I wish I had spent the same amount of time actually learning how to feed the baby that was going to come to live with us as I focused on drenching myself in whale music and listening to mantras of my uterus unfurling like a rose. Don’t get me wrong Hypnobirthing was a great way to remain calm during the 9 months of preparing for our new arrival, but in short I had no idea like none whatsoever of what the prospect would be of actually feeding our baby. Liiiiiiiike keeping it alive!
I had an emergency c section and my birth story I will spare for another chapter in Book of Mum ( a story best served after breakfast I feel).
Some people have webbed feet I am told. But I have inverted nipples. Yes! That’s right. I have inverted nipples and I thought I may never be able to breast feed due to this physicality, it was something my mother had troubles with so I got prepared. I bought a niplette to regularly try and pull them out ahead of the birth. On a side note I also was leant a never been used vagina stretcher that I used in the run up – Epino. I am sure there is a dedicated porno site for both of these contraptions being put to good use, even at the same time. I digress.
The first night I spent 8 hours trying to make Tabitha literally suck one drop of milk from my nipple-less boobs. A woman sat opposite woke up and her boobs flowed like waterfalls, I felt jealous of her bountiful milk, it was like something out of bounty advert.
Day one on planet earth and little Tabitha was hungry/ hangry, she had been fed some of my liquid gold ( no, not the popper variety) but colostrum through a syringe into her little mouth that had been carefully decanted via a teaspoon. A midwife advised that our baby needed feeding, the incessant screaming was giving it away. “Did we have any formula?” She asked. “What?! Formula ??! “”Did we have any?! Hell no – we were going to breast feed”. Breast is best they say.
I did have a suitcase full of “stuff” never used for labour including pictures of my favourite canals and a packet of Haribos but food for the actual baby – don’t be ridio. She found a bottle and fed Tabitha. Tabitha full and no doubt satisfied slept. At which point Pete aka Book of Dad runs out and buys a kilo of Aptamil and I feel deflated that I haven’t done what I was supposed to. Feed my baby with my breasts.
Day 2 – at home. We try and try and try and try to get her to latch to my boobs with much help from my newly qualified and very helpful midwife sister offering great suggestions on positions and ways of doing so. We use the niplette to get the norks and nips out and working. It is a military operation of plastic and suction and baby menoveures and it doesn’t really work. So next day I stumble across nipple shields – a plastic nipple for the baby to latch onto. I put it on and she uses it. Hooray! I am doing it and so is she but with the help of our flexible plastic friends.
I took to the internet to see peoples experience of using shields and also to learn about combined feeding. It is only a short term solution was the verdict I kept coming accross. A few folk had said that it sometimes could work long term and to just keep trying.
So here we are 7 months in, defying the odds. Combination feeding. Using a slow flow teat when bottle feeding so as she still wants to the booby and persevering with the nipple shield.
Don’t get me wrong – getting a nipple shield on whilst eating a pret baguette with a cover over you and a wrigging baby underneath has been tricky. They slip off, the fall on the floor, they get covered in dog hair, they get sterilized in tea cups whilst you are out. They occasionally get seen by people that are not supposed to see them. I think they think I am secretly wonder woman. That’s ok, I am. But you know what, they meant I could do what I wanted to do- which is simply breastfeed.
Every so often I whipped it off and then the other day just after she reached the ripe old age of 7 months she latches properly on and I shed a tear. In short, moral of my story is. Do what works for you. Defy the odds. Every baby and story is different. There needs to be more education about feeding in the run up to having a baby as much as actually giving birth.
#breastfeeding #combinedfeeding #lactation #nippleshields #boobs