So I was due baby number 3 in November 2019; at the same time my husband was due to deploy to Estonia. We had no idea if he was even going to be home for the birth. Suddenly all my plans for birth, wanting to breastfeed and parenting my new born were in tatters.
Choosing to breastfeed
I was adamant I wanted to breastfeed my baby. It hadn’t gone well with my first and she was combi fed for the first 8 months; which was not what I really wanted. My second I breastfed for 16 months and loved it. This time I realised I would have to juggle recovery from a c section, my four year old (including school runs) and my two year old.
Finding a breastfeeding support group
My mother’s initial reaction was that I couldn’t possibly manage to breastfeed without my husband being around. She felt that I needed to use a bottle so I could get her to sleep better; and so I would be able to ask for help with feeding. I was so worried about how I would cope with the nights alone, what about the cluster feeds? What if she needed feeding and I was on the school run? In my desperation I sought help through the local breastfeeding support group where I was in Salisbury. They helped me with encouragement and addressing all the fears and misinformation given to me by my well-meaning family.
Surviving deployment with a new born
Baby was born, my milk supply came in on day 3 and she took to breastfeeding well. My husband left on his deployment and my baby was quite content in the sling; close to me and it meant that I could tend to the older ones. Support was limited as my parents were a good 4 hours away; but we adapted and made it through the four month deployment.
Winter was a blur with so many viruses, my baby picked up so much from her siblings. I was so pleased that I was breastfeeding with all the antibodies I was giving her as who knows how much worse she would have been; and at least all her ailments were short lived. The breastfeeding support group helped with providing emotional support at a crucial time; as well as advice when I got thrush and feeding became difficult.
COVID19 lockdown & a promotion
Fast forward four months and my husband returned from his deployment. We were straight into lockdown with all its restrictions; however it enabled my husband to have the time to bond with the baby he had barely got to see. Then we were told we were moving on promotion. After only one year of being in Salisbury we were destined to go to Devon.
Moving to a new base
My first action was to go online and find a breastfeeding support group. I knew how invaluable the support would be, how friendly the people had been to me in the past and the importance of reliable information and encouragement.
Thankfully I found Early Nourishment and training as a breastfeeding peer supporter has kept me busy. I now know some lovely ladies which would have been impossible without the group.
Interested in training as a peer supporter? Check out our ‘Training‘ page and sign up to our mailing list so you can be first to hear about when our next course is running.
If you’re a military spouse or serving military personnel; have a look at the NHS page for Service Families to see to what support you may be able to access.