Our breastfeeding journey so far.
I had always wanted to breastfeed our babies. I come from a family where everyone “tried” breastfeeding, however, none were successful. Either their milk “didn’t have any nutrients” (?) or they just didn’t make milk. I was facing an audience who believed as most mothers do, that they knew more and “I should keep my options open incase I failed”.
I never bought a single bottle nor did I buy any formula. What i did do was go to breastfeeding courses and classes and joined many online support groups to keep myself encouraged and knowledgable. The whole pregnancy i would just keep saying “I can’t wait to breastfeed our baby”.
When Jude was born I just assumed they would place him on my chest and we would try to feed straight away. I kept asking them “do we try to feed now or what should we do?” .
3 hours after Jude being born we were transferred to the maternity ward of our private hospital and I was wheeled in. A midwife asked to see my nipples and said “you’ll need a shield love, you have flat nipples”. I felt so upset and scared at this point. I knew my nipples weren’t massive. I had seen pregnant ladies nipples and they were black and huge, mine were little and pink. I still just figured my nipples would grow. Apparently they hadn’t. The midwife then tried to show me how to get Jude to latch and for the life of him he couldn’t. He would for a second but then he would slip off. I have massive breasts by this stage – 16EE to be exact and probably bigger by this stage. All i ever wanted to do was breastfeed and this was how we were starting out. I was a little upset but knew that I would probably have to face many issues that i kind of swept under the rug so to speak. Jude eventually fed for a short time and it was magical. After he was done feeding Amy was giving him all the love and i was being shown how to hand express to collect the colostrum in a cup and save it in a syringe. I wasn’t very good at it but the nurses kind of just milked me and we popped a small stash in the fridge.
This continued for almost each feed. Amy would help me latch him but pinching my nipple to make it bigger, Jude would latch and then we would express. I was doing it, even if it was different from what I expected.
As with most newborns Jude fed quite frequently. The good thing was, Jude was wee’ing and poohing exactly as he should so we were doing something right. This really set my mind at ease as I knew that those two aspects were important and we were doing it. I recall my family came the next day and i was so scared that Jude would wake up and want to feed because it was taking an army at this stage to get him to latch but we were fine once he was. My breasts were sore, my nipples were traumatised and I was scared they would walk out and discuss how crap i was going at breastfeeding. I didn’t want to fail.
We continued on with everything and I recall my nipples being so cracked. During one of my sleeps I had this dream where I chopped off my nipples, I woke up and burst into tears to Amy because It was only a dream and my nipples were still there. I was DEVASTATED.
Each day got better and we were visited by a lactation consultant that showed us a few tricks as my breasts were so big. We attended a breastfeeding class with the same lactation consultant in the hospital and all the new mums were there. We all sat around, asked our questions and do you know what? Each and every new mother had the same exact same questions. We weren’t alone and we were doing it. This was obviously normal for the start of a breastfeeding journey. We continued to have Jude checked by the pediatrician and he was passing these checks every time. He had gained back all the weight he had lost and he was continuing to pass number ones and twos as he should so we were doing great. We were so proud of our chart that we had to track this on.
I had my placenta encapsulated and on day 2 the lady had brought it back to me, i took the recommended dose. By that afternoon i noticed my breasts were lumpy and hard and felt like the skin was so stretched it could have ripped. My milk had come in.YAY!! Again the midwives showed me how to hand express a little to make it easier for Jude to latch. I cannot recall a time when i would not squirt milk across the room or in Jude’s face after a feed. It was like my nipples were raining milk.
I felt amazing. I HAD MILK. Take that suckers!!!
On our third day we were asked if we wanted to go home early as we were doing so well. I was scared but was given the lactation consultants number and felt excited to head home with my little family. Off we went, off to continue to breastfeed in the comfort of our own home. My nipples were sore, my breasts were massive, sore and I was told they would all calm down in time but until then just keep doing what we were doing and call if we needed. We walked in, unpacked and smooched our little man in our own home. WE HAD DONE IT. Not even a few hours later my breasts were so sore i called the lactation consultant explaining how sore and uncomfortable i was, she suggested i express just enough to relieve the pressure. What an amazing feeling. 100ml expressed and I was feeling like i could get Jude to latch. Hallelujah!!
To be honest it wasn’t until about 6 to 8 weeks that I noticed my nipples stopped hurting. I could have a shower without dodgy the water from hitting my breasts, and i no longer needed our fancy soft towels to dry myself after the shower. We had a few bumps in the road. I tried the shield – it didn’t work. I tried different positions and we just worked and worked on it. It was hard and tiring, but i had done it.. WE HAD DONE IT!! We didn’t venture out of the house for the first 8 weeks (Other than seeing my MIL at her place). Breastfeeding was our main priority and i needed to learn how to feed our boy, so i spent most days completely naked from the waist up.
Fast forwarded to now, and 8 months exclusively breastfeeding I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. We have since found out Jude has an upper lip tie but we’re not sure if we will get it fixed or not just yet. We’re doing fine and I am so damn proud of us, all three of us. Amy has been our biggest supporter and even to this day will bag up my milk for the freezer stash. She will bring him to me for a feed and she will always be the first person to say something if anyone makes mention of our journey. We could have given up but we didn’t. We could have failed but we really just educated ourselves. I’ve been on Motillium and we’ve had elimination diets due to Hives (I’ll blog about that too) but all in all we stuck it out and I feel so freaking proud.
We have a ‘booboo'(name we gave my boobs, so that Jude understands and is easy for him to communicate) baby and he loves it. He will now hug me and slap my breasts when he is hungry. If I lean over him he will guide my breast to his mouth and do that cute rooting round thing all babies do. Amy does feed him breastmilk in a bottle when I have something to do or have a migraine etc. Jude does try to latch onto his Mummy even thou there is no milk there. I find it so cute. I just love what breastfeeding has done for us. I feel this sense of love when i look down and see him with one hand under his ‘booboo’ and one arm cradling it like it’s the best thing he has ever known. LIQUID GOLD!! I honestly adore that we as a family persisted and continued because now we see how much he loves it. How much Jude is comforted by his ‘booboo’ and how good i feel that my milk has grown this human. Last checks Jude was just under 9kgs and I am so very proud of that.
Next up I’ll let you all know about our co-sleeping, baby wearing and car travels. Boy, oh boy, does Jude hate the car! LOL!