Tag Archives: National Breastfeeding Awareness

A tale of Two Boobs – pt 3

Failboobs to Awesomeboobs

Oscars first feed was, as expected, slightly uncertain.  Even though I knew what I was doing, he most definitely didn’t, being only 10-20 minutes old after a very quick labour.  The room was still very fresh with everything birth and I was having a medical management of my placenta while he took his first ever sips.

His latch took a few days to perfect which caused some trauma but nothing that we couldn’t sort out.  Knowing I had done it previously meant that other methods of feeding had not even crossed my mind.

Engorgement was nowhere near as horrific this time although his irregular sleeping pattern did mean I had to hand express off some liquid gold to ease my own discomfort.

I love breastfeeding now.  No need to sterilise or warm the milk.  I don’t have to worry about bad things in the water or formula, I don’t have to worry about how long I’m going to be out or whether I have enough milk.  When he’s hungry I feed him.  No waiting about.  Anti-bodies are contantly being passed to my boy, making him strong. He’s thriving very well, going from 7lbs 13oz at birth to 10lbs 9oz at 24 days old!

I had gone from rocky uncertain breastfeeding beginnings to being able to offer the ultimate comfort to my children.



A tale of Two Boobs – Pt 2

Bumpy Bumpy

One I fell pregnant, the girls GREW and I no longer fitted any of my bras or clothes.  I knew I wanted to breastfeed from the start.  I wanted the boobies to have a chance to prove themselves.  So a couple of hours after The Toddler was born, I had the opportunity to try it.

My boobs started to leak colostrum at about 34 weeks.  I remember being sat at OHs mothers house having a conversation at the dinner table and not realising that I should have been wearing breast pads.  It was a very obvious mark on my t-shirt which left booby had obviously delighted in embarrassing me with while everyone else tried to eat their dinner.

Most of you are that the first ever latch.. well, it HURTS.  Mainly through inexperience.  Babies are born knowing how to suck, but not latch, although the act of skin to skin contact and feeding is much more important than the latch in that first feed.  However, a newborns suck reflex is immense. The little buggers clamp on and hold on.  They also have really hard gums and don’t know not to shut their jaws.  So the first ever feed for me…ouchie.   It was also fairly delayed with the Toddler because of some complications in her labour.  I was moved to the ward after the labour and all its following events and told to feed her at 6am and then left to it.

Cue insecure mother mode.

6 am rolled round and I called a MW to help me get her latched on.  No one (including me) was aware that I had quite seriously hurt my tailbone during the pushing.  This would add to my discomfort over the following 8 weeks and would result in my basically being sofa-bound.  Anyway, we got her latched and fed and they put her in bed, then called breakfast. I was so tired and distressed that they ended up taking her in the office and said they would bring her back when she needed feeding.  This would allow me time to get some sleep.

While she was in the office, they did her hearing test and initial paediatric assessment, which raised a few concerns.  The most prominent of these being that she was jittery on handling which can be indicative of an underlying problem.  The jittery-ness turned out to be low blood sugar.  She was at 2.7.

This was the first hit to my breastfeeding confidence.  I had to get her blood tested every three hours  before feeding and after a feed, I was being encouraged to syringe her formula.  I had never wanted to give her ANY formula but I was being encouraged to do so as a remedy.  Turns out, she wasn’t very good at taking the formula and was much happier nursing so this idea was soon dropped.  O was determined to keep feeding her myself and her blood sugar crept up.  My nipples cracked and became very sore.  After two days in hospital, it was almost unbearable and I couldn’t tolerate anything on my boobs.  I began walking around our room (by this time there was another lady and baby in the room with me) with no top on, only covering up to go to the toilet.  I had gone from hating my boobs and never wanting anyone to see them EVER to showing them to just about anyone who cared to look and a few who accidentally got an eye full.

One the Monday, Breastfeeding Babes came to our room to promote their service.  I owe A LOT to these dedicated ladies. and would recommend them wholeheartedly

I wandered round to their room and sat while they talked to me about feeding and made the Toddler and I 100% comfy using stacks of pillows to prop us into the perfect feeding position,

It was one of the calmest feeds I’d had. Well, it would have been if I hadn’t overheard the heartbreaking story of one of the other women in the room.

She’d had a partial mastectomy but they had left enough tissue that she should have been able to feed.  Add to this that her baby had severe tongue-tie and wasn’t thriving and you have a mum who is desperate to do ANYTHING to feed her baby.  I felt rather out-of-place hearing her story.  The worst issues I’d had were cracked and bleeding nipples.

