Greetings breastfeeding ladies and those who are still trying to get their heads around breastfeeding or those who have just stumbled across my blog!
This week is Breastfeeding awareness week and in honor of that and for Boobie Milk's Keep Britain Breastfeeding scavenger hunt, I'm writing about my own experiences on breastfeeding and just how important breastfeeding support was for me,...
Breastfeeding my first son was most certainly NOT the natural pass time that I'd been lead to believe in the Breastfeeding workshops I had attended before the birth. During those it all seemed a bit abstract and as I recall the videos they showed us during those sessions showed a new born baby virtually helping himself to the mothers breast of his own accord!
In my case it was another story entirely... For starters my breasts were enormous and my baby’s head/face seemed completely lost in the large round pillowy ball that was my boob, at one point he missed the nipple entirely and was just sucking hard on the areola, very painful for me and extremely frustrating for him. I had to stay overnight in the hospital just after I’d had him as there had been meconium in my amniotic fluid and that it turns out was a godsend. In the hospital I saw quite a few midwives on different shifts, there was one in particular who could see that I was struggling and gave me the top tip which was to make a smaller breast of my large breast by squeezing a portion of it together and then guiding the nipple into Caleb’s mouth. Finally I’d found a way to breastfeed which meant that he was getting some very precious colostrum (early milk for newborns which comes from the mother – amazing stuff!) and my very sore breasts filling up with milk were slightly less swollen.
Great, I’d found a way to get sustenance into my baby however position wise I was still extremely uncomfortable and for some reason it felt like I was feeding through razor blades. When I got home I had the most ridiculous arrangement of pillows around me and on my lap and even had books under my feet to raise up my legs just to be able to sit comfortably, still every feed was incredibly painful. I was just getting by day by day determined to breastfeed but dreading it because of the discomfort. Finally after a week when I could take no more I went back to Kings hospital (in South London where I gave birth), they referred me to the breastfeeding clinic. It was there that I met a wonderful lady called Claire, first of all she gave me a very chunky and firm breastfeeding pillow to use (what a revelation that was and why did no one mention these before!), the pillow made a huge difference to my latch and positioning but the sensation of razorblades was still there, she looked in the baby’s mouth and in a very strong Irish accent informed me “Your baby’s got Thrush!” She told me to go to my GP, she said he probably won’t be familiar with it (she was right) so told me which prescription I’d need and what I’d need to do, she also gave me a sheet with an anti candida diet on it. I followed all of her instructions (and brought myself a very bulky but effective breastfeeding pillow) and within 3 weeks was breastfeeding comfortably and did so for 9 months.
Without Claire’s help at that breastfeeding clinic there’s a strong chance that I may have given up, if you have any problems it’s vital that you go immediately to a clinic, if you’re finding breastfeeding painful and uncomfortable there’s nothing worse as at the beginning you’re a feeding machine.
When I had my second son I’d devised my Thrupenny Bits pillows and had put myself on an anti-candida diet during the last months of my pregnancy as there was no way I was going to go through any of that again. Breastfeeding second time round was a breeze, I used one of my cushions from the very first feed in hospital and for practically every feed after that (-: (No epidural this time, crikey oh riley the pain, thankfully the birth was relatively quick at only 3 hours!)
The breastfeeding workshops are great but the one I went to didn’t seem to address any negative issues, no mention of possible thrush and no mention of the fact that using a good pillow can make a huge difference. Forewarned is forearmed I say and be prepared for anything, you might be lucky and find breastfeeding easy but there’s also a good chance that you might not, if you are determined to feed stick with it and use all of the support available, you will get through it and after a few weeks breastfeeding will be a wonderful bonding experience as well as extremely convenient for you and your child, though in my case without the proper props and information first time round it took 7 weeks to get it fully right!
If you would like to be in with the chance of winning a pillow then please go to my Facebook page, hit the like button and go to the giveaway icon at the top, that will direct you to the right place, good luck!