When TJ asked me if I would write a post for breastfeeding awareness week, I wasn’t sure it was appropriate. You see, I didn’t breastfeed Moo. Well, not for more than 2 weeks.
But the more I thought about it, the more I thought there was a place for it. I’m not anti-breastfeeding. I’m very pro-breastfeeding, for all the reasons given in the other posts. But from my perspective, the important thing is to be prepared.
Moo was born bang on her due date. She was a big girl, 8lb6oz. She was perfect.
But her delivery wasn’t. You can read more about it here [http://bumblingalong.wordpress.com/2009/12/02/a-birth-story-for-a-birth-day/], but in essence we ended up with an emergency c-section, and 2 hours in surgery, a blood transfusion, and a return to labour ward for one on one mdiwife care…
But as soon as I was out of surgery, Moo was at my breast, skin to skin. She nuzzled up. She tried to latch on. She succeeded. She tried to feed. She gave it a good go. She failed, she succeeding, but she was trying and doing really well. We were all really pleased!
If I remember rightly, and I can’t remember why, the midwives helped me to express some colostrum, which we gave to Moo in a syringe. We definitely knew she was getting something.
The midwives were great, helping me to feed, showing me different positions, checking Moo’s latch. By this time she’d got the hang of it, and was latching on really well. 3 days later we were out of hospital and settling in back home.
Moo fed regularly, and was a contented little thing. But when the midwife came to check on us, she was losing weight. Quickly. In the first 5 days she lost a pound. The midwife checked Moo’s latch. It was good. But she wasn’t swallowing. Because there was nothing there.
We got a breast pump. I expressed. The pump is still pristine, because never a drop of breastmilk sullied it. We did skin to skin. We relaxed, as much as we could, but hanging over us was the promise from the midwife that if Moo didn’t start putting on weight, she would need to go back to hospital. So we supplemented. We started on formula. And she loved it.
Hubbie was happy with that. Let’s move to formula. But no, I wanted to keep trying. So when Moo needed a feed, I breastfed, and then bottlefed, and then expressed, in the hope that my milk would arrive. It wasn’t surprising it was late. I had a traumatic birth. I spoke to my NCT breastfeeding counseller, friends who had struggled with feeding. I read all I could. I ate well, I drank well.
But you know, after 2 weeks? It was enough. Moo was thriving on the formula, and my breast pump had still seen no milk.
I don’t know whether I’m within that 2% who have a medical reason why they can’t breastfeed. I do know that Moo needed food, and my breasts didn’t provide. I don’t know whether it would all have worked out had I persevered, and I don’t know if I will be able to breastfeed if I have another child. But I’d like to.
Breast is normal, and breast is best. But some kind of nourishment and a happy mother are essential.
Please, give breastfeeding a go. But please don’t beat yourself up, as I did, if it doesn’t work out. I told myself that before I had Moo. But when the hormones kicked in, I couldn’t accept that I wasn’t able to give Moo the best, as she deserved.
In retrospect, I know she had the best that I could give. Me. 100%
Personally I had to suddenly stop feeding no.2 when my Mum was really poorly. He was 8 months old, but it wasn’t planned, it just had to be like that. I felt guilty that I’d let him down as he wasn’t ready to finish, but my Mum and Dad needed me and I couldn’t look after an 8month old full time as well as my parents 250 miles away from my husband.