My breastfeeding story… Second time around

Before I had W, I was given lots of breastfeeding advice… Mostly that it was likely to hurt, wasn’t always easy and that I should stock up on nipple cream and cabbages 😉

I thought I’d give it a shot but was quite pragmatic that if I couldn’t do it I wouldn’t be overly bothered – I didn’t put myself under any pressure to do it. As it turns out, W was a dream to breastfeed – his journey was so straightforward that my best friend who’s also a breastfeeding peer support says i was only 1 of 2 people she knew that hasn’t faced any issues with breastfeeding. Another peer support friend was also amazed at how easy is had it, and even admitted to some jealousy over it! (Breastfeeding does that to you ;)) 


First few days of breastfeeding

So cue baby S and I planned to breastfeed again. However, baby S had other ideas. Straight away he didn’t seem to latch on properly, but I was woozy from blood loss so it was all a bit of a blur. During our hospital stay I got a couple of the midwives to help me with his latch, and we also expressed colostrum and gave it to him via a syringe. 

I could have stayed in til I knew that breastfeeding was established, but I wanted to get home… You know how it is!

The first night home was horrendous. S screamed a lot. Screamed when I tried to latch him on, screamed when he wasn’t latched on, etc.

When my midwife came over the next day, she again helped with his latch and also suggested hand expressing… And sent a breastfeeding specialist to see me the next day….

This lady said my positioning was all wrong, and helped me with that. She suspected I was finding it harder second time around because my last memory of it was with W when he was much bigger than a newborn…. A newborn needed much more guidance!

At this time my milk had come in so it was much easier (so I thought!!) S was still taking a long time to latch every time and usually crying/screaming every time but eventually would settle down and start suckling. In hindsight I don’t think he was ever latched on properly as he still wasn’t putting weight on. 

First two weeks of feeding 

For his first two weeks I had either a midwife or breastfeeding support visiting every other day to weigh him and when he was still -10% at 2.5 weeks they suggested I see the specialist boss lady at a breastfeeding support group.
I arrived early and glad I did as they put me on an extreme pumping plan for the weekend and watched him latch, before lots of tearful, stressed-out, sleep-deprived mums turned up wanting help and probably feeling like failures. I don’t think I’ve ever seen/felt such raw emotion in one room. 

It’s a hugely evocative feeling when you’re struggling to feed your baby. I’m so, so glad I had managed ok with W because I kept thinking ‘I’ve done it once, if I can’t do it again that’s fine!’ Whereas I dread to think how I would have handled all of this as a first time mum.

After a full weekend of breastfeeding, expressing (using the excellent Medela Swing pump) and bottle-feeding expressed milk, S had gone and lost further weight and was down to -11%.

I physically couldn’t do any more than I had been doing. 

I said to the specialist straight away that we were going to have to introduce fomula, as I couldn’t do any more and I was getting concerned about his weight. She agreed with me, and told my other half to get me a bottle of wine while he was buying formula as I deserved a night off!

They were all at a loss as to why he kept losing weight as he was pooing plenty, and seemed to be latching ok, but as I said earlier he must have not actually been taking much in when he was latched on. One of the ladies did say it might be a ‘small mouth, big nipple’ issue!

6 week update: Where are we now

So after 2 weeks of breast milk, he’s now been on pretty much 6 weeks of formula. I’ve been trying to express enough to give him one bottle of expressed milk a day, but my supply has been drying up… I know I can get it back by increased pumping etc… I need to make the time for it! 

I’ve tried a few times since to get him to latch on again but he hasn’t seemed overly bothered. Now he’s used to bottles I’ve bought nipple shields to try and fool him into thinking that my boobs are bottles but again need to make the time for it on top of his actual bottle feeds… I don’t want to do when he’s hungry and needs his food ASAP but then if I try when he’s not hungry I suspect he won’t bother trying! 

It would be lovely (for me!) if I can get him to breastfeed again, and I’m sure it’s possible with perseverance, but if he doesn’t, he doesn’t and at least we tried.

And that’s all we can do right? Is try. I blogged about it before.. I’m 100% pro-breastfeeding and think everyone should try. 

But now I fall into this pot of people for whom it doesn’t work out… So how do I feel about it?

