I was 18 when I had the teen princess and despite having heard some mothers talk about bottle feeding being less stressful, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I have nothing against bottle feeding but I have suffered from depression and wanted to bond quickly with my baby and was afraid that if I didn't breastfeed I might struggle with the feeling of closeness. You can imagine how upset I was when the midwife told me that my princess was to tired to take the breast and would have to have a bottle for her first feed. In my young mind I wouldn't feel like a 'proper' mother until I had breastfeed my baby.
When she woke up for her second feed I got the chance to breastfeed and it was strange, a strange but lovely experience. It was lovely to know that I could provide nutrition and comfort to my lovely new baby and it really did help bonding. I still tease her now about having been breastfed until the age of two!
With little man I had to wait a little longer to hold him as I had to have an emergency c-section. When they put him to my breast during recovery I felt nothing, I was too tired. That I guess is one of the benefits, you can be tired and still breastfeed because it doesn't involve preparation you just do it.
I am one of the lucky ones that didn't have problems breastfeeding, but I know mothers who did, and know that it needs to be more normalised so that people are more willing to seek help with breastfeeding when they are finding it difficult.
The most difficult thing about breastfeeding beyond a year was getting them off it. We had many a screaming day and a sleepless night (both me and the children.) After I stopped feeding little man my breast became painful and lumpy, that is until I discovered cabbage leaves! I now swear by cabbage leaves and would advise anyone with pain from stopping breastfeeding to pop a couple in your bra and watch the pain disappear!
I had no problem breastfeeding in public even though I would sometimes get people giving me funny looks or staring. I did sometimes get annoyed and say, "What's up? Do you want some?" Which would at least stop them staring. With the bad there was also some good, I would get older ladies or other mothers look over spot me breastfeeding and give an approving nod and smile.
Breastfeeding is not for everyone but it has it's many benefits and you can express to give yourself a break, unfortunately for me little man refused to drink from the bottle so that was that!