Nursing Baby, Jules’ Story
To be honest, breastfeeding wasn’t something I’d really thought about. However, hearing about the many benefits of breastfeeding at NCT classes meant that I was certain I wanted to at least try it.
I wasn’t prepared for the reality of breastfeeding. No one had told me how painful it would be. The breastfeeding counsellor at NCT class had told us that babies were amazing and just ‘knew’ how to breastfeed. Well, I’m afraid my bruised and battered nipples begged to differ!
The first days post-caesarean are all a bit of a blur. I remember syringing off colostrum to feed the baby with, crying with pain when she tried to latch on and begging the midwives to let me try nipple shields, which they refused.
Once we went home, the midwife visited and announced that Little M had lost 8% of her birth weight, after watching me breastfeeding and telling me that I wasn’t putting enough of my boob into her mouth and needed to ‘shove it in’. Helpful! Unfortunately, this triggered a feeding plan. I was instructed to wake Little M every three hours to feed her.
Trying to feed a baby from the breast when you’re not confident with hold and latch and you’re worried their health is at risk if you don’t do it properly, pretty much did me in. Coupled with the fact that my milk came in the same day and my boobs were rock hard and trying to ‘shove them in’ Little M’s mouth was pretty much impossible.
After having a complete meltdown (thanks day 3-5 hormones) over Little M barely feeding from the breast, we tried cup feeding some expressed breast milk. This didn’t work well at all so we put the expressed breast milk in a free bottle we’d been given at a baby show and attempted to feed it to her. Little took the milk immediately and I can’t tell you how relieved I felt that she was feeding.
From then on, I couldn’t face putting Little M to the breast and started to exclusively express my breast milk and bottle-fed it to her. For the first four weeks, I expressed every three hours (in line with waking Little M to feed her), pumping for 30 minutes each time.
I then read that you could increase the amount of breast milk expressed by massaging your breasts while pumping. This meant I was able to express the same amount in ten minutes that had taken thirty before, although I upped my pumping time to twenty minutes after reading that this is the optimum time to pump for.
I use a Medela Freestyle double electric pump. I can’t imagine using anything else as it would take twice as long using a single pump and its time consuming enough when you’re exclusively expressing! I’ve been pumping for almost five weeks now, which I’m really proud about as initially my aim was to get to two weeks. Expressing has become part of my day, and Little M has surpassed her birth weight, feeds enthusiastically and is becoming a little chubster!