Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Breastfeeding

Mikayla is now 13 (almost 14) months old. My goal before she was born was to breastfeed to at least a year old, and I DID IT!!! YAY! I am so very happy that I was able to breastfeed my daughter. I know a lot of women are unable to due to a lot of different reasons and that makes me even more grateful that I was able to.  

In the beginning though I wasn't sure If I would ever see this day, and came so close to giving up all together a few times. Looking back, before Mikayla was born, I guess I was naive in thinking that breastfeeding was as easy as putting a baby on a boob. I mean how hard could it be right? WRONG!! I figured out very quickly that breastfeeding is a learned skill for Mum and Bub and that it needs lots of practice.

Mikayla refused to latch. While in hospital after her birth I had so many different nurses coming in with their opinions and techniques trying to force my daughter onto my boob. It was so stressful and I hated hearing my baby scream as they pushed her little face at my boob. I ended up just going home with a nipple shield, which was the only way she would latch. I had plenty of milk. My boobs were the size of melons and they felt just as hard. I was in agony the first few days until my milk settled down. I was leaking constantly and could not go a minute without a bra and breast pads (actually I have only recently been able to go without the pads stuffed into my bra). My nipples hurt from the shield and I dreaded having to latch her. She was a  great feeder, but just refused to latch naturally. I was so stressed and upset that I was not able to feed my daughter properly. I had been told by the midwives that if she continued on the shield that my milk would more then likely dry up and she would become attached to the shield and never want my nipple. Feeding with the shield was also really messy and I would soak a towel at every feed. I spent a lot of time crying and feeling very down on myself. Breastfeeding was turning into a nightmare!

Luckily I did have a lot of support from my husband and Mum. They knew how much I wanted to breastfeed and didn't let me give up. When Mikayla was four weeks old I went to see a midwife at a baby clinic for her check up. A lactation consultant happened to be there at the time and the midwife asked her  if she could give me any advice. The consultant gave me a DVD on latching to watch and booked me in for an appointment the following week. I watched the DVD as soon as I got home and on the next feed tried to latch Mikayla without the shield. SHE LATCHED!!!! I was over the moon with excitement! I was feeding my daughter the way I dreamed of doing for weeks. It took another week of complete stress getting the knack of things. Once I stopped using the shield, my already large milk supply doubled, and I had a very fast let down. I almost drown my baby girl at every feed and I hated it. I found that the best way for Mikayla and I to feed was to have her lie on top of me so she had to pull the milk up rather then it pouring into her mouth uncontrollably. It was a lot easier and I only had to do this till she was a bit older and could handle the fast, and large amount of milk.

If only I knew then what I know now. Breastfeeding has become second nature and I am so happy I stuck it out. I love feeding my little girl and although she has already practically weaned herself, I know I am going to miss these special moments together. Mikayla started to lose interest in her day time feeds from around 10 months. She is now down to just her bedtime feed, although I don't think she will be giving that one up for quit some time, and that is ok with me.

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Tips on what I learned during breastfeeding -

- Practice makes perfect!
- Always use Lanolin (wool fat) before and after every feed.
- Stock up on breast pads and towels.
- You can only do your best! If it works it works, if it doesn't it doesn't.
- Try not to stress of tense (you back muscles will thank you for it)
- Every baby is different!
- If you are having difficulties, see a  lactation consultant.

Most importantly, remember, it does get better :)


LOVE



3 comments:

Rita said...

I'm so glad you stuck with it and it worked out for you and Mikayla. I tried to breast feed Dagan and it never worked out. I remember how rejected and dejected I felt. Found out a little later that it was because of his heart defects (we didn't know about at the time). He was just too weak to suckle. Later when he left the hospital he had to have these bottle nipples made with an X cut in them for maximum flow.
Happy for the both of you!! :):)

Serena Lewis said...

I'm so glad you were able to keep up with the breastfeeding, Michelle. Persistence paid off. It's truly one of the best experiences in the world.

Love,
Mum xo

T's Daily Treasures said...

I breastfed my first one until he was 14 months and then he went straight to a cup. With my second son, I stopped breastfeeding at 9 months and started giving him a Playtex bottle because we were travelling in the States and he loved that bottle so much he continued to suck on one until he was 3 years old. Yikes! I finally had to throw out all the bottles and cut the nipple off the last one to get him to stop. For years, all I heard was, "Why did you take my bottle away?" Ha! He was devastated but at 3, it was time! By the way, I'm stopping by from your mom's blog. Best wishes, Tammy