Bosom Buddy Stories

To celebrate National Volunteers Week, Corinna and Jenny share their stories to becoming Bosom Buddies Volunteers.

A thank you card for Bosom Buddies

In 2007 I became a mum for the first time and having read about all the wonderful benefits knew I wanted to breastfeed. Unfortunately my son just would not latch on, however I was determined not to give up and I kept trying; in the meantime I expressed.

After 6-8 weeks my son still wouldn’t latch on so I decided to exclusively express, which I managed to do for 13 months. I was also able to donate to the Human Milk Bank to help premature babies.

In 2010 my 2nd son came along and I’m happy to say he latched and I fed him to 19 months.

In 2013 I had premature twins and my twin boy started life in NICU so I immediately started expressing whilst at the same time latching his twin sister. Knowing how hard it is to exclusively express I was determined to get my twin boy latching, which I did at 10 weeks I then tandem fed my twins until age 3 when my twin daughter decided to stop, but I continued to breastfeed my twin son until he was 6 years old. 

After having my twins I was given an opportunity to train as a Peer Supporter and passed in January 2014. I have been helping mums to breastfeed ever since.

I really enjoy being a Bosom Buddy because having breastfed my 4 children I feel like I have such a wide knowledge and experience of breastfeeding, particularly non latching babies effective expressing and breastfeeding twins. I really enjoy helping and encouraging new mums to breastfeed.


Starting Well Bosom Buddy

I gave birth to my little boy at home in April 2014. He is my first baby and it was a fast and traumatic delivery, he was resuscitated on my dining room table and we were both transferred into hospital for me to be stitched in theatre, so we were separated for quite a few hours immediately following the birth and both a bit shocked by his dramatic entrance!

During my pregnancy I never hesitated to say yes when the midwife asked if I was going to breastfeed, sure I knew it might be hard, but it wouldn't be anything I couldn't overcome right?! As it was, it turned out that breastfeeding my baby would be the hardest thing I have ever had to do. He lost 10% of his birth weight  took over 5 weeks to gain it back had a tongue tie which we had to have snipped and I had low supply. With every struggle though the more determined I became.

I accessed every bit of support possible, I got my Health Visitor round, the infant feeding team, and my local breastfeeding group. My husband was a fantastic support, he did everything and my only job was to focus on feeding the baby. It took about 8 weeks but we finally cracked it and suddenly it was the easiest thing ever.

Breastfeeding became the strongest string to my parenting bow, it nourished, it comforted, it made him sleep, it took away pain, it entertained. If I was ever in doubt about what to do I offered the breast and it always solved the problem.

In those early days, I used to think about stopping and I remember saying. 'oh I'll stop when he gets teeth'. 'oh I'll stop when he can ask for it himself' and those sorts of things. As it was though, I only stopped feeding him a couple of months ago at the grand old age of 3½ years. We had been down to a bedtime feed for about a year and before that just at nap times and I don't think I had fed him in public since he was about 1.

When it came, the end was natural, it was his choice and considering the horrible start I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful ending, that last feed was so peaceful, I took a photo because I just knew he wasn't going to ask again.

At the start I couldn't have imagined I would feed him for so long, it didn't feel strange to be breastfeeding a 3 year old, to me he was just another day older, it was so normal.

I will never stop being thankful for the help I had to continue through all the problems, breastfeeding gave me a power to Mother that I never knew I had and has helped me through some otherwise rough times, teething, chicken pox, various illnesses, and long haul flights to name but a few! Now I am a Bosom Buddy myself, and every day I hope I can contribute to helping others the way I was helped. Mums deserve the chance to have the great relationship with breastfeeding that I eventually had because it was so so worth the effort, my biggest achievement so far.

Jenny Smith

Starting Well Bosom Buddy