The emotions behind not breastfeeding any more 

  • Gutted, but I can’t let it get to me, I’m not going to dwell on it
  • Surprised – having done it once, I assumed second time would be easy. I suspect most people struggle first time round, not second!
  • Jealous when I see anyone breastfeeding but I just have to remember that I’ve been lucky enough to do it once before, stress-free 
  • Grateful for all the support that was available to me. I think Cardiff and the Vale NHS trust do a pretty good job, I had support in hospital, at home and they run three drop-in groups every week. It’s really important with all the austerity funding cuts that these services aren’t cut.
  • Thankful for the wider support whether that be practical and moral support from peer-support friends or speaking to other people in Facebook groups who were having similar issues… As always.. A problem shared is a problem halved 
  • Relieved that S took to a bottle easily (as that can be a struggle to so many!)
  • Pleased that I can wear what I want (although I still default to my mummy-esque baggy t-shirts!)
  • Glad that other people can help with the feeding. (Especially handy with a toddler in tow!!!)
  • Tired and sleep-deprived, i’d say that night feeds are much easier when you’re breastfeeding as you don’t need to worry about making up bottles/how long bottles have been made up for… Oh and it’s bollocks that all formula fed sleep longer – S still wakes up every 2-3 hours
  • Guilty – I think subconsciously I used to look at mums bottle feeding their babies and wonder why they weren’t breastfeeding. I’ve learnt the hard way that however someone is feeding their baby, we have no idea what struggles they might have had to get there
  • Selfless – I could have kept on perservering with the latch issue, but it would have been for me, not S. He needed feeding up. He took to the bottle straight away, and is thriving on it.
  • Bonded – when moving to bottles of formula I worried I’d never bond with S like I did with W. I needn’t have worried. When I cwtch S in tight and his big eyes are looking up at me, I know we’ll be OK 🙂 

So there we have it. Two baby boys, two very different breastfeeding journeys. I might not be lucky enough to breastfeed again but I’d encourage everyone to give it a try. By sharing my stories I hope I can help to normalise breastfeeding in Britain – we need to see it, talk about it, support it! 

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First 10 days of being a family of four!

Wow what a whirlwind the last 10 days have been! We have a cute, little, gorgeous newborn son at home with us and in general life is good but our first 10 days has been slightly dominated by his weight and feeding…

newborn baby fingers!
newborn baby fingers!

Baby S’s weight and breastfeeding issues

S struggled to latch in hospital, and when we brought him home on day 2 we all had the worst night’s sleep… He wouldn’t latch, wouldn’t sleep and screamed a lot!

Breastfeeding support came out day 3 or 4 and helped with his latch and my positioning. This, combined with my milk coming in all helped and we finally started feeding ok but we were playing catch up…

By day 4 he had lost 10% of his weight, by day 6 he was back up to -6%, but by day 8 he was back to -10% and today (day 10) he’s still at -10%. I took him to a breastfeeding support clinic this afternoon and basically I need to pump a bit more, give him another expressed bottle feed and we’ll see where he’s at on Sunday!

I know his latch still isn’t 100%, he still gets frustrated at times when he’s trying. On the plus side he’s taken to bottles well  which can always be a battle when you’re breastfeeding!

Routine and moods

Obviously newborns are renowned for not having a routine, but we’ve had some good days and nights where he’ll sleep for 2-3 hours, feed, settle back down easily for a sleep. But then we’ve had other days where he’s cluster feeding and will only sleep on a human being!

Despite the feeding ‘issues’ he’s quite content, just this morning I took him out to the garden and he was looking around taking everything in, no tears or screams!

Me – mummy

I’m feeling ok, just tired as you’d expect from a mum to a newborn! His feeding plan and the terrible rainy weather have given me the perfect excuse not to leave the house (apart from last week’s vote and today’s BF group!) which was one of the things I wanted to do more of with baby 2... Just chill out! Been watching lots of cr&p TV and films!

My bump has pretty much disappeared (see… Some of my breastfeeding efforts must be working!) and I’m pretty much back to my pre-baby weight of 8lb. 

Toddler W – big brother!

You might remember that I was a bit worried about how toddler W would take to his younger brother and we prepared him for it as much as we could, well we needn’t have worried! 

Thankfully we had decided to leave him with the childminder on my work days (m-th) and I think this has given him the attention he needs, and the chance to burn off all his energy. Then, when he comes home he comes running in asking for ‘baby kiss’… It’s the cutest thing! 

baby kisses!
baby kisses!

