work at all. Others love it and want to continue to breastfeed their child for a long time. For many moms, it can be different during different periods as the child develops.
We asked Florence, a mother of three and blogger from Bordeaux, France, about her breastfeeding experiences. She tells us how it differed from child to child.
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Did you breastfeed all of your children?
“Yes, I breastfed all three.”
“I actually breastfed our daughter for 17 months! With the boys it was a much shorter time. It was more complicated, so I breastfed them completely for just two months. Then I both breastfed and gave the babies bottles until they were about six months old.”
Did you have any problems breastfeeding?
“Oh, you’re kidding! With my daughter, I came close to giving up over and over. She wanted to nurse constantly – she took a little bit, went to sleep, and then started all over again. I felt like I’d got it totally wrong. But I persisted and once I got the hang of it, it was both easy and convenient.
In the beginning, I felt like a failure and I blamed myself.
With my sons, breastfeeding worked but not completely. Even though they got to nurse when they wanted to, they didn’t gain weight, so I had to supplement with a bottle after about two-and-a-half months. In the beginning, I felt like a failure and I blamed myself. But when I saw they were calm and feeling good, I thought that that was the most important thing. I understood only later that the pressure was too high in my milk flow, and that made it difficult for the boys to breastfeed.
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Are there advantages to breastfeeding?
Hands down, the best thing about breastfeeding is that the breast milk helps strengthen the child’s immune system and that the amount of milk adapts to their age and needs. Another huge advantage is that the temperature is just right, plus it’s quick to give the baby. No bottles to wash, powder to measure or bottled water to lug home. It doesn’t cost anything, either. And to see our little baby go to sleep close to us, so calm and harmonious after eating just the right amount – it’s magic!”
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Which breastfeeding positions worked best for you?
“As a rule, I breastfed in the classical sitting position with my baby in my arms pressed against my belly. At night I would sometimes breastfeed lying down.”
What do you think about breastfeeding in public?
“I’m not bothered by mothers’ breastfeeding in public. I think it’s entirely natural and see no problem with it, though I tried to do it as discretely as possible. I’ve never felt like it bothered anyone else, or maybe I didn’t notice it because I was so focused on my baby’s needs and well-being.”
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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 girl of 7, a boy of 5 and a small baby 1½ years old), a dog and a cat.