Breastfeeding a Newborn – Dee’s Story

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Thinking about my early days with my journey….is an interesting reflection, now my little girl is 7.5 mths and it feels like those early days are so long ago. I remember going into hospital with a bit of trepidation about feeding, a lot of people would ask me if I planned to breastfeed and I’d answer honestly “i hope so” the hope…I guess being in reference to understanding that some things like tongue tie, or poor quality milk were tales that I heard of amongst my friends which made me worry and hope that I’d be able to do this. I’d attended antenatal classes and hoped it would work out, I had no back up plan, no handy stash of formula in the off chance that it didn’t work out. Hilariously I’d been leaking for a few months earlier so i knew we were good to go when the time came…(bamboo pads became my best friends). Then all of a sudden my little girl arrived, she was here, and was hungry. OMG no one told me that newborns have suction like that! You just will be amazed at their strength in their jaw, their little survival instinct kicking in and going for dear life!

And so it seemed to go ok, but I was conscious of all the visiting midwives coming into the room, all tending to take charge with their own thoughts, advice and instructions….my milk came in at day two or so I think, I remember laughing and laughing at the size of my massive chest that now seemed so much bigger than my little girl could handle…and I was aware of some pain and frustration now being experienced on both of our parts. It was an early morning visit by a midwife I think on day three that suggested I obtain a referral to the hospital’s lactation consultant that saw me turn the corner – not in that I was going to give up, but I was conscious of friends who’d had mastitis and gotten really sick and I felt like I was floundering…I mean who knows really what they’re doing? Bub didn’t and I certainly didn’t!

The Lactation consultant came and was the first person in amongst literally a dozen people, who didn’t take over and move my baby’s head. She sat back and observed and showed me how to listen to the swallowing, giving me techniques to feed her now…I didn’t need to come out of the hospital knowing three different holds, I needed to address my little one’s cries and demands and get her fed without sending me through the roof too! Her suggestion that I get a pump and express some milk to help make it easier for my baby’s tiny mouth to latch on made such a difference, when you realise that your baby is growing and in just over a couple of weeks will be able to latch on naturally, that she’s learning too…it makes sense. But I think this is something we expect to be able to do, and it is a challenge….not only are you combating the rage of hormones that are racing through your body, the adrenalin and endorphins, but it does come initially with a lot of discomfort. You have your uterus shrinking, your body so sensitive…if I could tell anyone even thinking about breastfeeding to just give it time…two weeks, your body will be healing, the sensitivity you feel will pass…your confidence will grow. One month in, you wont know yourself. Just try it, it helps you, it helps your baby….can i tell you for convenience alone – you have everything, no bottles to warm or sterilise, food you can take anywhere…buy yourself some lovely nursing garments…not just the singlets, spoil yourself and get your uniform sorted…prepare to succeed with this. I have fed her everywhere I could, I’m constantly surprised by the elderly ladies who ask me if I’m breastfeeding her and praise me….it just was always done in their generation. I had an experience visiting a friends house with my bub a few months ago and she was hungry, so I told my friends 6 yr old daughter I had to feed her, she hurriedly said she’d help me and went rummaging through the nappy bag….for a bottle. I was surprised at realising I was in a non-breastfeeding house! I was stunned as I looked around at these lovely children running around but staring at me and asking why my daughter was sucking my belly…but anyway I digress…so yes you are going to be up in the night, you’ll be with your bub a lot…and I have to say there is something lovely about sharing this…that no one can experience…when your baby learns how to control their movements and they lovingly touch you as they feed, their big eyes latched on you….physically theres a whole rush of happy hormones going on at this stage but it is really lovely, its a lovely thing to be able to do and experience and I would wish it for every mum if I could.  It’s a journey, but hey isn’t pregnancy too? You have this massive labour thing to go through in most circumstances, so really I think these things need to be overcome… i just thought of all the countless women before me, who’d done it, and I found strength in that.

Dee is a Boobie Bikkies fan. She says…..“Omg Pinky thank god for your boobie bikkies! Despite buying two boxes this week I stubbornly thought I’d tackle an online lactation recipe I found.., sourced the ingredients and was absolutely the worst thing I’ve ever made. What a fail. Thank god I have a better and more edible alternative!!! :)”

Dee, Tribal Blossoms Belly Dance, Brisbane

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