Tag Archives: breast feeding

National Breastfeeding Week

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National Breastfeeding Week

Chink of light

Yes it’s National Breastfeeding Week, so I thought I’d celebrate by sharing my favourite proper pictures I took of him feeding.

Beads

It’s such a huge and important part of my (our) life and a very unique bond that documenting it is really important. A lot has changed since the first “proper” photo I took of him feeding…….

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Nothing really more to say here!

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Ouch

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Mastitis. Sounds like some kind of made  up disease to put even the keenest of mothers-to-be off the concept of breastfeeding! Lying here in my second bath of the day, rattling with antibiotics and painkillers and the associated squirmy tummy to go with,  I don’t feel like a very happy chappy.

I’ve had blocked ducts before-a searing pain deep in the breast, red lumpy patches and feeling crap. Remedied by hot baths, massage, feeding from the painful side,  expressing,  “dangle feeds”(not advisable the day after a hefty workout) have all helped in the past but this is the first time I’ve felt like passing out with the pain and dizziness.  Blimey I’ve been blindsided by this one.

I spent the  morning in tears on the sofa. My toddler seems to know that I need him to feed more often and he’s more than happy to comply,  however his general “gymnurstics” and wiggling have led to most feeds ending in me crying. Turns out my racking sobs sound a bit like laughing and baby boy was very amused, giggling away whilst my tears fell on his head.

I really thought I could do this today though but after a mile walk to the shops and back I had to lie down which didn’t bode well. I rang 111 who were helpful and said I needed an appointment today so I waited for a call back from the doctors.  They summoned me in immediately (out of my bath) and I rather pathetically drove the half mile incapable of feeling I could walk it. 3 minute appointment later I had a prescription and by waiting in the pharmacy looking horrible I think my prescription got bumped to the front of the queue.

My little boy has been so lovely today. Luckily daddy was working at home this morning and then booked the afternoon off so he was able to give me a break or two when I needed. And baby D played really nicely with his toy cars most of the day. Hoping to squeeze a third lot of antibiotics in before bed in the hope I’ll wake up feeling better. I’ve got complicated catering to do for my family and want to enjoy their company!

Today I’ve been grateful for my husband,  my kind friends (even when I canceled on them last minute), the ladies on the “Breastfeeding older babies” Facebook group, my doctor and pharmacist, and the wonderful people behind the Kelly Mom website.

Knowing about antibiotic resistance had made me hesitant though. I’m always careful to finish a course of antibiotics as prescribed and would never request them if I didn’t think I needed them. But the thought of antibiotic resistance makes me nervous for the future. What will happen in years to come when as antibiotics become less effective? What happened in the past before antibiotics were invented? http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/ARC/Pages/AboutARC.aspx

Weirdly,  knowing everything that I do about breastfeeding-the challenges in the early days, teething,  marmite boobs after breakfast, sleep problems, blocked ducts and all I wouldn’t change this relationship for anything.

The exact expected rollercoaster ride

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This is so what I was expecting!
Sleeping and eating
These babies are amazing, they really know (instinctively) how to push your buttons and what your absolute limit of exhaustion and being able to cope is. Then they show you how wonderful they are and you forgive them…. until the next time!

We have had some really shocking nights. We’ll do a feed around 10 or 11pm, then put the baby down. On these bad nights, he tends to settle quite well initially. Then around 1am he wakes up and that is it until half past five in the morning. He will feed, burp, posset, cry, wriggle, feed….. etc etc for 4 1/2 hours. Sometimes he sounds frustrated and really does have tantrums, other times he just grizzles and moans. A couple of nights like that in a row are very hard to cope with, and he tends to seem to push right to the limit, then have a sudden good night to surprise us!

Last night was his best night ever (after a rocky start). He “cluster fed” (as above) on and off from about 7pm until 11:30pm, then he finally fell asleep. The next thing we knew, it was 4am! That is officially his longest ever night time sleep since we started feeding on demand. Once he went down, he then didn’t awake again until just before nine. What a hero! He even was chilled out enough to let me go off and express some milk this morning.

It also seems the cluster feeding is working. I believe the idea of it (isn’t apparently to make me tired!!) is to help increase my supply- and it really seems to have done that. I expressed 120ml (which is a whole feed) in about 15 minutes this morning! Very efficient! And had enough left to feed him straight after and he’s still settled 2 hours later. Amazing.

