Thursday, 1 August 2013

Our breastfeeding story - World Breastfeeding Week

from: La Leche League

For a while I have been meaning to tell our breastfeeding story - not mine, not Harry's, not Dave's but ours. So being World Breastfeeding Week I thought it was about time.

After 4 very stressful days, Harry was finally in my arms. Our first feed is a bit of a blur, I can remember offering him the breast but not been sure of what I was doing. People don't tell you but when babies are born they don't know how to drink their milk. So there we were, mum and baby taking their first few steps into theirs breastfeeding (BF) journey.

Through that day I just tried to feed him whenever he cried but really I can't remember much of it.

On the next day we got up and I tried feeding him, for a while I thought we were doing super well, of course I had no idea "well actually looked like".

I would feed him until he let go of the breast and thought he was done but, not long later, Harry would be crying and it was a while until a midwife showed me that I could just put my finger near his mouth and, if he was still hungry, he would try to feed. That was a helpful tip only I wish it came followed by some help on how to feed him and how to know if he was latching on ok.

Through that day I carried on feeding him on demand, family would come to see us and he would be hanging off me. I was perfectly comfortable with that, even though my mum wasn't. She believes you need to cover up if you are BF, I do understand where that comes from but when you are trying to learn how to feed a fidgety baby, who seems to over heat with anything, keep my decency was the last thing in my mind.

I spent 2 days in the hospital and during that time, I have to say, I did not feel I had much support with BF. With the massive campaign done by NHS and the fact that hospital won't even supply formula, I wasn't at all impressed with the lack of a trained professional dedicated to help you in such delicate a moment.

By the time I got home with little bundle, I was already in terrible pain and BF was torture. My nipples were super sore but luckily I had nipple shields at home and so started a saga that would last 3 whole months (there will be a whole post on that).

after  a few days at home my nipples were super painful and my left breast started to go really hot and hard. Harry didn't like the left side much and the milk has been building up, looking back, I think I was a step away from mastitis. One afternoon Harry was screaming but no milk would come out. It was horrible. I never felt so useless in my whole life. My little baby was hungry and there was nothing I could do for him. I burst out crying, my mum took Harry away and comforted him, my gorgeous little boy cried himself to sleep, hungry. That was so so painful.

My mother helped me massaging the breasts and putting cold compress on them. Dave then helped me calming down, we goggled ways to keep things going and later that day, when it was feeding time, I took Harry to my bedroom where it was quiet, put our lullaby CD on  - to calm the two of us down - then I took a deep breath and went for it. It worked!

Now the milks was coming out and I had a content little guy. Still needed to use the shield as he would fuss and not feed without it, I didn't know by then but he had learnt to feed with the shield and had no clue of what to do without it. It was hard to feed him if I was out and the stress almost made me quit the BF thing all together. It may sound horrible but - thankfully - the idea of stopping made me feel too guilty so I kept going.

The thought of Harry being hungry for whatever reason, however, made me pop to the super market and buy him a box of formula milk just in case. That box of formula was the ghost of the BF problems we had. Whenever things were hard - specially on those days when little guy wouldn't have a day time kip and feed every hour - daddy D. would suggest; use the formula, it's in the cupboard. I know he meant well and never ever had anything against me BF Harry but in my head, I was just too scared that the would give up his mummy's milk to actually try anything.

It was a super stressful time but I'm happy we made it through it

I will post more on our Breastfeeding story on the next few days, watch this space!!!

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