I actually hate breastfeeding. It’s such a rollercoaster ride for me:
Baby number three, two weeks in… you’d think it would all be going swimmingly. Since I’ve been there, done that… Well no! Breastfeeding may come naturally to some, but I have to start from the beginning with each of my babies. Breastfeeding takes practice and perseverance!
With Mini Man we started off really well: he latched on within minutes of being born and was offered a breast…and boy did he have a strong suckle from the word go!
… then tiredness kicked in on day 3 and we didn’t quite get the attachment right. I was happy to have him feeding and ignored the pain during a feed or two, ending up with blood-blistered and cracked nipples. Dadonthebrink was sent on an emergency mission to the late night pharmacy to get Lansinoh nipple cream to save what could be saved. (Well worth the price tag!)
Mini Man was only breastfeeding in 10 minute bursts- he’d feed, get “drunk” on the milk and then snooze for 20-30 minutes before embarking on the next feed. I’d offer the alternative breast. Mini Man was often unsettled, seeming to want to feed more but also squirming from what seemed like tummy pains.
By the time we had the 5 day check up I was in tears feeding from one breast and not too happy about the other either. The midwife lent me a hand pump and suggested resting the worse affected side for 24 hours. She also gave me the schedule for the different breastfeeding advice drop-in centres open in our city. There is an amazing support network, with at least one drop-in every workday of the week in different Children’s Centres or at the hospital, on the weekend the midwives are at the hospital.
On day 6, 7 and 9 we went to the various drop-in clinics: the advice was good, the support practical, breastfeeding became a lot more comfortable. Why hadn’t I gone sooner already?!
The embargo on boo number 1 helped in a number of ways: it helped heal the cracked nipple and it also helped to get Mini Man to “empty” the breast he was suckling on better. He got to the thicker , creamier stuff. As result he started to sleep longer and then feed longer.
My milk supply was increasing, at this point anticipating baby’s demand… and over producing. I really don’t like my luxury problem of having too much milk. Time for breastpads! I was given a box of breastpads by a friend containing some of a well known high street store’s brand and another well know brand associated with breast and bottle feeding. Both failed miserably- slipping away and not absorbing enough. Dadonthebrink was promptly sent to stock up on the ones that hadn’t let me down previously: Lansinoh… and they proved worth their price this time around too!
Over the past two weeks we’ve had our go breastfeeding at home, in the car, at an embassy and at a conference… we may be getting there, though Mini Man sometimes does seem to scream at me… what are you doing mummy?! Oh, just muddling along! I want to reply.
The feeds have got longer in the past week (upto about 30 minutes), as have the sleeps between the feeds. This gap between feeds has brought it’s own challenges (besides soaking nighties and bedding): a painfully sore breast. Not mastitis thankfully! A hot wheatbag came to the rescue, shoved into my bra for a day… that did the trick and got the milk flowing again!
On day 12 we went for our last midwife appointment and check up. The midwife asked about the feeding and sleep patterns. When we mentioned about Mini Man sleeping upto 4-5 hours between some feeds a concerned look crossed her face and she voiced her concerns: She really wants me to make an effort to feed Mini Man at least 8 times a day and make sure they are good long feeds each time… then time came to weigh Mini Man. At 12 days old he was above and beyond his birth weight. (The midwife looked a bit embarrassed about her stern comments to me just minutes before.) … we are obviously getting something right!
However hard I find breastfeeding, battle with the my modesty about doing it in public, I wouldn’t give up the opportunity to breastfeed for anything! It’s best for Mini Man and me.
I love the bond breastfeeding creates between mother and child, the satisfaction at each weigh-in: each of those extra grams come from nutrition I am providing…and that those grams are falling off me rather effortlessly, the reserves my body has meticulously stored for exactly this purpose.
The milk is always the right temperature and available (almost) ad lib, on demand…all I need to do is whip out a breast (the ins and outs of which are a complete other story!) With breastfeeding there’s no endless sterilising and not need to buy expensive formula. Giving this nurturing substance gives me the confidence to take Mini Man out among people, hand him to family and friends, knowing that I have strengthened his immunity to cope with all of this. Heck, he can go swimming now, not having to wait for jabs, if only I had the energy and the green light for myself.
And I love how breastfeeding keeps me peaceful, lulls me back to sleep at nights, just makes me slow down and savour the moments!
I just wish more women had the confidence, support and perseverance to breastfeed and experience all the good it brings!
What percent of women would you guess breastfeed their babies in the UK?
Disclaimer- This is NOT a sponsored post in anyway, but was prompted by the fact that it’s Breastfeeding awareness week. The products mentioned are the ones I buy, love and recommend based on positive personal experience using them.