As my OH and his family have also been helping out a lot with W, I do feel like I’m neglecting him a bit but I think it’s too be expected and it won’t last long…

One thing I’ve found really weird is how big and heavy W now seems! I don’t know if S’s birth co-incided with a growth spurt for W or if it’s just cos I’m holding S so much but honestly… W seems huge!! Did you find this with your first born?! 


My OH
 

After our first crazy night at home, I decided that S and I would sleep in the living room so that my OH could sleep well most nights. This means he then had the energy to help out with everything from playing with W, feeding me, housework etc…. He’s been a star! 

So there we have it, it’s been a funny first week or so dominated by feeding and expressing… But we survived! We’re now a family of four and at the centre right now is a tiny baby with long legs, long feet, lots of dark hair… Who looks a bit like his older brother did at this age… Who makes cute little noises and funny movements in a light sleep… Who has melted all of our hearts ❤️

baby toes!
baby toes!

Linked up with #KCACOLS

In support of Jamie Oliver… and breastfeeding

So Jamie Oliver has got himself in trouble for daring to have an opinion on breastfeeding even though he’s… a man! (I think actually he’s mostly in trouble for saying breastfeeding is ‘easy’ but it’s hard to tell among the furore!
Well I’m glad that Jamie has chosen this as his next topic to campaign over, highlighting how important it is and how it should start with support for pregnant women.
I was actually really shocked when I read the news a couple of months ago that Britain has the worst breastfeeding rates IN THE WORLD.

Only 0.5% still breastfeed after a year in Britain, our closest neighbours are female opressors Saudi Arabia at 2%. Meanwhile poverty-stricken countries like Ethiopia manage 97%! 

Why is this? Well I guess it comes down to choice… British women are asked if we’re planning on breastfeeding whereas it seems like in many African countries it’s the norm and I’d guess that only the super-rich there use formula. 

Do we think these African countries have lots of help and support when they run into problems? Maybe… But I doubt it. I suspect they persevere, keep trying and rely on their sisterhood as back-up wet nurses. 

I’m not having a go at those that have tried breastfeeding and run into problems, I say good on you! I’m saying that we need to see a cultural shift that makes breastfeeding the norm, not a lifestyle choice. It will take years, maybe a generation or two. 

Choices… I know someone who decided not to breast-feed as she wanted her husband to bond with baby… Nonsense! There are plenty of ways dads can bond with their babies! What other reasons do we hear? Wanting to have your own freedom? Wanting to drink? Being embarrassed by your body or boobs? Not wanting to be shamed by people who think it’s ‘disgusting’? 
See, we already have a lot to overcome to get people to try breastfeeding, never mind keep it up. So thank you Jamie for trying to raise the issue. We need more positive role models, people like TOWIE’s Sam Faiers… People that you can relate to so that not all the breastfeeding advocates are the mumsnet breastapo that are more likely to put people off than get them to try it!

What else do we need? Well let’s ban the formula milk companies being able to advertise their ridiculous ‘follow up’ milks so that they don’t become aspirational brands that people want to use. Give them less space in the supermarket. I’m not saying we should make it more expensive but maybe there’s a way to get those big companies to donating money to breastfeeding support every time formula milk is sold?

As for me? I’m not perfect, I’m normal, I wanted to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months but got to 3 before we started to top-up. I know I could have persevered with it. I stopped breastfeeding around the 8-9 month mark when I went back to work.

The majority of people were totally supportive of my breastfeeding but there was the odd person that pulled a face like the friend who thought breastfeeding stopped dads bonding with babies.

So let’s start a new era. Let’s talk about it. Let’s see it. Let’s make it the norm. And if you try it and it doesn’t work out, obviously let’s not shame you! #sisterhood 

REVIEW: Breastvest (breastfeeding top) including a give-away!

When baby W was born and I started breastfeeding I remember looking into what to wear – should I buy a cape/poncho thing? some special ‘nursing’ tops and dresses? A lot of people recommended the double top method – wearing a vest that you could pull down, while a top over it keeps you covered.

In the end I didn’t buy anything – we had a hot summer, I lived in baggy T-shirts and I quickly became comfortable feeding him out and about, showing my bare belly (and probably more!) in the process.

