Friday, 19 December 2014

Breastfeeding, my story

So breastfeeding isn't for everyone for lots of reasons but I especially thought that it wouldn't be for me. I've always had sensitive nipples and I didn't like them being touched, so I thought that I would hate it. I promised myself and my husband then when the time came that I would try.
My daughter Sophia was born in July this year and within the first few hours they want to get your baby to feed. To be honest I can't remember this due to all the drugs that I had but I do remember that night the nurse waking me up every 2-3 hours to wake Sophia up to feed her! It sounds crazy but yes I had to wake her up to feed. This is only in the beginning as your baby literally has to feed from your boobs 24/7 to make your milk 'come in'. In this time you have colostrum milk so you don't have nothing but most breastfed babies are expected to lose up to 10% of their bodyweight waiting for your mature milk. It can take up to 5 days to come in but I was lucky and it came in on day 2. Sophia had put weight on before we came home from the hospital which was great news as they expect a loss.
Anyway at first breastfeeding hurts! It really does it feels like hell. My nipples were all raw, sore and blistered and each time she fed it was excruciating. At first babies don't know how to latch on and as I was in hospital for 5 days I would press my buzzer each time and a nurse would have to latch her on for me as I couldn't do it. Eventually she grasped it but I feel like if I would have left hospital earlier like most mums do say on day 2 I probably would have given up. So your nipples hurt and your baby needs to feed constantly and your tired from sleeping in 2 hour intervals if your lucky and you are hating this. Hang in there momma because it will get better I promise! I got relief with Lansinoh Lanolin cream this stuff is my holy grail and a must buy! I still use it now. It is a cream that you put on your nipple and it helps it to heal quicker and keeps it moisturised and soft, your baby can feed with it on so you don't have to wash it off.
There are lots of positives for breastfeeding here are my favourites:
* Weight loss! My tummy was gone after 2 weeks and I did no exercise.
* It's free!
* Convenience, when babies are crying and you think they might be hungry you can just pop your boob in its mouth and have a instant answer! but with formula you'd have to make a bottle and let it cool all whilst your baby is screaming. Urgh. Also no sterilising.
* Close bond. I feel like I have a closer bond with my daughter as I get special looks from her that no one else sees when she is eating and milky drunk (cutest face ever). She also does other cute stuff like hold on to my top or finger with her free hand or massages my boob like a kneeding kitten.
* Bigger boobs. It's true I've gone up at least a couple of cup sizes.
Your breaking point will come
Mine came when I was about 2 weeks in. I was tired and my nipples hurt alot and I felt like I was in it alone. Even though my husband was here only me got up in the night with her as only me could feed her. I was exhausted and snapped. At this night feed I felt like I could go no further and I gave her formula. She drank it but I felt terribly guilty and cried. At this moment I thought I would never breastfeed ever again. The next day as I'd not breastfed her my boobs were huge, hard, sore and leaky it wasn't good. My husband and mother in law took care of her for a couple of hours whilst I had a bath and a couple of hours sleep. The first bit of time that I had to myself since having her. As my boobs were sore from not feeding her now I just popped her on to relieve some of the pressure and surprisingly it didn't hurt as much! My nipples had had a well deserved rest! It still hurt but I was over the worst. I continued my Lansinoh cream and it gradually got better. At this point I thought that we would combo feed her both as my husband could help more but I felt like it didn't settle as well on her stomach. It made her more sick so after 2/3 weeks we went back to exclusively breastfeeding.
Having the support was very important in breastfeeding as there were breastfeeding support workers at the hospital and one continued to visit me at home. This support was vital as I could ask any questions I had 24/7 as they give you their mobile number. They also told me about a local breastfeeding group in my area which I attended. At first with her feeding so much I was a recluse but this felt good to go out and have a reason to get dressed once a week. It was great to meet other mums going through the same thing. Also support from family was vital as at my age (27) no one was breastfed in either of our families as formula was pushed back then. They needed to understand why I was doing this and not hogging the baby so no one else could feed her. Breastfeeding is so good for both mother and baby. As well as help to protect the mum from cancers it has everything your baby needs. A breastfed baby will not need water or anything just your milk until 6 months when you start to wean but then your baby will get the majority of its nutrition from your milk.
I know that you can pump your milk into a bottle so I tried this with a manual pump. It hurts even though her feeding no longer does. It works different from her mouth. I tried it and she wouldn't drink my milk out of a bottle something which are working to overcome so that she can start to be minded by Grandparents every once in a while.
Things that I found that help apart from the Lanolin cream are:
* Nursing bras, these have a little clip at the top so it pulls down easily.
* Nursing tops especially these from Blooming Marvellous. It looks like there is a vest underneath but there isn't. You just pull the material to the side and unclip your bra and your away.
* Reusable bamboo breast pads, I was spending £8 per month on disposables but these are approx £8 for 6. They are more comfortable, environmentally friendly and reusable.
* Breastvest, this is a vest but doesn't cover your boobs so you can wear your own top over it and lift that and your baby can feed without everyone seeing your skin. Nice and discrete. This is something that I wish I'd discovered sooner as I've been wearing the same 3 tops urgh. I have yet to try this (soon) but I imagine that it is amazing!
Fun nuggets of info
* she has a favourite boob.
* when she is feeding from one boob the other leaks and it can squirt very far like a fountain. So be prepared.
* I feel like breastfeeding helped her get great head control very early on as she had to reach for my nipple herself rather than being lied back and bottle fed.
So there you go I love breastfeeding. I understand that it is not for everyone as some mothers cannot do it for lots of reasons or they just don't want to which is fine as well.
I've had a great time with Sophia but if we have another in the future i understand that it may not be the same and I might not be able to do it again. Also it requires alot of time. At first I literally stuck on the couch feeding her all day, I would have to have my food brought to me and eat it with one hand and I've even had to take her to the loo not ideal but anything for a happy baby. When you have another young child you might not have all day to sit with a baby attached to your boob.
I hope to continue to breastfeed her until she is about 1.5 years old but we will have to see. I get alit of satisfaction seeing her develop knowing that all her nutrition is from me.
Jodie x


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