|Feeding and some of the views we've had|
E has been solely breastfed from birth until now (8 weeks 3 days and counting). For me this statement comes with a great sense of achievement, mainly due to the fact that I didn't give up. It is not that I believe she has to be breastfed, rather that I kept going with it despite everything. Some women can't breastfeed, or find it too difficult, for so many reasons. As far as I'm concerned you need a happy mummy to have a happy baby, and the method of feeding is mostly irrelevant.
I decided early on I wanted to breastfeed. I am inherently lazy, and the idea of having to sterilise bottles, get water at the right temperature, and mix the formula before each feed, seemed rather too much effort! Add into that the cost of a tin of milk, as well as the other benefits of breastfeeding, and I decided I would give it as good a go as I could.
We didn't get off to the best start. After my haemorrhage, I was barely with it for days, if not weeks. I struggled to even feed myself. The other-half-of-us literally did everything (other than overnight in hospital when he wasn't allowed to stay) for the first two weeks. Yet I battled on with the feeding. The midwives in the hospital were amazing, and kept helping me latch her on every time I asked in the first 48 hours. To start with I found it really painful and alien. Lansinoh lanolin was my saviour, keeping the soreness to a just about tolerable level, although I do remember crying during feeding a fair few times.
Overnight on day three was one of the worse nights of my life, and it took all my willpower not to give in. One factor may have been that we had no formula and there are no 24 hour supermarkets here, so there was no other feeding option, but I would like to think that my stubborn nature also helped me through.
E loves to feed. At times she would barely go an hour between feeds (from the start of one feed to the start of the next), not aiding my soreness. A friend tried to help stretch her time between feeds one weekend, but I couldn't bear the crying, and felt that she knew when she needed food so I should just feed her. Now she can go around 2 hours most of the time, more if she sleeps, and about 6 hours at night. Our main issue now is her writhing around as she feeds, mainly due to wind.
I have tried never to let feeding get in the way of doing things. As we demand feed, letting E choose when she wants food, I can never plan what we do around her feeding, and so quickly became used to feeding wherever we are. We have fed in cafes, in the car, on the beach, perched on rocks, sat on the floor... anywhere and everywhere!
Some things that have helped me:
- Nipple cream - using lanolin to help sore nipples really is amazing
- Relatching - knowing how to detach her in the early days and trying again to get a less painful latch really did lead to less stressful (and painful) feeds
- Sleep! - Now she can go 6 hours between feeds at night, giving me a much longer period of sleep, I am much more able to deal with any stresses during feeding
- Time - It is true, the first few weeks are the hardest, and it really does get easier
- Good breast pads - Lansinoh pads seem to work best for me as they stick in place better, are larger, and much more absorbent than other brands
- A dummy - E is what the midwife called a 'sucky' baby. She suffers terrible wind and finds sucking a huge comfort. When we realised some of her feeding was simply a comforting device, we introduced a dummy at a month old to take off some of the pressure. It has really helped!
Now I can even say that I enjoy feeding her at times, listening to the little noises she makes, and wondering at this little amazing creature who was born knowing how to suckle.