Fast forward to Autumn and what a great time to review the Breastvest – I’d not come across it before but it’s a vest that basically is missing the top bit where your bra is – it scoops down below your bra, so that when it’s feeding time you don’t have to faff about with pulling your vest up or down. As I said, perfect timing as it’s starting to get a bit nippy so it’s handy to wear this underneath tops that I’d normally wear this time of year, to keep my belly warm!

The breastvest
The breastvest

I can confirm it’s a great bit of kit – works like a treat, I’ve tried it under a few different tops – tight tops and looser-fitting blouses and it looks great and seamless – although might look a bit odd if you wear it with a sheer top haha! The fabric is of good, soft quality and I can imagine it will last quite a while unlike the regular vest tops you might be pulling into all sorts of shapes underneath your clothes!

I know lots of mums feel self-conscious breastfeeding out and about, in part because of their post-baby belly and this could really help with that and hopefully give those mums a bit of much-needed confidence 🙂

It has adjustable straps which is great – I’m short and it’s a lovely length on me, just skimming my bum which I love, I love longer tops!

I honestly can’t think of a negative for this review – they start at £10 (limited edition colours, £15 for black/white) which I think is quite good value, but obviously if you wear it a lot you’ll want to wash it regularly – daily if it gets covered in breast milk! So perhaps the only con is that it could add up if you want to buy a few (although they do sell 2 for £25).

You can buy the Breastvest in a range of sizes and colours (black or white, but they do some limited edition other colours!) at their website but they have also kindly offered me one to give away… all you need to do is enter through Rafflecopter below where it will ask you to leave a comment about other useful breastfeeding items. The winner will be picked at random on November 5th. Only open to UK residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was sent a Breastvest to review. I didn’t receive any additional payment. All views and opinions are my own.

REVIEW: Medela Swing Electric Breast Pump

When I was pregnant I remember researching breast pumps and wondering if I would end up using one, if I would end up breastfeeding etc.

During my research, one pump came into online conversation time and time again, which was the Medela swing. Everywhere from Facebook groups to forums hail this as la crème de la crème of breast pumps so I couldn’t wait to try it!

Medela Swing in its packaging
Medela Swing in its packaging

When it arrived even the packaging lived up to its expectations, I love the Medela branding and colours etc. To me it shouts quality and oozes a bit of class! I know I’m already starting to annoy you, but even the instructions were amazing… Why don’t more brands use photos/diagrams, colours and a decent sized font in their instructions?!

Great instruction manual with the Medela swing!
Great instruction manual with the Medela swing!

Anyway I digress, let’s get back to the main event…

How it works/how I use it

The pump comes in a few parts – 4 pieces make up the pump/bottle then you have 2 leads plus the main unit….

Medela Swing parts
Medela Swing parts

It’s easy to put together, helped by clear instructions…. the bottle has a valve system inside it…

Medela swing pump - nearly ready-to-go!
Medela swing pump – nearly ready-to-go!

You need to make sure you wash and sterilise the parts before you put it together as per the instructions. Once you’ve set it up, plug it in and hit the power button 🙂

As with using a manual pump, I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of how it would feel but it felt fine – painless and comfortable! It has a ‘2-phase’ method so it starts pumping as if a baby was suckling, then kicks into the expression mode 2 minutes later – but if your milk/let-down starts flowing within that 2 minutes, you press a button to go into expressing mode early. It has + and – buttons to increase/decrease the vacuum effect – I tend to use the + button to encourage the milk a bit when I’m struggling… and conversely I’ve used it when the milk is flowing well and can go quicker!

Result? In a good session when I have lots of milk in, I can easily express about 400ml of milk. While it’s not hands-free, you only need one hand to operate it so you can be reading/scrolling through the internet/ reading a magazine etc while you use it – essentially it does all the hard work for you!

 

Result! Pumped milk in the medela swing!
Result! Pumped milk in the medela swing!

A couple of times I’ve looked down and realised my nipple is no longer moving so it’s stopped working – it usually means a bit of my clothing has got in the way which stops the ‘vacuum’ effect from working. Once I realised I hadn’t plugged the cable in – doh!

Pros

Easy-to-use, light equipment, comfortable and very effective in expressing milk in an effortless way (especially compared to a manual pump!)

