The lovely Kim is on the blog today with her breastfeeding experience. You can find Kim on twitter @PlanetTots or facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Planet-Tots/ or her lovely website here – http://www.planettots.com/
I have been really very lucky in the breastfeeding stakes. When I gave birth to my son 2 years ago we got skin to skin contact straight away and just as the books explain he wiggled his way down my chest, found my nipple and stayed attached to it for the next hour! The midwife took one look at us and said “with nipples like that I knew you’d be OK breast feeding”. Gee thanks, since puberty I’d spent my life trying to hide my prominent nipples, now it seems I found the one benefit of nipples that stick out like the studs on football boots! After a full hours feeding he went to dad while I got sewn up and then he was straight back on the other boob for another hour! By the time we got home from hospital my nipples had little water blisters all over them. The Midwives told me just to persevere and they’d toughen up. I got some soothing nipple cream which really helped and they did indeed get used to it. I still had that toe curling pain for the first 30 seconds of so, but after that the pain settled and feeding continued.
My problem wasn’t getting him to latch on, it was getting him off! Alastair’s feeding pattern was 1 hour on, 1 hour off. We’d often spend the whole day in Pj’s and if we did managed to get dressed and out the house it was never before 2pm. Looking back he had a bit of reflux as he threw up after every feed but we put it down to over eating! The good thing was that when he had fully exhausted himself from feeding he would sleep for hours at a time so most nights he’d only be up twice and by 6 weeks we was sleeping for 6 or 7 hours solid at night. I’m the kind of person who is always on the go, I like doing things. Sitting down “relaxing” stresses me out, I always feel I could be doing something more productive with my time. By week 6 the hours and hours each day I spent with a baby attached to my chest was driving me to distraction. If I wasn’t so pig headed and stubborn I could have given up on many occasions, but it’s just not in my nature, I just kept pushing on one day at a time. Christmas day was the breaking point. We were at my in laws and I literally had about 3 or 4 30min slots all day where Alastair wasn’t attached to me. I knew it was comfort rather than hunger, he was in a new house full of people and he just wanted something familiar- mummy. Our first purchase of the Boxing Day sales was a dummy. It wasn’t an instant fix but gradually it helped sooth him and by the time he was 4 months old we had settled into a regular 3 – 4 hourly feeding pattern. Once we introduced solids at 6 months I found breastfeeding a real joy, it became a good reason to sit down for a wee while and was just so convenient. I went back to work when Alastair was 9 months and he had 3 feeds a day from me (morning, as soon as I came home and bedtime). By the time he was 13months he was fully weaned.
Our second child Alexa was born 2 months prematurely. She was tube fed at first and I had to express milk for her. There are 21 months between her and Alastair. I had only stopped feeding him 8 months before she was born which I think helped my milk supplies come in. When we were allowed to take her out and hold her I was told she was too young to know how to suck yet but told to hold her to the breast anyway to help stimulate my production. The midwives were astounded when she latched on and fed straight away. If there is one thing my children seem to know how to do, it’s eat! Again the problem with Alexa is that being premature it was like she was on a constant growth spurt, I really struggled to keep up with her and my nipples were red raw from all the feeding she was doing. I had that “I just can’t do it any more” moment a few times when I would be in floods of tears and mu husband just had to take her away from me until I calmed myself down. Having been premature and having a grubby toddler pawing all over her I knew she needed the boost in immunity my milk gave her so again I just kept going a day at a time. She is 8 months now and just like with Alastair the introduction of solids has given me some respite and feeding is now far more enjoyable and relaxing.
As I said I was very lucky, I had babies who knew what they were doing and a body that was easy to feed from but I still found it very hard work. So even when you see other mums that seem to be finding it easy, don’t be fooled, we all have our problems! That was why I decided to have a Breast Feeding Support Section on PlanetTots.com. We are all different, all our babies are different and we all need different kinds of support. The support hotlines offered by NCT and TIPS Ltd. Are great resources when you’re at your wits end. There are loads on online resources but local breastfeeding support groups can be a great way to meet new friends and share experiences with likeminded mums (if, unlike me you can manage to get dressed and out the house!). Please feel free to use our FB page to shout HELP when you need it and we’ll try and point you in the right direction. Just remember that every mother and baby combination is unique and no one knows better than you what’s right for your family. I truly believe that mum always knows best.