Getting ready for my breastfeeding journey
Getting ready for my breastfeeding journey. When I breastfed Isabelle I was naive enough to think that when a baby is born, you put them to the breast, they latch on and off you go.
Learning the hard way
God I wish I’d known what I learnt the hard way!
I knew about mastitis being a possibility and that cracked nipples could be an issue but other than that it was portrayed as the most natural second nature task a woman would complete. You sat lovingly staring into your baby’s eyes whilst they fed, taking in all the goodness as it’s the best and only way to feed your baby. Oh and of the adverts in magazines are to go by, you will look amazing in a white floaty dress.
The reality for me was feeling agitated as I tried to get Isabelle to latch on whilst digging my toes into the carpet as her attempts felt like I was being put through a mincer. Her latch was rubbish so much so that she was on and off so often that not only did I have cracked nipples but they bled!
BUT it was fine, as it was the right thing to do – breastfeeding that is. I was giving her all the goodness that she needed. Except I wasn’t. She was losing weight so we were still having daily midwife visits.
You’re Starving Her!
I was told that I was starving my daughter!
I was told to hand express and cup feed her. If you’ve ever tried to do this then you will know how ridiculous this is. You hand express the smallest amount of milk and then try and feed it to your by this point screaming newborn only for their flaying arms to knock it out of your hands wasting what precious little milk you have to offer.
Have a day of skin to skin contact which will increase your milk supply and calm both you and baby down which should make latching easier.
Feed in a comfortable place where you feel relaxed so that she relaxes enough to feed.
Electric pumping but try not to give via a bottle – again with the cup feeding.
Breastfeeding Support Co-ordinator advice.
Feed on demand even if it is for 3 minutes every 29 minutes day and night.
I had all the advice under the sun about what I should be doing.
Don’t give up was the consensus.
Perseverance was the buzz word.
Every single time Isabelle cried I dreaded that she might want to be fed. I held my breath as I attempted the latch.
Left her crying too long before I tried to feed her as I built up the courage.
I pretended it didn’t hurt when it was excruciating.
We went along to a Breastfeeding Cafe where I watched other mums breastfeed and chat at the same time. There was even a mum sat cross legged on the floor tandem feeding twins. Needless to say that was my first and last visit.
I drank special breastfeeding teas to up my supply along with lots of water.
I bought all the creams and shields, hot cloths and cabbage leaves.
A total Failure
Enough was enough and Chris intervened by buying some formula milk so that Isabelle could feed and I could have a break and a bit of sleep.
I fought it as I wanted to do what was best for our baby. Feeding Isabelle was the priority but I felt like I’d failed her.
She guzzled the bottle down and fell into a milk induced sleep. It’s what she needed and it was what I needed both to allow myself to heal and also get some sleep, but it wasn’t what I wanted.
From then on we did combination feeding which wasn’t such a huge pressure for me and Isabelle gained weight and was a much more content baby.
We carried on this way until she was five months old when she began to reject the breast.
I was gutted and felt like I’d failed.
It took me a long while to not feel like this.
And now as I wait for baby number three I’m already feeling quite anxious about my impending breastfeeding journey.
Any tips would be greatly appreciated.