After a three-day labour, Anna was relieved to have her baby in her arms. But there were more challenges ahead.
“I was on a adrenalin high after giving birth. I was desperate for everyone to meet Daisy, and spent an hour excitedly texting all my friends. But from our first breastfeed I knew things weren’t right.
“Daisy’s latch was ferocious and left me with love bites all around my nipples. By our second morning, my nipples were bleeding and every feed was agony. After three nights in hospital trying to establish breastfeeding, Daisy and I were discharged.
“I was looking forward to being at home, but I underestimated how hard it would be. I loved Daisy and felt protective of her, but I was exhausted, frustrated and in pain. I sobbed through every feed and, when I wasn’t feeding, I dreaded her getting hungry.
“For the first four days at home, it felt like we were living in a bubble. Paul and I were worn out but it was great to have time to ourselves, with nothing to think about but Daisy I didn’t even get out of my pyjamas.
“It was only when we decided to go for a walk at the end of the week that I realised how much labour had taken out of me. As soon as I stepped outside, I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I burst into tears and wanted to go home again.
“The first two weeks passed in a blur. It was hard for Paul to see me struggling. But he was always the voice of reason I really leaned on him for support. My mum was brilliant, too. Daisy was unsettled in the evenings, so every day she turned up at 7pm to help. She was so reassuring, telling me I was doing a great job it gave me a new respect for her as a mother.
“Two weeks on, breastfeeding wasn’t getting any easier. The final straw came when Daisy was weighed and still hadn’t gained any weight. My GP suggested topping her up with formula and the difference was incredible her weight picked up and almost instantly she became more contented.
“From then on my bond with Daisy grew by the day. Instead of dreading feeding her, I looked forward to cuddling up and giving her a bottle. I was also able to get out and about again. I met up with my friends to compare birth stories and even started going to mother and baby yoga.
“Daisy’s sleep also improved and by four weeks we decided to move entirely into formula. I felt guilty, but I knew it was the right decision for all of us.
“Now I’ve found my confidence as a mum. When I’m pushing the pram and people stop to admire Daisy I feel so proud. Paul and I have become even closer, too. We’re a real team and appreciate each other more than ever.
“Adapting to motherhood has been a slow process but we’ve got though the hardest part, and I absolutely adore my baby girl. When I look into Daisy’s bassinet in the morning, her face breaks into a great big smile. I’ve fallen in love with her and it feels amazing.”