10 months ago Ro was born, and although I felt like a first time mum again, clueless in every way, one thing I was determined to do was breastfeed.
Before I went to be induced, I couldn’t bring myself really to plan to bring home a baby, anxiety had set in big time, I couldn’t imagine I would be so lucky to bring home a baby. So when I finally plucked up the courage to buy things pretty much the week before Ro was born, bottles weren’t on my list of things to buy, however I did get a starter formula pack just incase which I
inconveniently left at home when I went in the hospital.
In the back of my mind I doubted myself, I had supply issues when J was born although I expressed religiously through the day and night, but I kept going, even seeing a lactation consultant a few times who then recommended trying medication to help my supply. It was the only thing I felt I could do for him to help him, then when he left the hospital, and being a bit clueless, a first time mum and one of a prem, I was frightened off breastfeeding and onto formula. There was weight gain concerns, although had I known what I know now, and premature babies gain differently, I would have ignored them and kept going. So was it just because of the stress of NICU? The fact he was born at 27 weeks and pumps just aren’t my friend? or did I have an issue that would rear its head this time too?
So after a traumatic birth of Ro, which included blood loss, her getting wedged and the ending up having an emergency C Section, my heart sank when the day following her birth her sugars dipped so had to have formula top ups. Being diabetic myself I was kind of expecting a dip in her sugars but didn’t think it would result in top ups, but it is was what she needed. After her sugars stabilised we went back to just breastfeeding again but keeping an eye on her until my milk came in.
Just when we were hoping to be discharged, they noticed she was looking a little yellow, and quickly worked out she was jaundice and my milk hadn’t fully come in yet, which was put down to me loosing over a litre of blood. This resulted in top ups again, though the hospital were great and helped with cup feeds and I put her to the breast before and after the cup top ups
We finally came home after a week and that is when the full breastfeeding journey started for us. and she is 10 months today and we are still going strong – luckily she doesn’t have teeth yet!
There was times early on I nearly gave up, probably because I didn’t really know much about cluster feeding and was concerned as I had supply issues with J, so started to think she was hungry and I starving her but with each weighing (and the sneaky trips into mothercare that have scales in the changing rooms when I was unsure) I felt huge relief that she was putting on weight nicely. So each night around 6, I bedded down, snacks, drinks and box sets of shows at the ready for the night-time cluster feeding.
Yes at times breastfeeding is hard, there has been times I had been tempted to stop, although I am so glad I didn’t.
Three things I would have missed if I had of stopped:
Weigh in proudness
Every time J gained, I was ecstatic , but with Ro, each time she was gaining nicely I just wanted to punch the air, so proud knowing my perseverance and step into the unknown was worth it.
Left behind ear prints .
On the nights she would feed for what felt like forever, she would leave an ear print on my arm, and as strange as it sounds, it made my heart melt
Gave me more confidence.
I was always worried about feeding in public, I don’t have body confidence at all, but now I have even done a supermarket shop feeding her. I still don’t like my body, but if my daughter needs feeding I will just do it, knowing it’s better a happy baby feeding than a screaming one. I have learned to ignore stares and just smile, I am lucky the only comments I have had, have been positive although I wouldn’t care my daughter comes first.
I have a wonderful bond with Ro, but I also have a fantastic bond with J so I don’t know if that bond would be different.
10 Months in and hopefully more to go