Since every one seems to be so different, I thought I’d share my breastfeeding journey.
I wasn’t too stuck on breastfeeding. I had this grand plan to just see what happened and if he liked my milk before I would buy bottles, more than the few breast pads I had and a pump, if not I was going to be totally fine and just give him formula (TOTALLY fine… not). The closer we got to D Day, however, that plan fell out the window. Blame it on excitement, nerves or the lack of anything better to do while we waited, and waited, and then, waited a little longer after his due date passed. I wanted to get going, dammit. I wanted this baby out and to start experiencing ‘the joy of motherhood’.
I was induced. I was induced again. There were 4.5 hours of labour and, after a momentary lapse of consciousness, my belly was cut open and he was yanked out. He really needed the assistance because he just didn’t want to come out.
Once it was all over, we were moved over to the recovery area for a little while. The curtains were drawn and then it was quiet and it was just us three. Holy crap. Nobody panic.
After a few minutes (could have been hours, we were just staring at this little, wrinkly thing), a nurse came in. Time to feed. This part is a little blurry, but suddenly there was a baby on my boob, and he was sucking. Ok, this isn’t too bad. I can do this!
The next feed, however, wasn’t so simple. The paed, the day nurse and the night nurse all had different ideas for getting a small, hungry baby to latch onto the boob of a nervous, sore mama. The best approach? The one that involved a nurse grabbing my boob and physically putting it into that teeny, tiny mouth. I think. All I really remember from those first few days is a lot of staring (at the baby, at the baby with his dad, at his dad), some really great food (I was SO hungry) and being told to relax my shoulders.
Then we came home…
My nipples started to HURT. Those first few sucks were excruciating and my boobs become so engorged. Between the pain from my wound and these ridiculously huge, hard, swollen, sensitive boobs, I just tried to stay as still as possible. I felt guilty because I started to dread feeds because I knew that it was going to hurt, so I was sleeping with one eye open, in fear. Worst. Mother. Ever. It carried on like that for about 2.5 weeks and then, suddenly, everything just felt so much better.
I still get sore nipples every now and then. Not sure why, but a small break (bottle feeding and gentle, gentle expressing) seems to do the trick. While the feeling of being able to feed this little human from myself and bond like we are is incredible, I’m also a little excited about moving to bottles full time. When that will be, I’m not sure, but I’m excited. Think of all the tops I can wear again when I don’t have to worry about giving a little mouth easy access! Like I said, worst. mother. ever.
But then again, as much as they’ve made me stop caring about protecting my clothing – great training for future muddy / sticky hands – milk stains aren’t VERY professional or trendy.
Yup, breast milk shoots. It just drips out, too. I found that out the hard way when I fed quickly after getting out of the shower. And when my husband pinched my bum after 6 long weeks of recovery time. But yes, have your little one pull off after a few good, hard sucks and off it goes. Across the room, on your baby’s face. On yourself.
It comes up
Typically, a feed is broken up by and ended with a big belch from my little man. It’s cute, but it’s not the type of noise I expected from a baby. Alas, this is more of an old-man-drinking-beer type of noise. Every now and then, the series of belches is joined by a little upchuck of milk. Milk can also come up a few minutes, or hours, after you’ve fed and burped. Sometimes it even comes up after a nap. It’s tough, especially when you have somewhere to be and have made yourself look sort-of decent, but I guess it’s just one of those things moms have to accept.
No, I can’t get him to eat slower or less or burp more in between, in case you were going to suggest that.
The bigger he gets, the more he squirms and the more likely it is that some milk is going to spill (or shoot, see above) onto whatever I’m wearing and it doesn’t just dry. It leaves proof. By the end of the day I often look remarkably similar to a blotchy dairy cow. Some days I feel like one, too.
You CAN drink
Not excessively, not all the time, but if you time it right or express, a glass of wine after a loooong day of mommying is fine. You’ll probably want to chat to your paediatrician about this, and I’m certainly not an expert or medical professional, but so far my single glass of wine hasn’t killed him, and neither have I. Sanity intact, feet up, I am extremely grateful to be able to take a little sip of the sweet stuff at the end of the day.
It’s tricky in public
The first time I ‘whipped it out’ in public was on one of our very first expeditions. I was nervous, he was hungry, and I blushed the entire time. No one around me cared, it seemed, but it was awkward. I needed to be under the muslin I had over my shoulder, too. How could I expect this small person to find what he needed to find without my help! At the end of it, barring a few milk drops, he was fine and fed and none the wiser.
The next time we were in a mall. Coffee shops are great ‘tit stops’ (see what I did there?), but so few are designed with any privacy. Look, I get it – expensive shop fittings, wanting to fit more butts in the shop and all that, but I couldn’t help feeling like I was on display. I then started to notice how few restaurants have a cosy corner where moms can feed. Sure, I could try caring a little less, but gosh. Just because I’m ok with feeding in public doesn’t mean I want to flaunt it and be the centre piece of the window display. I’m not a cake. Now, if I can, I’ll feed in the corner or the car, and bottle feed when we’re out and about. It’s just easier on everyone and formula seems to agree with him. Bad mom? Too bad.
Ok, your turn. What’s your story?