You can use it with batteries, and the main unit has a clip on it – so you could walk around the house doing it etc (you’d just need to keep your hand on the ‘breastshield’ (the funnel-looking bit!) as you do if you’re sat down i.e. it’s not hands-free!)

Cons

Probably just me being an idiot but I couldn’t get the UK adaptor bit to fit, so I’m using it with an adaptor plug instead!

If the bottle tilts a bit too much I have had a little bit of leakage – I think this is down to me not closing it tight enough rather than being a design fault but thought I’d mention it so you make sure yours is always closed tight, and always use the stand it comes with when you’re placing it down on a surface!

Other bits

Medela swing bag and accessories
Medela swing bag and accessories

The set also comes with a handy drawstring bag for when you’re out and about (I’ve not taken it out so not used this yet, but you can see from the photo that it’s a decent size – more than enough room for the main unit and all the accessories!)

As I said, you can use it with batteries so in theory is transportable but I’m not sure how discreet it is – I wouldn’t say it’s loud but I wouldn’t say it’s really quiet either – I wonder how mums get on with it when they’re pumping in work etc?

The set also comes with a Medela Calma teat to use as with the bottle. I’ve not used this as we’d got baby used to the Tommee Tippee bottles and I don’t want to confuse him, but I’ve heard good things about the Calma as it’s supposed to mimic the way a baby breastfeeds.

Overall result

I love the Medela swing – I now use it daily so it’s become an essential part of our routine and so much easier than using a manual pump. Even when I had a cold and my milk dried up a little, I managed to express a little using the Swing – although I have no idea how effective it is, if you have problems breastfeeding – hopefully it can help!

The Medela swing retails at around £130 and I don’t think it’s discounted often (or ever!) – this is likely to be a big chunk of your baby budget, but if you’re exclusively breastfeeding then it’s the money saved from not buying formula milk! You can buy it in places like Mothercare and Boots so maybe you could ask family and friends for vouchers towards it 🙂 Also, I think some of these retailers (and NCT) have rental options.

I hope you found this useful, have you tried the Medela swing or any other electric pumps? How did you get on?

Disclaimer: I was given this product in exchange for a review, but views and opinions are my own! 

 

 

REVIEW: Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature manual breast pump and bottle

I always hoped I’d be able to breastfeed, and express when baby came along. I remember researching breast pumps while I was pregnant and I decided that I would go for an electric pump instead of a manual one as they sounded easier, more comfortable etc.

But as the saying goes ‘never look a gift horse in the mouth’ and a member of a Facebook group I’m in for mums due in the same month, kindly send me a Tommee Tippee manual pump, as she had already had one but had been given another as a gift.

When it came to giving it a try when baby W was 7 weeks old, I was quite nervous – breastfeeding had been entirely painless but now I was staring at a contraction that looked like it could cause pain… and actually when I tweeted that I was about to use it for the first time, a few people said they’d had a tough time using it….

How I got on

So after washing it, sterilising it and getting my head around it, off we went…. after a few minutes of pumping, milk started dribbling through and in my first session I managed to pump over 100ml of milk – I was so pleased!!

First attempt at expressing milk
First attempt at expressing milk

I used this pump for another week or so before moving over to an electric pump. Personally I don’t think there’s a huge difference between the manual and electric pump in terms of output- I prefer using the electric one now as it’s lazier – I just have to hold it whereas with the manual one, you need to keep pumping to keep the milk flowing.

At first it feels like a strange sensation, but I quickly got used to this. I don’t think it should feel uncomfortable – perhaps if you’ve tried it a few times and it still hurts then for whatever reason it’s not the pump for you?

Tommee Tippee manual breast pump
Tommee Tippee manual breast pump

Closer to nature bottle

This bottle comes free with the pump, it’s what you use to catch the milk before adding a teat on to it to feed baby. Again, I was nervous about how baby would take to a bottle (if at all) after 6 weeks of exclusive breastfeeding and I’m delighted to say he took to it straight away and we haven’t tried any other types of bottles since so that we don’t jinx ourselves!

I believe these bottles/teats are supposed to be good for mums who are still breastfeeding, as the teats are supposed to be quite similar to the nipple thus making it easier for baby and reducing the chances of ‘nipple confusion’

My verdict?

I think this a great, value for money product. The RRP is £29.99 but I think it’s quite often half price in places like Mothercare which makes it even more of a bargain, so if you’re on a budget this could be the breast pump for you!