Feeding once I’d been discharged meant taking off any clothes on my top half and latching the baby on as best I could.  The damage to my tailbone had pretty much immobilised me and i spent most of my time on the sofa, top naked, propped up on 4 cushions.

Day 5 and welcome to engorgement.  I was being an idiot and despite having been prescribed painkillers i hadn’t taken them.  So when my poor boobs trebled in size and became rock solid, it hurt.  A lot.  I couldn’t latch the baby on and I was ready to give up. I cried.  I phoned my midwife and cried some more.  She ended up coming out to see me at 11pm to show me how to manually express so i could at least get baby on.  I thought i was failing at feeding my baby and that she was going to starve as a result of my failure.  Luckily, engorgement didn’t last for very long but I was about to hit another problem…

The Toddler had colic.  Quite severe colic.  We thought there may be something wrong with her as screamed a lot and ate.  It was suggested that my supply was poor, therefore my baby cried and fed more often than she should.  Being naive about supply and demand and just how much a newborn can and should nurse I began to doubt the booby ability again.  I had visions of her wasting away through starvation because I was determined to feed.  I was refered to the community nurses, but they confirmed it was unlikely I was having supply issues as The Toddler was gaining weight steadily and thriving.  I walked away with a diagnoses of post natal depression.

Then I had a burning white hot pain in my left nipple.  I dreaded feeding on my left side because the pain became excruciating.  Righty was fine and could have more than easily handled the load but the risk of blocked ducts and mastitis in lefty was more than i could tolerate.  A visit to the Drs revealed I had thrush in my nipple.  The Toddler also had it in her mouth which meant that every time she fed we were reinfecting each other.   My whole boob began to itch and throb between feeds. It almost ended my breastfeeding career.  I bought nipple shields but never used them.  I did, however find that pumping on the left side was a lot less painful than letting baby feed, so I worked in a routine of feeding and pumping.  I kept this up until we were both free of thrush and I was able to latch her on again.  OH would then feed her the expressed milk from a bottle.

Ay about 7 weeks, I began to feel like I was getting the hang of it and having passed the 6 week mark and what turned out to be the worst hurdle, my breastfeeding career began in earnest.  I got to a stage where I no longer needed to strip to be able to feed and exposing myself became a thing of the past. I fed at mother and baby groups (where breastfeeders were in the minority and I don’t think in the months I went there I ever saw anyone else open up a mummy milk-bar), I fed at pubs, at parties, in cafes, where ever she needed to be fed.  I don’t think I have any friends or family who haven’t seen my girls.

I did get fed up of being tied up at parties and stuck to the floor where ever I went with a baby attached to my chest and I did, on occasion, feel like I didn’t do anything other tha feeding.  Because of this, we began the weaning to solids process at Christmas.

Part of this process was the introduction of formula as I was due to return to work and wasn’t sure I would be able to pump enough to feed her when she went to the childminder, so we started a mixed feeding routine at about 5 months.

She was 7 months old when I returned to work and I wa still nursing morning, afternoon and evening.  I was also replacing bottles with nursing if I was available and nursing constantly if she was sick.  If she asked to nurse, she got it.  There was no point in restricting her.

The night of the last feed, I put her to my breast and began singing her night time songs.  She was 15 months old and I was around 4 months pregnant.  The pain was instant when she latched.  She suckled for a couple of minutes and then pulled away smiling.  She began singing with us and watching us, preferring this to the offered boob.  I decided to stop.

I was ambivalent about my decision.  Part of me was excited to be able to have my body back, although I will never be able to sexualise my boobs again.  The other part was saddened and as I watched my friend feed her newborn the month before Oscar was born, I felt a pang of jealousy and couldn’t wait to feel the small jaws chomping again.  Thus my decision to feed Oscar was made…

A tale of Two Boobs – pt 1

Tiny beginnings

This starts way way way before babies.  Way before OH even.  Or  way before I knew any boys…or at least before I KNEW any boys.

I was a sensitive child (read “cry baby loser”).  I’m not sure what  triggered this.  Maybe my dad leaving.  Maybe certain teachers encouraging competition through comparison.  I don’t know. Maybe the last statement was unfair.  It was the 80s.  Anyway, puberty hit in the early 90s and other girls were beginning to discover boys makeup and pushup bras.  I, on the other hand was being a flat-chested music geek with a HUGE crush on my music teacher.  My venture into makeup started and stopped with the mantra ” You can never have too much black eye liner”.  I became body conscious and self-conscious and this lead to a bout of clinical depression, diagnosed whilst I was at college.