I know this is unlikely to last and just as we get complacent, he’ll revet back. However, it’s so welcome to get just that little bit more sleep. I feel so so human. I even went into deep sleep and dreamt last night- for the first time in 5 weeks!

On the bottle
One of our aims now is to get baby taking a bottle of expressed milk. This is not only to make my nights a bit more pleasant and to mean that if needs be, I can actually go out when a feed is due, it also is really important to help daddy (and potentially others like grandparents and uncles/aunts) bond with baby too.

Thursday we tried a bit of milk from the bottle and baby was having none of it. We know that he DID know how to take a bottle during weeks 1 and 2 whilst we were trying to get him feeding better but it seems he had forgotten/ prefers the breast. Baby did not play ball- daddy was downstairs trying to feed him and I was upstairs trying to grab a nap… Eventually daddy brought him up, and he then took the milk whilst I was in the room (then I BF him after).

On Friday night, I went out. This was every bit as terrifying as I thought it would be. I was an hour late due to baby needing a feed (a long one) and sicking up a lot of the feed, then after I had been out an hour, poor daddy sent me a text to say he was putting the baby in the sling and coming up to see me to help baby sleep. Baby was refusing the expressed milk and screaming, so the sling was the only option. It worked! Baby slept like a dream in the sling. And I got to walk home with daddy and baby which was nice. 90 mins out was better than nothing!

Last night, we had a bottle of expressed milk ready to do, and then with the evening cluster feed, we never got around to using it. Excepting the baby to wake up about 1am ish, we said that daddy could do the next feed. So at 4am, baby got the expressed milk. He wasn’t super- keen on taking it and grizzled a bit but superdaddy persevered and got it all in him. Baby didn’t fall asleep so I gave him a little breast and after that he slept well.

We will keep persevering with this!

A LOT of text- apologies. Have a picture!

Hurrah
All the ladies from the Mumsnet Sept 2013 due date thread have now had their babies so we had a mass-celebration friday/ sat night (to suit). We all had a glass of champagne (or other favourite tipple) and posted a picture onto our facebook group to celebrate. I, and another lady also put together some fun awards to the gang- I really enjoyed it! What a lovely bunch of ladies!

Celebrate

4 weeks

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I feel very remiss, it’s hard to keep up with blogs! It does’t help that I have a number of blogs- personal, photography, cycling, charity and this one! Keeps me busy.

So baby is 4 weeks old today!

What is there to say?
Weight
He gets weighed on Thursday for the first time since he was 15 days old. Birth weight was 3.7kg (8lb 3oz), he only lost a very small amount and was back up to 3.5kg (8lb), and then by 15 days was up to 4.1kg (9lb). So it should be interesting! I think he is feeding well, he feels heavier each day and looks like he’s getting longer if not fatter!

Feeding
Baby has totally got the hang of breast feeding and is doing brilliantly. He hasn’t had any formula at all since….. week one(?) and he’s had one expressed bottle in the last couple of weeks when I needed to get some sleep and he wasn’t latching on well. I’m really pleased that we persevered through sleepless screaming sessions and got him feeding properly, makes me tear up with excitement to think about it!

Had our first proper public feed in a coffee shop very discreetly in town on Saturday and that felt great. I felt sorry for the poor teenage boy serving our drinks who didn’t know where to look, but I am very much of the opinion (or should I say “safe in the knowledge” that it’s an entirely normal and natural thing to be doing, and I have no embarassment around it.

Sleep
Sleep patterns are not discernable yet (no surprises). We have good and bad nights and good and bad days, which is no surprise at all to me. I have no urge to make him have a routine just let- I’m happy to let him be a baby.

On a good night he feeds about 10pm, 1am, 4am and 7:30am ish for about 15-40 minutes at a time. He doesn’t like to sleep in his moses basket straight away so he needs to be cuddled or lie on the bed next to me for a while before he’s ready to be put down to sleep. This means I get 4-5 hours sleep if I’m lucky in slots of 90 mins or so. This is ok! I can do that!

On a bad night- who knows?! We had a few colic (?) nights where he refused to sleep until about 4am, and then has had at least one other night where he woke at 1am and didn’t go back to sleep until 5:30 am with lots of crying and screaming inbetween.

