Written by Melissa Wroe.
I became mother at 15 to my now 14 year old son and despite so many emotions and uncertainties at the time, there was one thing that really had never crossed my mind… breastfeeding.
I am one of 5 children and my mum breastfed us all, she later became my mentor.
I was about 33 weeks along when I discovered I was pregnant and had very little time to ready myself for something I could not comprehend or even imagine. Yet, 7 weeks and 3 days later my son was born and after the initial skin to skin the midwife asked if I wanted to try and feed him myself, I remember wanting to give him everything. Always.
The following day, I was continually asked how many oz’s had my son had, but I wasn’t to know. I was feeding him myself or atleast trying to and had no measure. I felt so stupid saying “I don’t know” and this is where it began. I was written off before I’d even really began and the support unfortunately non existent, because I was 15?
Trying to navigate breastfeeding among having to return to school for exams was one of the biggest hurdles. None of my friends knew and I’m certain the teachers didn’t either. I remember having to escape off to the toilet regularly to express milk into the toilet because of engorgement and fear of leaking in front of my friends at school. It really is crazy to think that I had to do so much to alleviate any embarrassment.
Upon reflection, I feel slightly let down that the presumption was I’d bottle feed due to my age and I wasn’t ever told about feeding support, post natal groups or any such thing.
In all honesty my mum was one of the reasons I persevered and ultimately breastfed my son for 10 months. I eventually learnt how to pump bottles on my return to school full time and overcame so many challenges that she supported me through.
I am now 6 months into breastfeeding my daughter and it’s been truly amazing. Not without its challenges at times but, I am so grateful for 15 year old me for being so resilient and navigating through unknown territory. This ultimately has been the reason for having more confidence feeding this time around and asking for help!