Thursday, 1 January 2015

My Breastfeeding experience weeks 1-4 - #1 Feeding, bleeding and one handed reading - The introduction


Grab your water and snacks and sit comfortably... you never know how long it will take!

There I was heavily pregnant, envisaging my soon to be future, and no doubt about it, I was going to exclusively breastfeed. The midwife would plonk a lovely pink screaming baby onto my chest, and he would snuggle close into me, and latch onto my breast, skin to skin, in a perfect and harmonious moment, completely as nature intended.

Unfortunately, my birthing experience was much more traumatic, and breastfeeding well that came free with it's own selection of traumas too...

I'll give you a bit of background...
In brief my planned water birth did not go to plan, I was going to have music (every track pre arranged) candles flickering and aromatherapy oils massaged lovingly into my back. It would be uncomfortable, and dare I say painful, but with a clear yet focused mind I would breathe calmly and with a strong enough push the baby would pop out.
How wrong I was.

10 days past my due date, measuring large with back to back positioning, I went into labour enduring contractions 2 minutes apart, from the start. I was suffering from an infection the hospital diagnosed quickly and was informed my waters had likely broken days before. Long story short and some gas and air later, I was speedily induced. There was plenty of pushing, forceps, an episiotomy, emergency buzzers, a trip to theatre, bags of blood and a stay in high dependency; but we got there in the end.

Rousing to some kind of drugged normality, I had not yet held my beautiful 10lb 5 baby to my chest, and for a few days was too poorly to feed him. So this feeding business hadn't really started on the right foot.

A few days in to my hospital stay, I managed to feed him (of a fashion) yet he was very unsettled. Every time he was attached, he would fall asleep within minutes. Whether that was the antibiotics he was on, or just the comfort and tiredness after such a stressful entry into the big wide world. He struggled to latch from the very start. I had put it down to him being 'confused' as he was used to being fed donor milk from a cup; yet he also had a Tongue Tie.

I left the hospital engorged and throbbing, so on my first night home, I sat with warm flannels on my breasts, just letting the milk run out. This definitely helped, and I continued to feed him; acquiring more nipple trauma by the day.

On my first home appointment with the midwife, she weighed him and he had lost 9% percent of his body weight. I was assured this was normal, especially with such a big baby, and to keep feeding him on demand. For the first 4 weeks he was feeding almost constantly, with only an hour at times between a 2 hour feed and I had been in agony.

I've been very lucky to have such support from my family; cooking me nutritious meals, and cutting them up for me; so I could manage to eat one handed. This is one of the reasons I have been compelled to persevere, I have a great support network, I am not working, I don't have other children, and have nowhere more important to be; I feel I have no excuse to give up, as Breastfeeding is something that is really important to me. However what  I can say, is that I now understand why people give up 3 days in, 3 weeks in, and more..

Apart from support, It takes a certain level of what only can be described as damn right stubbornness. sheer determination and tenacity, plus the ability to shut your eyes, curl your toes and rock forward and backwards through the pain...

Breastfeeding is what is best, no question, and it is meant to be second nature, a pain free experience, completely natural and I know some people are experts; fine artists, skilled traders; making enough milk to provide for their baby, your baby and the neighbour's baby; but unfortunately that's not me...yet any

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