World Breastfeeding Week starts today and to mark the occasion I thought I would share the ups and downs of our breastfeeding journey.
When I was pregnant with Sebastian I worried a lot about feeding. No, it wasn’t about the feeding, it was about the support I would get in my decision. I grew up in a breastfeeding household, my younger brother & sisters were all breastfed, so the thought didn’t cross my mind that I wouldn’t be able to do it. My mum is a huge supporter so I knew I’d always have her on side.
The problem I faced was with Dadda and his family. When I mentioned to my mother in law that I was planning to breastfeed, her reaction was;
“Oh don’t say that. You’re making me cringe!”
I KID YOU NOT.
Dadda was also less than supportive, breastfeeding in public made him feel highly uncomfortable and would send him the brightest shade of scarlet if there was the slightest hint of exposed breast, even a child under a t-shirt would make him blush!! So I dragged him kicking and screaming to every breastfeeding antenatal class we could find. Had a DVD from the midwife playing on repeat most evenings and printed of literature showing all the amazing health benefits for both mother and child and plastered them all over the kitchen. I had determination and lots of it. Nobody was going to stop me.
When Sebastian was born, I expected a wonderful first feed, a perfect latch, I knew how to do it, I had read about it enough times, watched the video, played with a doll and the knitted boob, I was an expert.
When faced with a real baby, who frantically thrashed his head from side to side, mouth wide in hunger, it was a totally different story. My confidence wiped away with each hungry squeal. The midwife grabbed his head and forcibly shoved it in the direction of my nipple and we had a latch of sorts. A few sucks later and that was it. The midwife on the delivery ward claimed I had cracked it and off we went, up to the maternity ward
The next 48 hours were exhausting, every midwife in the building came and wiped my tears and held my breasts to try to feed my baby. This was the natural way, the way women had fed their children for eternity and I couldn’t manage more than 30 seconds before the frantic little bird I was trying to feed began to whip his head and scream. It didn’t help that the three other women I was sharing a ward with were all bottle feeding their new borns, I barely heard a gurgle, never mind the piercing scream coming from my little one. I had them check for a tongue tie countless times but there was nothing. What was I doing wrong?
Then the weekend passed and on to the ward came the people trying to sell you stuff, a photo of your baby (which I bought), the physiotherapist with information on fitness classes and a lovely lady from The Breastfeeding Network, locally called Star Buddies. She came and sat with me for over an hour while we waited for Sebastian to wake up, just having a chat over a cup of tea and a chocolate bar, she felt like one of my oldest friends. When Sebastian woke up and she saw what I had been trying to explain, with the head butting and bashing she knew just what to do. She laid us both down on the bed on our sides and gently directed me towards him. He couldn’t thrash around so much and we made a successful latch. We laid there for 10 minutes having our first proper feed. I was elated. I could do this! I could feed my baby!