I don’t know if I’m getting old if it’s the fact that we’ve decided Charlotte would be our last child to why I’ve started to reflect on various things. From my pregnancies to labours, I’m enjoying reflecting on my experiences in the knowledge that they’re going to be experiences I’ll be repeating, just experiences I get to share from memory from now on. I can compare my experiences with each child as each of them has been so very different, proving that fact that every child is different — something I tried to reiterate at a recent talk about Breastfeeding to parents to be.
My first was non-existent. To be honest six years when I fell pregnant, I was quite naive when it came to Breastfeeding; I just assumed you stuck baby to the boob, and away you go. If only it were as simple as that but then I bet I’m not alone with that thinking. No one bought up the subject of Breastfeeding during pregnancy; I don’t know if it was because there wasn’t as much push towards it as what there is now or if it was just the luck of the draw but I went into labour not knowing a single thing. If only I had known or thought about researching it myself, maybe I would have been in a better position to have fed my child myself.
After Oli was born, I tried feeding, I put him to the breast but nothing. I didn’t know my milk was not yet in and that the only thing I was likely to produce was colostrum. I didn’t know any of this let alone what colostrum was. They were so adamant that my child got fed that I was handed a formula bottle and told to give him that. I left the hospital on a Sunday with bottles of hospital formula and the desperate need to buy Aptamil as research told me this was the best. I didn’t have any formula in at the ready as I didn’t think I would need it. If only I were pointed in the direction of support when I left the hospital or knew that there were actual helplines and people out there who could have helped me. I did have a Midwife come out and help me, she showed me that I could get colostrum out with a syringe and I continued to try to put him to the boob, I tried & tried. Every couple of days with that midwife visit it was asked if he was Breastfeeding yet, but he wasn’t. The stress and how emotional it all was, had me giving up trying.
The second time I like to think I was more prepared, I had spent the previous three years learning where it all went wrong the first time around. I took the time to educate myself this time in all things Breastfeeding; I listened, I watched, and I asked. I surrounded myself with people who had Breastfed and who would be able to advise me along the way. But of course, all this doesn’t mean that doing it, instantly comes to you. We had our homebirth as planned but had to be transferred into hospital afterwards as Dylan got an infection thanks to pooping in his waters. So our initial Breastfeeding journey started off in hospital, we did try after birth, but he was disinterested and was grunting.
When it came to trying to feed, it was difficult. Both me & Dylan had no idea what we were doing. But this time was different; we had people willing to show us what to do. With a syringe, we collected my colostrum to feed him, and we continued to bring him to the breast to try and get him latched on. That night he got to grips with latching on and sucked. From that point onwards he was on the boob constantly. I mean c.o.n.s.t.a.n.t.l.y. I covered mine & Dylan’s Breastfeeding experience in detail more here. But basically, he was trying to feed constantly because he had a tongue tie. Once we had that sorted, feeding because simple and we were on our way to the perfect Breastfeeding relationship. We breastfed for 15 months until it came to the end which was right for both of us.
And currently, I’m Breastfeeding again, for the second and last time. My experience again was so different, when it came to that first feed, Charlotte knew exactly what to do. She knew how to go to the breast instantly and how to latch straight on for that feed. I couldn’t ask for a perfect start for my last baby, I was not expecting that at all and it showed me how different babies could be. Some just need that helping hand. When we came home, and for the next couple of weeks the soreness that I knew I would have just didn’t subside. I remember having cracked nipples with Dylan but then this was down to the tongue tie and that latch not being right.
But this time around my latch was ok, I knew it was ok, and everyone who watched me feeding knew it was ok. It was only when I spoke up to my midwife that she explained it was probably because of Charlotte’s small mouth and then this made total sense to me. My boob was probably twice the size of her head; she was struggling to get that nipple in far enough for that latch to be perfect. A few more days later and the nipples started to return to normal and that last crack healed. Here we are today, four months on and still Breastfeeding and we plan on continuing until that time comes where she either no longer wants to feed, or we both agree on the right time to stop.
So there you have it, my three babies and my three completely different Breastfeeding experiences.