Thursday, May 16, 2013

Breastfeeding Guest Post- The Raw Truth & Tips

First of, excuse the high amount of posts over the next couple of days, if you've been reading my blog you'll read that I've been in hospital, so haven't been able to post my regular posts, so here they are all at once :)

Jydan is now six months. To celebrate that I've been feeding him for (almost) six months I'm did a 'guest post call out' on the topic of; BREASTFEEDING! Until Jydan turned six months.
If you want to read the original a guest post call out out check it out
Ella writes about her 'before baby' breastfeeding judgement, and how when she had Clover, everything she thought about breastfeeding instantly changed.. The raw reality set in. She finishes her post off by with some super helpful tips - tips I swear by too! PS check out Elle's business Clover&Elle.

Hi there, I'm Ella, mother to a 4 and a half month old angel named Clover India! A big thank you to Harley for letting me guest post :).
Breastfeeding is a topic i have mixed emotions about.
I will never forget that first feed.
I will never forget the resentment i felt for my mother, friends, for the Kaz Cooke book I read, for the ladies in my family and all the new mothers in every Hollywood movie - ever.

Up until this point i was so excited to breast feed, i will openly admit that i was judgemental and naive while pregnant, i swore i would NEVER be caught dead giving my baby formula. i would NEVER  use  a breast pump and express feed her, i wouldn't even entertain the idea. I packed nipple shields in their original packaging and stuffed them down the bottom of my hospital bag because i was told to bring them, not because i wanted to. I thought that way i could give them away to someone else. I would NEVER have to wear nipple shields, my baby would drink from MY nipple not some plastic thing.

If i met the girl now who thought those things I'd laugh in her face, and then squirt some milk on her non-vomited on top.
Clover was a tiny prem baby, at 38 weeks she was weighing in at 5 pounds and i had her through an emergency c-section. She was taken away from me and i met her an hour later, and fed her properly a few hours after that, her head and features were so small her my nipple was too big for her mouth!
I found feeding her completely unnatural, overwhelming and hard. Within 4 hours she had cut my nipple from latching on the wrong way, and i was in so much pain every time she tried to suck I'd have to hold back a scream and tears, i felt like someone was driving razorblades into my skin. After two days of trying with damaged nipples the midwife told me to put on a nipple shield, the first 'Never' was broken. It offered a relief, but made it difficult for her to drink. She had to work harder and being so small found it challenging, she wasn't putting on weight, she cried all the time, i felt like a failure. Why couldn't i feed my baby? Wasn't this the most natural thing you could do? So i expressed my milk and fed her through a little tube. This was a short term, but a exhausting, time consuming fix. She still hadn't put on weight a day later, and was starting to become dehydrated, her skin was  dry and her lips had little cracks. They asked me if i was okay with them to put a feeding tube down her nose into her tummy and feed her some formula. I agreed, my partner went with her because i couldn't find the strength to watch, i cried for the rest of the night. I felt defeated.  At that point i didn't see it as i was doing everything i could do to feed my daughter (which i do now, the need to be super mum was strong in those first few days), i saw it as i had failed her. I couldn't do the most 'natural' thing a mother should be able to do, It was a painful realization that made me drop all pre-conceived ideas about motherhood, my mind became open to everything.
She had her feeding tube in for 3 days using my expressed milk and she put on a good amount of weight, when it was removed i was asked if I'd like to formula feed her, it was the easy option and at that point in time i think the midwives could see how mentally and physically drained i was, but i refused.
I decided to give it my best shot. The following weeks at home were still hard, she may of been tiny but she loooooved to eat, every hour to be exact, i spent half my time in a dream state feeding, and 3 weeks in i decided in my head that I'd switch to formula, after setting myself a goal 'i'll just breastfeed her just till she's 6 weeks, that's a great effort'. I told my partner and my mum and they were super supportive. 6 weeks turned into 8 weeks. then 10.
Now almost 5 months on I'm still breastfeeding (with nipple shields, I'll do whatever works) with my goal being  a year. I brought an electric pump and when she's having awful nights I'll express her a bottle. I've grown to really love it, some of my favorite times have been looking down and catching her staring up at me with her big blue eyes, the way she holds my hand or now listening to her talk away early in the morning while having her breakfast feed. It's formed an incredible bond, and is a comfort not just for her but for me to.

Some of my  breast feeding tips and trick i picked up are:
  • 1 -  Don't leave a blocked milk duct in hope that it will go away. it won't. and it will bloody hurt. Drain that bad boy pronto and apply some heat.
  • 2 - Heat packs are your best friend. If you've been feeding for the majority of 24 hours and your back is killing you - heat pack it - if your boobs are getting sore - heat pack them. heat packs for everyone! (also have your partner on standby for back/shoulder massages and cups of tea/coffee runs)
  • 3 - Try different feeding positions, not all babies can latch on properly with standard chest hold. I strongly recommend the 'football' hold (you can also flail your arms about with that one). (Personally my bub hated the football, but I agree, TRY DIFFERENT POSITIONS!!)
  • 4 - Drink a lot of water, nourish yourself with good healthy foods, salmon is a great one for milk supply, lots of good fats, lots of greens!
  • 5 - Wearing a tank top under your clothes gives you the freedom to wear whatever, i didn't own any button down tops and i love wearing dresses, but in public post baby you probably don't want to hike your dress up and show everyone your beautiful saggyish stretch marked tum, so wear a tank top! Problem solved, Pretty frocks forever!

  • 6 - The first time you see your boob after draining it will scare you. My friend summed it up with 'A golf ball in a sock.' Yup. Let that imagine soak in. Welcome to your new body.
  • 7 - Don't compare your breastfeeding routine and amount of feeds with others, every baby is different and has different needs. Some babies will only feed a handful of times a day and stay on a good schedule, others will want to drink 24/7 and you'll feel like your chained to a bed (if this is the case remember, this is the smallest part of your life you're giving up, yeah you may not be running around town and visiting friends constantly, but you're spending quality time with a little person who's gonna grow up way too fast. Savour it.
  • 8 - It gets easier. A cliche, but its truth.



Jayme Holmes said...

This was actually an awesome read!! God I love Ella and her brutal truth!

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