Having some struggles with the latch with Alex just made me all the more determined to get it right this time around.
This time I knew what to expect, I knew the first weeks especially would be hard, but ultimately I was excited to to try again in hope of succeeding this time around.
After a quick last stage of labour I was very much in shock when Sam was passed under my legs for me to hold and place on my chest, I was a bit shaken and taken aback, and was a bit of a blur! I don't remember the first feed quite as much because of this I think. But after a wash I remember holding my little bundle of joy in the armchair of our birthing centre room, James dozing on the bed (yes you did read that right)! It was perfect, he seemed to latch on perfectly, I stroked his hands and stared in wonderment at how just an hour or so ago this little boy was inside of me, it was our little moment, just the two of us.
Again it was the night before my milk came in I struggled, I'd been up for hours, at about 3am I nudged James with tears rolling down my cheeks in exhaustion. James being James said don't worry, and popped down to the local walmart buying a pre sterilised bottle without hesitation (despite the temperature being in the minus'). Sam suckled and settled after a few ounces. He had a few of these in the first couple of weeks, but to my delight he seemed to prefer the breast.
We had the latch right or so I thought, it soon became apparent that on the left side we weren't. I searched furiously at videos and websites showing how to get the correct latch and also mentioned to the midwife (although didn't particularly find her too helpful). For some reason it still wasn't right despite me thinking I was doing nothing wrong in comparison to the content I had been viewing and reading.
After about a week I had bought a hand expresser, apart from one wrong first go which had be screaming in tears after seeing lots of blood instead of milk (after apparently squeezing too hard because I was so desperate for it to work and to help me) it was my saviour.
I continued to use the expresser on this side until the cracks and redness had eased, Sam fed on my right breast and at the same time I expressed my left. It didn't particularly look the perfect image, and some days I really felt much like a milking cow. The let down reflux made it much easier and quicker to fill a small bottle this way, I always found expressing when he wasn't feeding quite deflating with a measly couple of ounces if I was lucky.
I do remember travelling back from a family Christmas party on the motorway expressing in the car with a blanket half over me trying desperately not to cause a car accident at the sight of my boobs out (either from other drivers or James)! ;) In fact I did this a fair few times, as I was always quite self concious of breast feeding in front of some family and friends.
After about a month to 6 weeks I no longer needed to express, the latching problem seemed to solve itself, and Sam actually really went off any form of bottle feeding, which was somewhat bitter sweet but only because it was a welcome break for James to take over a feed if he were to have a bottle.
I enjoyed feeding Sam much more, and I felt more at ease than I ever did with Alex. I also found breastfeeding much more convenient than bottle feeding with Alex to think of too. I didn't have to wait to sterilise, or wait for water to cool etc, just whipped down my top and hey presto they were ready to go.
I even plucked up the courage to feed in public, although still very self concious about, and I could probably count on my hand how many times this was a big step for me, and so what if people judge or give a look of disapproval? I was feeding my baby the most natural way I could.
After a few months I wanted to try and get Sam onto at least one bottle a day as I was finding it quite draining, gradually this built up over the next few months. At 6 months he now has 3 bottles, but still feeds on me in the night if needed and at his morning feed. Really I think he is outgrowing it a bit as he is fussing and doesn't seem all that bothered-it is me this time not wanting to let go, sadly I think our breastfeeding journey is going to come to an end soon.
But this time I am pleased and proud, that I didn't give in at the first hurdle, that I didn't give into peer pressure,and that I had the support once more of James.
I really enjoy the moments I get to feed Sam, the way he twiddles my top and hair, strokes me and kneads me, and how gets excited once he knows he is going to be fed, those times will always be precious for me.
Perhaps me feeding him more throughout his journey so far has led him to be a Mummy's boy rather than Alex who is much more a Daddy's boy, could that be down to James feeding him lots in the early weeks? It does make me wonder.
|Snuggled on me after a night time feed|