Breastfeeding is the top subject to discuss with other mums. Are you doing it? How long do you plan to do it for? Does it hurt?
When I was pregnant I was adamant that I didn’t want to BF as I had witnessed people close to me feel like utter failures for not managing it with their babies. I saw them with post natal depression, triggered by the stress they’d put themselves through all because a bunch of scientists (probably all non-parents or virgins) ram it down your throat that breast is best. I didn’t want PND. I was worried about coping as it was. I’m an emotional person at the best of times let alone with all sorts of crazy hormones pumping through me. I decided not to BF because I wanted my baby and I to be happy.
I went out and bought the whole bottle feeding kit and some ready made formula (boiling, cooling etc confused the hell out of me) all set to fill my baby up with sweet smelling White stuff.
I was told by a good friend and mum to 2 super big babies that I would instinctively want to BF my baby the minute it was placed on my chest. I had bonded with my bump whilst pregnant but due to having such a terrible time I felt that the “love” would be slow burning rather that instant so I just nodded, smiled and took no notice when she told me this. It was always in my mind that I’d be overdue too, sliced open and fit for nothing post-labour so latching a baby on was something I was keen to miss.
I’d made this decision without even consulting with the other half and it wasn’t until we were driving home from our NCT class one night that I asked him his thoughts on the subject. He asked me to try it and if it didn’t work, or I got depressed etc then he would support me. For him I gave it a try….
Anyone who has read my labour post will know what a fantastic time I had. We enjoyed every moment, had a laugh and cried with joy when the boy popped out. I was so keen to cuddle him, to hold him and for the other half to hold me. A family, my perfect family. This is what I’d always wanted, without even realising it.
He was weighed. I showered and was fed toast and super sweet tea then it was suggested that I should try and latch him on. It was all very relaxed and nothing like the horror stories I’d heard about with evil midwives squeezing your fun bags. The student midwife was keen to help but also asked of we wanted some space. I asked her to watch just to reassure me it was all going well. This, to me, was more daunting than the labour itself.
Boy did that first time feel weird. And sore. But with a few words of encouragement and lots of “big mouth, big mouth” he latched on. Only for a few minutes but it worked. For the rest of the day he slept. Seeing as I’m a first time mum I thought this was normal, he’d been through a pretty traumatic time so was probably a little bit sleepy. The midwife came round late afternoon and suggested I try and feed again. He stared at my nipple for a long time, sizing it up and wondering why it kept poking him on the nose before taking a big mouthful of it. The midwife shifted my arms around a bit and left us to it. He fed for a sort time before falling back to sleep. He likes his sleep.
We were discharged that evening and that’s when my fear really set in. What if I couldn’t feed him? Was he getting enough? How would he let me know? Well my body let me know. I woke up every 2 hours to feed my boy. I had to wake him up to feed him but I knew (from reading a leaflet) that is was important to get the gooey stuff through so the proper milk could arrive in the “milk bottles”. And my body was in tune with my brain and woke me up.
It was a little struggle to latch him on during the night but the other half was brilliant. Moving his hands out of his mouth, stroking his chin to open his gob and supplying big cuddles to me after D had finished. He was so proud of me and that’s what kept me going. My nips were red hot sore. They had bled a little bit which worried me. You read in any “helpful” book that a bleeding, cracked nipple MUST mean the baby isn’t latched on properly, you are a terrible mother and you are certain to live a life of drudgery. Well you know what? The other half and I don’t partake in wild sex games, he doesn’t swing off my nipples so they are generally quite sensitive to sucking every 2 hours, meaning they will bleed. I showed the health visitor my nips the next day ( the lucky cow) and she said they were nothing a bit of lanolin cream wouldn’t fix. This cream became my best friend.
The next few days were a bit of a blur of cuddles, crying (him), visitors, crying (me) and tea. And then my milk arrived. I was worried about supporting my ever growing boobs so headed to get measured. Big mistake as I met a woman that made me feel awful. She kept me waiting for 45 minutes. Sleep deprived and constantly on the brink of tears she finally hauled me into a changing room and ordered my top off. She criticised the bra I was wearing saying it was giving me no support (genius!) and kept asking if my milk had fully come in. I had no idea! It was my first time. She told me off for not coming to get measured before the baby was born and even when I felt I should explain that Dex was 2 weeks early she just wasn’t interested. That was a low point. I ended up buying the 36E bra’s (anyone who knows me will agree how crazy that sounds) and returning them a week later.
Dex continued to latch on ok. I continued to show my nipples to HCP for reassurance and the other half continued to force feed cake.
We’ve hit a few awkward milestones – feeding in public for the first time, springing a leak in public, hyper lactation, fretful nights full of wind, quick access clothes etc. But overcome them all. D is a healthy, happy 15 week old boy that is chubbing up beautifully. He smiles when he sees my boob knowing that milk is coming. We’re taking it week by week and I plan to feed him for as long as I can (I promise I’m joking about him being 40.)
I would advise every new mum to give it a go. I was lucky to attend a 2 hour class on BF but most of my support came from the other half.
It’s the most natural and weirdest thing in the world.
Until next time my lovelies
Mummy over and out