Disclaimer – this is my story and my feelings I reserve the right to moderate comments that are judgemental
I had a clear idea of the mummy I wanted to be. I was going to breastfeed for at least a year and we were going to cloth nappy.My ant-natal class went over the benefits of breastfeeding and a friend at work is very pro-breastfeeding so I thought I’d have lots of support
The reality has been very different and is something that I still find very upsetting but I want to share my journey
I went into Labour at 2am on the 24th March and gave birth to Tobias at half past 12. We did immediate skin to skin and he fed. He didn’t want to feed again until around 6pm and I couldn’t get him to latch, cue being manhandled by midwives to try and get a latch.
The next day a breast-feeding support person came round to say they had drop in support down stairs. There we tried yet again to get him to latch for over an hour with no joy. She showed me how to hand express so we syringe fed Tobias 0.3ml or colostrum. Yes 0.3 ml which to me sounded such a small amount for the time it took. I was tired and upset and we didn’t have a plan.
I kept hand expressing and trying to latch but I was told that it wasn’t working because his mouth was too small. In the end I fed him some formula and cried I felt like I had totally failed as a mother.
We started a cycle of hand expressing round the clock my milk wasn’t in so the electric pump they brought me to try didn’t work. We slowly progressed from 1ML to 5 ML syringes and finally on to feeding cups. It felt clinical and strange not the natural experience I had imagined.
On day 3 I finally escaped the hospital and we moved to a post natal suite in the New forest. However as Tobias had lost more than 10% of his body weight I knew we were going to be monitored closely.
The support I got in the New forest was amazing. There was staff support to help with latching and feeding positions. But it still took at least 30 minutes to get a latch often with 2 pairs of hands and I was also still expressing me schedule looked like this
8:30 start trying to latch
9:50 rest / shower etc
11 start trying to latch
this was a 3 hour cycle that repeated itself. I left the new forest on day 6, with an appoint to get T weighed again the next day as we had lost more weight on day 5
when i left the hospital things went downhill – I only had a single manual hand pump not a double hospital grade pump. i was also incredibly tired and different kind of tired to anything I had ever experienced. I gave in to more formula and I slept through the night, letting Sam do the night feeds so i could feel more human and less on the brink of tears.
I found bonding in those first few weeks incredibly difficult I just felt an over whelming feeling of guilt like I had failed this tiny human that I needed to take care of.
I am not sure how many posts this is going to take, I didn’t plan on it being so long but there’s lots I want/ need to say and with this week being world breastfeeding week it seems to good time to do it.