Monday, 13 October 2014

Breastfeeding blues

Our first selfie
Before I had Squidge, I always assumed I'd breastfeed, after all 'breast is best' and all that.  It's a wonderful gift we can give our children and it's great for baby/mummy bonding.  What I didn't expect was the wave of emotion and struggle that I've had in trying to breastfeed Squidge.

He had a difficult delivery and was born with a low Apgar score, which did quickly recover to a full 10/10, but because of his difficult delivery, he was born with a lot of mucus which has made it hard for him to breathe and gave him a sore jaw/head/sinuses.  He's coped really well and barely ever grizzles because of it, but cup-feeding him formula from day 1 had never even entered my head.  I had idyllic visions of giving birth to him and him latching straight on, of us sitting in the feeding chair in his nursery during night feeds, listening to the radio and bonding.

The reality is very different.  Because he struggles to breathe through his nose, he can't really latch on to feed.  I've tried using a Medela nipple shield which has had limited success - he does succle with it but then moves his head so much he pulls it off and then can't feed which results in him screaming & crying.

Because I have such big boobs, breastfeeding is a 2 person job - I have to hold my boob in place as well as hold him, but it takes a second person to get him in place and help keep him awake. Surprisingly I was discharged from hospital, classed as a breastfeeder but without him actually ever latching on - apparently they shouldn't discharge you until they've seen him latch on.

It also took about 4/5 days for my supply to finally come in - and boy did I notice when it did!  My boobs have grown to at least another couple of cup sizes when they're full (i.e. in the morning) and get in desperate need of expressing, otherwise I leak all over the place.

One of the lovely breastfeeding support workers came over to the house a few days ago and is the only person to have success in getting him to latch, we literally haven't had any success since, despite many attempts and tears on my part.  She lent us a Medela small electric breast pump which has been a godsend - on the back of it's success and my inability to breastfeed, I'm investing in the Medela Swing breast pump which should be here any day.  I'm growing to accept that the only way for him to get my breast milk is for me to express as much as I can, and for him to be bottle fed.  But at the moment my supply can't keep up with his demands - I'm expressing about 150ml in the morning, and then throughout the day about another 250ml, but at the moment in each feed he's having about 100ml, so still needing to be topped up with formula (we're using the Cow & Gate one).

There's positives to him being fed by bottle, his Daddy gets to feed him too, which he loves doing. It's just not how I pictured everything... it's been an emotional rollercoaster for me, with many tears being shed by me and many stressful moments in the house trying to feed while Squidge is crying his eyes out needing dinner.

I hope he'll eventually latch on, we do keep trying but it's really difficult... I guess my biggest takeaway from this whole experience is to try and not hold on to ideals - it was the same with his delivery (more on that soon) and go with the flow to what best needs.

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  1. Breastfeeding is tough! You're doing a great job. My first baby took 7 weeks to be able to latch on properly, I just kept on trying and we got there eventually.

  2. Oh that's good to know - I'll keep working on it :)


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