Things that didn’t go so great. As in to say they were flaming balls of disaster!
One of those things was breastfeeding.
I am all for breastfeeding. I think, hell, your boobs are there, they go all a bit funky like when your pregnant (never to be exactly the same again), best put them to work.
As well of course all the “breast is best” paraphernalia.
Giving breastfeeding a go was never a question for me with baby number one. It was just what I was going to do. I understood it probably wouldn’t be as easy as dropping the bra and away we go so I prepared myself with breastfeeding info sessions at the hospital and reading up on numerous blogs, websites and pamphlets.
I was prepared.
What I wasn’t prepared for was a postpartum hemorrhage leaving me exhausted and weak for months after.
I also wasn’t prepared for what if the milk doesn’t come. Or really I should say enough milk doesn’t come.
I plugged through those first nights of shaking in my hospital bed from the blood loss, trying to feed my child who latched on like an angel. But the cupboard was bare.
The night when one cranky midwife (there is always one, the others were lovely) tried to milk me for that pin tip of colostrum.
The weeks of holding my breath and counting backwards from 10 each ‘let-down’. A tip given to me from the midwives. They probably weren’t thinking I would need to use this for weeks.
Four whole months I continued to try to feed my baby. Well, actually, I thought I WAS feeding my baby. I knew no better. He would latch on perfectly, he would feed on and off and then we would change sides. On and off may have been a key problem but all in hindsight.
I was expressing too. I now know that 60ml in one express isn’t enough. But it is all I had.
My baby was turning into a lollypop. All head and scrawny body. I knew something wasn’t right.
Not one nurse or midwife that I saw ever really suggested that the feeding might not be going so well. They would question what times and for how long I was feeding him for and it ticked all the boxes. One did suggest taking Fenugreek which I did and it helped but nothing more was said.
Until it was time for his four-month immunisation…
After my initial emotions at his 6 week immunisation (I cried like. hmm, a baby) I had worked through those emotions again and was feeling pretty stable by the time we got into the child nurse. As she was giving him his needle in his bony little thigh she comments, “You do know your child is happily starving!”
Still to this day, those words rip my heart out.
And he was. He was happily starving. He didn’t complain a lot, chasing for more food. The food just never came. He was used to it.
After being passed back to the nurse that we normally saw I was told that they had been monitoring him but didn’t feel they needed to give a new directive until after they saw how his next weigh in was. I don’t blame them. Who wants to fail someone.
They sent me home with the prescription of express between feeds to pump up my supply. I tried it once. How does someone with the tiniest supply that they give to their child then express to get/encourage more.
How does someone who has just been told they are starving their child not try to fix the problem.
I sent my husband out for formula.
Those next few weeks you could see each bottle fill my baby up. The colour come back in his skin. He was being nourished. Something I wasn’t completely able to do.
With so much “breast is best” pushed around (which it is best don’t get me wrong) it is often forgotten that, hey, sometimes boobs go rogue!
They don’t do the one major thing they are supposed to. It’s very hard to bring them back into line.
With baby number two I will try again. Things may be different. Things could be the same. But I will try again.
Each time I tell my husband this his face looses colour and fear seeps into his eyes.
But I know better. I know what productive feeding feels like and I know when the machine is out-of-order.
I also know that a sustained, happy baby is much better then a politically correct one.
Where you blessed with fountain bosoms or did your boobs go rogue?
Maybe you chose that breast isn’t best for you?