Most of it was body image related.  I hated the way I looked.  The bit I hated more than anything else though, the bit that I believed made me ugly and disgusting and vile to the strange boy creatures was my lack of gigantic bazongas.  It didn’t help that the other things that were supposed to happen were also delayed somewhat.

I felt let down by mother nature.  I tried everything I could to make them bigger.  I stuffed my bra, I bought super dooper extra plunge padded cleavage givers…yet still..nothing from my AA cups.

By the time I was 22, I had mostly recovered from the depression (in as much as you can). I’d left my first boyfriend for the last time and I’d put on weight after a battle with an eating disorder caused by a desire to self-harm. Yes, I was that fucked up.  As OHs sister would say, I had a serious case of the mentals.

Boobies had paid the price.  They disappeared completely when I was at my worst.  The weight gain had given them a new lease of life…and I was looking good.  A cups suited me.

Failboobs not so much.  I started wearing tight tops to accent my pert girls and bagged myself a keeper (OH).

Then I fell pregnant…

Small children and breastfeeding

I’m not going to do a post about the benefits of breastfeeding for as long as possible.  There are many many many posts and many different opinions about this on the internet.  I’m going to talk about how you explain breastfeeding to other children.  Particularly children that don’t belong to you.

My first experience of this dilemma was when I was still feeding The Toddler.  My friend A had fed her daughter L for 6 weeks and then gone to a bottle.  L is 5 months older than The Toddler, so doesn’t remember the breastfeeding experience at all.  The Toddler was about 1 and I was at their house.  She started giving me feeding cues (pulling at my t-shirt and being very cuddly) so i sat o the floor, got out a boob, she expertly latched on and began to nurse.

L couldn’t get close enough, much to A’s embarrassment.  She wanted to see everything, up close and personal.  I’m not shy about feeding (now) and I don’t believe is hiding my breastfeeding like a bad habit.  If people are curious, I talk to them about it.  If they want to see, let them see (although I haven’t found many adults who are actually curious enough to want to watch the baby latch on and most just pretend I haven’t got my boob out at the dinner table/in the restaurant/at the party.)  A was trying to get her away from the feeding Toddler.  She was obviously intrigued and perhaps began to wonder why she couldn’t have a sample.

I had a similar experience today, although perhaps slightly more surprising.

I was at OHs sisters with Oscar. Some of The Cousins were there.  One Cousin in particular was very interested in the baby.  I have discovered this about young children – they have a innate fascination with babies and feel the need to poke and/or kiss them.  Well, this particular Cousin was no different and decided he wanted to share his dinner with Oscar.

Cousin: “Give the baby a chip?”

OHs BIL: “No, baby doesn’t eat chips”

Cousin: “Give the baby a bean?”

OHs BIL: “Baby is too little for beans. Baby only drinks milk.”

Cousin: “Where’s the milk?”

OHs BIL looks at OHs sister.

“Do you want to explain? It’s a whole different conversation…” He says.

“I think we’ll leave it for now.” She says and Cousin loses interest for long enough for the subject to  be swiftly changed away from my boobs.

This in itself isn’t particularly surprising.  Cousin is 3 and it’s likely that questions about babies and where they come from may have followed.  However, OH’s sister breastfed all four of her children.  She breastfed the 3yo Cousin until he was about 19 months and only stopped because she found out she was pregnant with Baby Cousin.  Baby Cousin was breastfed until he was about 6 months old, so 3yo cousin had been exposed to it.  The issue is how do you explain to a small child that it’s ok for a baby to do this and that the milk is especially tailored for that baby and that it’s not like cows’ milk and can’t be bottled up and served up to everyone?  I know that it is possible to make breast milk donations (I might even blog about my thoughts on this later) but the act of breastfeeding is such an intimate yet open one that it’s hard to explain why one child is allowed to suckle and another may not, especially at that delicate age.

Incidentally, The Toddler hasn’t tried to nurse at all.  I half expected her to try during her regression phase.  I’m not sure whether I would have let her feed, although during engorgement I was tempted as she would have cleared that no problem.  She doesn’t bat en eyelid when I’m currently feeding as she is for more interested in molly-coddling babies than trying to get at my boobies.

Why my housework isn’t being done



Breastfeeding awareness week – Today

Began today.

And in honour of this, I have done pretty much nothing but feed all day.  Not my choice; all demand.  The most annoying thing about this is that I’ve had to wash the same load of washing four times because I haven’t had a chance to get up and hang it. (It’s done now though!)

I think Oscar must be having another growth spurt.  He’s just woken up from a two hour nap.  *Looks at boobs* Here we go again girls!