Me
I’m doing ok. I really am. This surprises me a little but then I’d like to think that:
a) We came into this with realistic expectations about parenthood
and
b) I have a generally quite positive attitude which helps me through

It helps having a wonderful hands-on husband who helps me out, praises my (small) accomplishments and understands when I’m a bit craggy.

Us
I think we’re pretty ok too. The above helps. A lot. We are communicating well, even when tired and grumpy. We are taking our fair share where we can, and doing what we can when we can. We’re trying not to stretch ourselves too thin and to share things where possible.

Typical week
Although there’s little pattern or routine, now Mr Bumpy has gone back to work, there’s certain things I make sure I do. I always:
shower and get dressed (which is funny as I didn’t used to worry about this when I worked from home, had a day off or at weekends)
sort the kitchen out to some presentable standard sometime during the day
leave the house– just for fresh air. Any kind. Trip to the shops or whatever.
meet someone/ have a guest every week day. Anyone!

It’s definitely helping keep me sane!

Weekends are a little free-forming still- we are yet to organise those, but they’ve been ok!

He’s brilliant, even with the lows, the highs are just amazing. People forget to tell you that 🙂

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Breast feeding

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I am too tired to think of a snappy title! !

Baby D is now 9 days old!

Feeding had been a huge issue and I want to talk about it because not enough people do publicly. I was lucky in as much as no one had led me to believe that it was going to be easy. I appreciated that we would have to work at it. What I hadn’t appreciated was how hard we would both find it and the effects mentally.

My sole aim for feeding was exclusively breast feeding with potential to express if I needed to. From the very first day in hospital it was clear that baby D didn’t quite share that aim. He struggled to latch on and found attempts to put him to the breast very distressing. Numerous midwives tried to assist with positions and ideas to get him engaged with the process but he either fell asleep or fought me. Eventually I had to hand express and then by day 2 in hospital we were recommended a formula top up. Although this was entirely against my ideals, we worked with the hospital staff to look at ways of using the expressed feeds and top up feeds to encourage him to feed further from the breast.

By the morning of day three we had got it and he fed really well from me. I was elated and we were discharged that evening. Our discharge was a bit of a shambles which ended up with me in tears and a very grumpy midwife demanding to know what she hadn’t told me (having never done this before it was rather hard to know! ). During our discharge it became clear the midwife wasn’t sure of our ability to feed and forced me to give him a big formula feed. 

When we arrived home we had no idea what we were doing and tried to wake him up for feeds as he didn’t seem to be doing so himself, despite apparently having got it when we were at the hospital.

During the first week the midwives visited frequently and baby D was starting to cause then a bit of concern. The feeding process was getting complex and long, we were tired and he wasn’t waking up to tell us he was hungry. He was put on a three hourly feeding schedule which we had to rouse him for.  Each feed included skin to skin time, then attempts to breast feed, then warming expressed breast milk for the majorities of his feed and then making up and cooling formula for the top up if needed.  Then I’d spend an hour or so keeping him awake long enough to get the feed into him which was an exhausting procedure. Once that was over there was about enough time to sterilise all the equipment, grab a snack, express milk for the next feed before starting the cycle again.

The midwives advised us to visit specialist breast feeding clinics which are run frequently where we live. They were brilliant and gave great advice and encouragement. However, despite being told we were doing everything right, baby D was getting increasingly jaundiced.  In a way, being told you’re doing everything right is frustrating as it leaves no ideas to try out and no room for improvement.

On day 5 the midwife took some extra blood from his heel prick test for some jaundice blood tests. To give you an idea of how sleepy he was, he only cried out at the third time his heel was pierced but didn’t really wake up until he urinated in his own face during a nappy change.

The boys results were rushed through for our peace of mind and came back clear.The other good news was that his weightloss was minimal-just 200g in the first 5 days which was just over 5% of this birth weight. At ten percent is where they start to worry so he was easily under that threshold.

Great news. But baby still not feeding well. So days 4 to 9 we were setting the alarm for every three hours to wake him up for feeding. Over time we were able to cut out the formula top up as I was able to express more, so that was one less complication. He had good and bad days. All in all tiring and frustrating.