It’s very easy-to-use and I found it comfortable – I quickly got into a rhythm and learnt how to do it one-handed etc! You’ll know from my breastfeeding story that I have a plentiful milk supply, so I do think that helps with this pump – and I recommend you use it just after feeding, or when you feel that milk has come in – this will make it easier to use and you will get more milk that way! With that in mind, I wouldn’t bother buying this or any other breastfeeding products until you’re in ‘established breastfeeding’ i.e. been doing it for a few weeks!

As well as being easy-to-use, it’s very easy to clean and steriliser as it’

Another huge plus is the bottle you get with it – again, before rushing out and buying a huge set of bottles you can try this one and see your baby gets on.

The pump also comes with a steriliser travel box, milk storage bottles and breast pads but the girl who sent this to me had quite rightly kept those for herself – shame, as the steriliser travel box sounds really handy and I’m sure I’ll end up buying that!

When you add it all up, I think you get a lot for your money (especially if you can get it on offer!)

Any cons?

I honestly can’t think of any other than you have to do the work yourself by pumping – so this is not suitable for lazy people 🙂

 

Was this useful? Did you try this pump and find it as good as I did or did you struggle with it? Leave a comment to let me know, thanks 🙂

Disclaimer: I wasn’t asked to review this by anyone, I was given it as a gift and wanted to share my thoughts!

 

REVIEW – Philips Avent Comfort Breast Shells

In all my shopping for baby and motherhood, I’d never heard of these bad boys… a friend told me about them when I told her I had an abundant milk supply. She suggested these as an easy way to ‘catch’ excess milk, so I thought I’d give them a shot.

Review: Avent Breast Shell set
Review: Avent Breast Shell set

What they are: basically a plastic ‘shell’ (with silicone backing) with a hole in them for where your nipple goes…. you pop them into your bra and et voila, you can catch milk as it leaks!

I see faces...
I see faces…

How did they work for me?

I decided the best way to use these is to pop one in your bra while you’re feeding off the other breast (when I get the most leakage).

The first time I tried this, most of it leaked and I was ready to write a scathing review!

The second time I tried it, I managed to catch a load of milk without leakage! (I’d say 10-20ml)

The third time, I caught a load of milk but I spilt some as I was moving around too much!

Milk caught in the Avent breast shell
Milk caught in the Avent breast shell

I’ve used them plenty of times since, and honestly the leakage only happens if you manage to fill the shell; if you move around too much and/or if you’ve positioned it slightly wrong.

I should add that you need to wash and sterilise them before and after using. I should also add that I don’t think you would catch much by wearing them day in, day out. You need to be ready to pop one in when your ‘let down’ is about to start so maybe as your breasts start feeling hard and full!

My verdict?

I think these are fab! I haven’t precisely measured how much they can catch, but based on the milk storage bags I use, I’d estimate around 20ml each time.

So this is a really easy way of getting milk for your fridge/freezer supplies and topping up expressed milk – it’s practically effortless!

Because of the silicone backing, they’re comfy and you can easily forget you’re wearing them (although I feel a nice, funny sensation when the milk starts pouring in – not sure if that’s normal :)) The silicone helps them to almost stick to you – they don’t move around (or shouldn’t!)

Obviously these only work if you have a good, active milk supply. If you do, like me, these could also save you a bit of money on breast pads and cut down on how often you need to wash (or buy new!) bras!

Downsides

I don’t use them as often as I could as I’m quite often bra-less around the house so the only downside I can think of is that you need to wear a bra to use them! 🙂

At first I thought they were a bit pricey at £12 for essentially bits of plastic – but I don’t think anybody else makes them, and I do think they’re worth the money as it’s such an easy, lazy way of catching milk. Although I just said they are just ‘bits of plastic’ they are high quality and strong – I think they’ll last a long time if not forever!

Other info

They also come with 2 shells with ventilation holes in them to soothe cracked nipples by avoiding chaffing, but I didn’t use these as I didn’t need to. Once you add those in, they become even better value for money!

Was this useful? Let me know in the comments below and if you found it useful, why not share it with a breastfeeding mummy? thank you!

Disclaimer: I wasn’t asked to review these by anyone, I bought them myself and wanted to share my thoughts!

