Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Alexandra
I never wanted to breastfeed. In fact, in the run up to Christmas baby events I had bought bottles, a machine that made them, bottle insulator bags, sanitizer machine and was looking into the best formula for my baby.
Fast forward to January 19, the day everything changed.
I was going in for my regular 33week appointment with the midwife. Felt nothing out the ordinary apart from being extra tired that I just put down to being pregnant. Turns out I was very ill. Very ill indeed. So ill in fact that I ended up in an ambulance with the midwife as well in case I had a fit on the journey. I was terrified.
Long story short, they said that the only way to save me from having a stroke or something more fatal was to deliver the placenta, and thus deliver my baby 7 weeks early.
The next day (when my bp was low enough) I had an emergency c section. My baby, my beautiful baby girl was born at a tiny 3lbs 4oz.
I knew I wanted to do everything I could to help her, and that meant breastfeeding. I hand expressed for hours to be able to give her the colostrum that she desperately needed to give her the best chance.
She was ok, tiny, but perfect. Didn’t need any breathing help, just had a tube to feed and needed to be in an incubator to maintain her temperature.
After I had obtained the colostrum I worked tirelessly expressing on a schedule, all the while I was on meds and observations around the clock (still in the high dependency unit for 3 days pp). After about 4 days I was getting about 30ml combined each time.
I was moved out of the high dependency and onto the ward, with all the other mums and their babies. It spurred me on to try harder (as well as made me cry every time I saw a happy mum with a baby). Though I was only upstairs from her, I had to keep going back to ward for meds and obvs every 4 hours.
I soon got into a routine and was pumping cotside in the nursery by the incubator when she was sleeping, and having skin to skin contact when she was awake to try and encourage her to latch on. Eventually I was managing to get about 120mls combined each session. I was ecstatic!!
About 2.5 weeks into our stay, her temperature was controlled enough to be able to be moved out of the incubator and into a crib next to my bed in a nursery where mums stayed (same floor as the nursery so we had nurse in the room too). By this time she was getting pro at feeding herself, needing only the rare top up every now and then through the tube. One night, she tugged it out, (nothing prepares you for the colour fyi!) I frantically pushed the help button by my bed, and was told not to worry and that they wouldn’t put another in as she was doing so well (!!!!).
About 3 days after the tube saga, we were told we would be able to go home the next day.
I kept the expressing up at home for the first month as I was scared of feeding in public (turns out the bottles and sanitizer were useful after all!) and didn’t want to feed infront of friends and family. One day I was out and she started crying, I didn’t have a bottle with me as it was only a quick trip to town. I went into a quiet cafe, draped a muslin over my shoulder, and fed. And you know what? Nothing happened. Nobody looked. Nobody said anything. No crude men told me to put it away. No one said anything when she grabbed the muslin and threw it away, leaving me uncovered.
It felt freeing.
After that day I wasn’t pumping anymore. My supply was able to regulate itself, and I felt more of a bond with my daughter.
I kept saying I would only breastfeed for 6 months, after all, all the adverts on tv were mentioning folllow on milk from 6 months old so I thought that was just when my milk had to stop. Through research and help from little peach’s knowledge and guides, I am now knowing better!
I am 9months into our journey, and getting asked “when are you stopping feeding then?” And “why do you still feed her in the day?”
Yes, she is eating some solids, but it’s no way near enough nutrients to no longer breastfeed.
I have no intention of stopping, I didn’t when she had a tongue tie diagnosis after a month of agonising feeding. I didn’t when I was poorly and up all night with a bug. I didn’t when I had blocked ducts so badly that it felt like burning. I didn’t when I was crying from being tired from the night feeds.
Breastfeeding used to be alien to me. I’ve since fed on a bus, in a full local diet meeting, at the park, in cafes, at the in laws, at a zoo (much to my mothers disapproval who suggested I feed in the toilet (!)), on a canal barge and in a library.
My 3lb 4oz baby is now a healthy 13lb 2oz. Still rather small for her age, but considering how tiny she was I’m blooming proud of myself! And knowing that my milk has antibodies in that adapt to her unique needs is amazing.