Add into the mix a cracked nipple (probably due to the wrong size flange on the breast pump) which baby D likes to grab during a feed…. but apparently the way through the milk blisters and cracks is to keep using it for feeds-and using it first. Latching on hurts but once he is seeks it is fine.

On day 9 (now yesterday), the midwife weighed him again and we were all surprised and pleased to find that he had put on a huge 250g so was back up to above his birth weight! Very unexpected!

As of last night we started baby led feeding (ie normal) )so letting him cry and wake himself when hungry. We set a just-in-case alarm too for 4 hours after his feed. During the day he had some gaps without a feed but over night he has done really well and throughout the day too.

Everyone says it gets better and you do belive them….. is just so exhausting and intense at the time that the small improvements are hard to see.

I’ve tried to be rational throughout and even in tears with a sleepy jaundice baby that refuses to feed I have known that I’m ok and we are ok 🙂

He is amazing, even if it took him a while to work out the feeding thing!

I guess it can all change again in a second though. ….

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Royal baby vs NHS baby

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I know, I know, I know…. sorry.

Firstly, this article about the chances of Kate Middleton having a natural birth made me feel very sad for her.

Secondly, many people have been saying how sorry they feel for her in this heat. Well- lets be honest, I doubt she’s going anywhere that isn’t air conditioned. And it’s not like she’s at work (like me). Or going to appointments in 28 degrees in cars with no air-con, or trains with no air-con.

I have a lot of sympathy for the poor girl who is under such scrutiny in her new life as a Royal. However, as she’s not working 40 hour weeks in non-air conditioned offices up to 37 weeks pregnant like most ladies I know, in the hottest summer for a few years…. I’m not sure we need to be caring too much about that!

(brought to you from a 30 degree office on the third floor with just a desk fan to keep me sane…..)

We had our NHS Antenatal class at the weekend which was really good. There were definitely some gaps- the course was relatively organic in as much as it was shaped by the objectives of the attendees. So we didn’t actually speak much about certain things including pain relief.

What I did enjoy was talking through the “perfect” labour, and then looking at the flipside- quite literally. We were given lots of laminated cards with different options on each side- i.e “casearian” and “no casearian”/ “hospital birth” and “home birth”. We had to choose our ideals from each option and lay the cards out.

We were then made to turn over the cards to look at the reality of what might happen, and talked through it to make it all sound and feel less scary. For me this was an interesting exercise as I feel like I am well prepared for things not going to my “plan”. I appreciate that getting the baby out safely is the primary concern, and although the route we take might not be my “ideal” route, it’s ok.

What I hadn’t considered was “birth partner not present”. Even seeing those words feels quite chilling even now. I hadn’t for one tiny moment considered that Mr Bumpy would not be present at the birth for any reason.

In reality it is pretty unlikely. Our hospital is not far from home or work, and there’s only two days I plan to be much further away from home without my husband, and he will be a 1hour train journey or 90 minute drive away. So unless baby comes in a serious hurry, there’s little chance he won’t be there.

Either way, I’m really glad that the possibility was brought to my attention now.

Frimley Park (where I hope to have my baby) is also a teaching hospital, so there’s lots of opportunity to have someone with you- often a student- on top of your midwife care. Having said that, it’s also a consultant-led ward (which I didn’t really know anything about) and so there’s more chance of intervention by a consultant rather than the more passive midwife care you’d get at a midwife led unit.

This means that one definitely stays at home until the “right time” to come into hospital.

I was also pretty astounded that the average rate for casearian sections is 25% of all births (and Frimley Park is pretty average). Looking around the 5 women at the class on Saturday that meant that statistically it could be any one of us (or more).

I really appreciated the breast feeding part of the session. I know some people find the NHS stance too anti-bottle feeding, but it fits in relatively well with my own personal feelings. I found the session to be very balanced- in as much as we were told that we would find out WHY breast feeding is so important, and then if we decided for any reason that we did not want to that was fine and we were to be vocal and firm about it.

I also learnt a lot, especially about a 1-14 days old baby’s tummy size and how amazing colostrum is and how little of it they actually need per feed. In addition we talked a lot about positioning and how to get baby to latch on well. It was quite reassuring and made me feel more confident about breastfeeding.

No pictures to entertain you with, but here’s a mental picture….. they demonstrated for us with a knitted breast and an elmo puppet! 🙂