Firstly, apologies in the delay in getting this post published! As the name suggests, the bulk of my reading and writing time is reliant upon the moments where Leo sleeps, and as you may have guessed, he’s not done much of this over the past two days!
However, I was desperate to write something about this topic due to the fact that it was during this third week of life with a newborn, that I was truly and utterly stumped! I had visions of coping beautifully during the first month of Leo’s life as I was confident from my midwifery training that I was fully prepped for the first crucial 28 days! Physiological jaundice – check! Recovery after a caesarean – check! Safe sleeping – check! Baby blues – check! Breastfeeding – check….or so I thought!!
I remember thinking after a couple of weeks that I had cracked breastfeeding. Yes, my nipples were sore and very uncomfortable, but I was confident with my positioning and my latch was absolutely fine. There were no cracks or bleeding and Leo was putting on weight well and fed efficiently. I was lucky that he fed in 10-15 minute bursts around two-hourly at that point. Then, at week three, I was completely and utterly stumped! I vividly remember sitting in bed at 3am, after feeding almost half-hourly through the day and night, completely goggle-eyed, with a frustrated Leo grabbing and pulling at my breasts, feeding for a bit then pulling off, then crying, then feeding for a bit again, pulling off…and the cycle continued. I was exhausted and confused. Feeding lying down on my side was all that I could do. I was still recovering from my caesarean and so this position wasn’t at all comfortable, but at least meant I could shut my eyes between feeds.
It was at this point that I honestly contemplated giving up breastfeeding. Round and round in my head I just kept thinking; how do women do this?! What am I doing wrong?! Has my milk run out?! Is he getting what he needs?! I’m sooooo tired, what day is it?! We don’t have any formula in the house…what formula do I get….how do I prepare bottles…I don’t want to prepare bottles!! I remember posting a comment on Facebook in those early hours in desperation and I was so warmed by the responses I got from other new mums that I knew. They said those all important words, “you’re doing great, keep going, it gets better.” Hearing that from mums who had gone through this is what kept me going and is why I’m still breastfeeding today. They gave me the confidence to believe in myself, trust my instinct and to just go with the flow. They told me that I would know if Leo wasn’t well or not getting enough food, and if I could just get through this phase,Leo and I would reap the benefits of breastfeeding – and who said this was going to be easy anyway?!
So, from that point on, my husband slept in the spare room until this phase passed, I co-slept safely, I signed up to the DailyMail app so I could read trashy gossip about celebs (suggestion from a friend!), and made sure I had my phone charged so that I could read up on what was going on and why Leo was doing this. Whilst trawling through The Net…I came across this one article which was honestly like a beam of sunshine amidst a thick fog and literally made me cry with relief!
I would urge every new mom to read this story from a new mum, who is also a midwife. I couldn’t have put it any better…and sums up my experience perfectly! I love the fact that it’s written as if it’s from the baby too!
I can assure you that this phase passes as quickly as it begins, and that if you are breastfeeding, your milk supply will increase rapidly for the few days after, then will settle down again. It’s another one of nature’s wonders, and an example of just how symbiotic the relationship is between a mother and her baby. If you’re at this point and you are breastfeeding – DON’T GIVE UP! If you want to continue to feed, and you’ve decided not to formula feed, just keep going if you can. However, don’t feel guilty at all, if what you do need is for your partner to give a bottle for one of the feeds so that you can get some rest, so that you remain sane! No one should be made to feel guilty about bottle feeding.
Well then…new mums; batten down the hatches, get your water bottle and snacks at the ready, charge that phone, set up those box-sets, warn the hubby\partner and sit out this bumpy but wonderful ride! Good luck!
- Why did I fail at breastfeeding? (expressionandconfession.wordpress.com)