Thursday, 21 July 2011

The post I would like to write...

...and which, at some point, I definitely will be writing, will be the one called "my breastfeeding journey". It will document how flippin hard breastfeeding is, our initial early struggles with jaundice, the whole tongue tie saga, the ridiculousness of being trapped only able to do the rugby hold on one side (which, if you're not all over this, means you need a big stack of cushions and therefore really can't pull it off discreetly in starbucks), the traumas and self-doubt of evening cluster feeding, and then a line or two at the end that says "...but now, after nn weeks, we're still nursing and both loving it".
If you're a caring concerned reader of this blog, please can you send my way any positive vibes you have available to make that "nn" above be around, I don't know, 9-10 weeks? I am still gracelessly, wilfully, painfully determined that my perfect, gorgeous, thriving, worth-more-than-gold sausage is going to get the best food for him for at least six months, but I can't say I'm loving it yet: I'm loving the effects, and I'm loving the fact we're managing it, but the process? The process still hurts, still makes me question my adequacy and my resources and reserves, and I'm still working at going with the flow on how much it immobilises me, and I do wish it was easier.
(Of course, I'd been planning to write this post for a couple of days, and the reason that, exceptionally, I have time to do so this evening is that he had a really really good long feed oo, a couple of hours ago, and has been absolutely fast asleep ever since. So, hardly a long traumatic evening of cluster feeding, and what's more, the really good long feed, on both sides, didn't even hurt. One of the wisest pieces of advice I had from one of the squillion experts I've talked to on this, though, was to take it one feed at a time. She said it was a mistake to think "right, we've now cracked this" just as it was to think "this proves it's terrible", and that in fact it was likely to get better gradually. This and "never give up on a bad day" are keeping me going).
(Included in the "my breastfeeding journey" post will be discussions of two more books, 36 The womanly art of breastfeeding (La Leche League) and 37 Ina May's guide to breastfeeding. You can never accuse me of not reading up around a subject - I might even also tell you all about 38 Understanding your crying baby (Kitzinger) which is a laughable reading choice for mother of possibly the sunniest baby that's ever been made)



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  1. Well of course as ever positive vibes come from the sodden and unkind Midlands.....which quote of course only goes to show that poets know nothing, though you might find something cerebral like George Herbert a useful distancer.....

  2. Ebb and flow. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's a little bit easier. Sometimes you feed for 20 hours a day (yes, really), sometimes a 20 minute feed every 3 hours suffices (apparently, that never happened to me!). Sometimes it hurts like fuckery, sometimes it doesn't. And then sometimes, you realise that actually, it hasn't hurt for days, and you've slept for more than 2 hours at a stretch, and you've managed to have a shower and get your manky milk-soaked dressing gown into the washing machine for the first time in months.

    I had more problems than were reasonable, and without the benefit of hindsight and the ridiculous amount of learning I've done since, I had no choice other than to mix-feed. But even so, I managed to keep going until just over 6 months.

    Next time around, I'm quite sure that I'll happily still be feeding when #2 starts school. But the first go can be bloody hard. You can do it, I'm sure. You've got this far, and taking it one feed at a time is really the best way to do it.

    For me, the loving it started at around 3 months I think (sorry), when the mastitis and thrush finally stopped plaguing me, and life in general started getting a bit easier. Time speeds up then as well, the first three months seem to take forever and I think that makes it seem harder.

    Do take the time though, to enjoy as much as you can. It's so easy to get caught up in feeding problems when you'll barely remember them a few months down the line - make the most of every happy moment so that you remember the good bits too :D


  3. (sorry that turned into a bit of an essay!)

  4. I can't remember when, but there comes a time soon when they get really efficient. They latch on, suck and suck, and then are finished, and pop up for the much more interesting business of looking around at the world. It does come (like the end of sleep deprivation that I talked about on my blog).

    Would it help to think of the immobilisation as nature's way of making you sit still, so that your body can put its energies into making lovely milk? And making you spend time focusing on that tiny person, who won't be tiny for very long? Not to underestimate the frustrations (I've been there). As for the pain, gosh, I don't know what to suggest. Breathing exercises that you learnt for labour?

  5. Yeah it's definitely not all rainbows and unicorns but it does get better! My son became a pro around 3 months as well. Before that there was a lot of adjustments being made. I contacted a la leche league consultant to help me because breastfeeding was painful and it shouldn't be (was a latch issue for us)amogn some other issues and they helped me out considerably. I also read several breastfeeding books during pregnancy and still hiring a consultant is what helped me maintain sanity..just a thought.

  6. So many, many positive vibes to you! I don't think I was really able to enjoy breastfeeding pain-free until at least three months in, though it may have been more like four. It was really quite difficult and painful, but for what it's worth, it feels like a distant memory now that I have an almost seventeen month nursling. I hope your decision to take it a feed at a time helps carry you along to that point, and I hope it's closer than farther! xoxo

  7. You are doing great! It took me almost 4 months to figure out how to breastfeed with my first. It felt like she was ALWAYS on the boob. But my husband and my mother in law and the lactation consultant kept encouraging me. And then one day we just got it right! It didn't hurt anymore; she was actually being satisfied and nursing less often. It became amazing and empowering and she nursed even less often. I was getting 3 hour breaks during the day! I did rent a hospital grade pump around month three to help increase my supply I would use it right after nursing her every day time feeding.

    Just have faith that you are doing the best thing for you and your baby. Good luck mama!

    Oh by the way I nursed my sweet girl for 26 months and I avoided my previous bout with gestational diabetes with my second pregnancy thanks to that. And my son and I are 12 months & going strong :) You'll adore nursing your toddler it is great fun!