 

 

Family Fever

My Breastfeeding Story

I was never going to blog about my breastfeeding journey… I’ve had a very easy ride so didn’t think I had much to share… but when Medela sent out a press release about what’s ‘normal’ when breastfeeding, it got me thinking that we should all share our stories and journeys to make sure that the next lot of mums-to-be have a wealth of resources and stories at their fingertips….

Medela's normal breastfeeding graphic
Medela’s normal breastfeeding graphic

My breastfeeding story

So…. before little W came along I’d decided that I’d like to try breastfeeding but if it didn’t work out we’d happily use formula. We didn’t buy any equipment or formula in advance…. we were just going to wing it…. and how lucky we were…. as soon as he was placed on me, he latched on and took his first sip/meal

We were in hospital for just over 24 hours after he was born, which was handy as I was able to check with midwives that he was latching on ok, and they also advised me to take him off if he fell asleep/ stopped feeding… they also taught me to tickle his cheek to wake him up a bit while latched on.

And that was it, we got home and little W wanted feeding every 2-3 hours on average. He’d usually start nibbling on his fingers or fist when he was thirsty/hungry but didn’t always… generally if he cried, it turns out he wanted feeding… even if he’d just had some a few minutes prior…. feeding on demand indeed!

After a few days he had lost 9% of his body weight – totally normal but the midwife suggested I hand express into a breastfeeding cup to top him up, she didn’t want him losing any more weight otherwise we’d have to discuss ‘feeding plans’ etc. This brought out the competitive edge in me – there was no way my baby was going to put on a feeding plan! So I made a conscious effort the next few days to make he was even fuller than normal….. it worked, at 10 days old he was heavier than his birth weight 🙂

So I’ve been very lucky – he’s had no problems latching on, I’ve had no problems with my milk supply, I’ve not needed to use the nipple creams my friend gave me… I feel very lucky and blessed that I’ve been able to feed him in this way, without any problems, as it feels very natural and special to me. I love the look he gives me when he’s latched on, and I love how it’s our private time… just him and me…

I feel so proud that he is growing and thriving purely down to my milk. I feel thankful to his daddy who’s been making sure I’m well fed – he feeds me, I feed baby!

I feel sorry for all the women who struggle with breastfeeding, and even worse than that feel pressures and failures when it doesn’t work out. I feel bad that there’s no advice I can offer any of them as I haven’t encountered any problems. The only tip I can share (if it’s even valid) is to relax… I’m generally relaxed and laid-back, I wonder how much that is passed on to baby who feels comfortable feeding as he can feel the calm vibes?! if you’re struggling and stressing about it, can baby pick up on that? I don’t know but it’s just an idea…

Having said all of this, breastfeeding isn’t some kind of paradise club. Nobody told me how exhausting and messy it is. With an (over-?-)active milk supply, whatever I’m wearing (and our bedding) get covered in milk. (I then use these T-shirts as bed sheets for W to comfort him at night!!).

I downloaded an app called ‘Baby Connect’ (cost: £2.99) to help me track the feeds to see if any trends are emerging… I can tell you:

  • I feed for 5-6 hours in a normal day – so close to a full-time job! I can now see why maternity leave was invented…
  • on average I feed for 25 mins, (Medela say the ‘normal’ range is 12-60 mins) just under every 2 hours
  • on average this works out to about 16 times a day (slightly higher than the ‘normal’ range of 4-13 that Medela suggest)
  • the left side is far more popular than the right! (always was ;)) with about 3/4 of all feeds taking place on the left side
  • Most of our feeds occur in the morning, evening and nights – very few in the afternoon (again, slightly different from Medela’s findings)

Some screenshots from BabyConnect – I recommend this app for tracking feeds (can be used for bottle feeding, tracking sleep, nappy changes, activities etc too)

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The next chapters in my Breastfeeding story will hopefully involve expressing so we can bottle-feed, trying to reduce the nightfeeds eventually and feeding him in public if needs be…. if you’ve enjoyed this post then please follow me on my journey via WordPress, Twitter or Bloglovin.

What’s your Breastfeeding story? How do your findings compare with Medela’s?

(Please note I wasn’t paid by Medela to write this post – I just wanted to support their campaign!)

PS I’ve linked this up to Zena’s suitcase – new linky – Breastfeeding Diaries….