It really feels like a journey. You know I actually thought that breastfeeding will come a lot easier the second time around but it certainly was not the case.
It was actually harder this time. At least this is the way it felt.
With my first daughter, I got sore and bleeding but then I realised that the position was not good so when I change the way I was holding her everything was ok and I managed to breastfeed her up to 9 months.
With this last pregnancy it was a bit different....
It started well but my baby didn't seem to be able to open her mouth properly. One if the Midwifes actually said that she might have a partially tongue tie. Her mouth was so tiny she could barely take my nipple in her mouth. I was getting engorged quite fast and she will fall asleep very quickly as well at the breast.
But I insisted! I had the positioning right so I thought it will change with time.
But then not even a week after I left the hospital I had to return again because I developed a very bad infection - I had septicaemia :( I know horrible.
The first night back in hospital was spent away from my baby. I remember crying more for that reason rather than for the pain....
That night my mum had to feed the baby formula.
I did express with the help of a really nice midwife and a very big hospital expressing machine. Somehow that was not enough though as the next day, although my baby was with me now, my left boob got really red! Yes! Mastitis! Somehow I avoided having it the first time but this time because the infection was still in my body and I still had shivers, somehow it facilitated this, the development of the mastitis.
It was so painful! My poor mum was trying to advise me to try and express by hand but it was just so...painful! On top of everything else, the fever, the shivers and the annoying caterer and back pain it was the last thing I needed.
My hubby however, bless him, helped lots by massaging it trying to get the hard bit of the boob soft. He even bought me cabbage as its known to help when mastitis appears. And it did help.
I spent most of my second night in the hospital trying to feed my baby girl. She would get really frustrated on the problem boob as she couldn't quite latch. At least she was feeding ok from the right one.
That and the fact that the paediatric doctor spent almost an hour trying to fit a cannula in her veins must've been quite traumatic for my poor baby. It was for me!
By the 3rd day though the cabbage plus the cocktail of antibiotics start to help so my baby was latching easier and easier and eating a lot better.
My nipple was still very sensitive but that was the last thing that matter! I was happy my baby was feeding and that she was well.
I was also up and about without the annoying caterer in!
The forth night in hospital was hard from a different point of view....she couldn't stop breastfeeding. She will want to be at he boob non stop. I know after me trying to keep her latch on for the last two nights now I wanted her to stop being constantly on the boob. It was frustrating as I felt so tired but my baby needed to eat so I persisted,
Coming back home was a bless. I would spend most of my time breastfeeding though which make me feel very tired once again but at least I still had my mum and my hubby with me.
I spent Christmas morning breastfeeding for what it felt like forever.
When my mum had to go back to Romania and my hubby went back to work things got a bit harder as I had to look after my 3 year old as well as breastfeeding my baby.
My eldest got really frustrated at times though. The only thing that was making her happy was watching cartoon. I felt guilty but at times cartoons are a godsend,
Just after New Year though I finished the antibiotics that were given to me from the hospital. To my surprise as soon as I stopped the antibiotics the mastitis developed again! Now that was really hard! I had shivers once again!
The weather was horrible, and I was stuck in the house with two kids and a horrible mastitis. Pointless to say that I couldn't dare to take the bus by myself to my doctor!
Thankfully though my GP prescribed me antibiotics via a phone consultation. Like that hubby was able to pick the prescription and then the medication for me.
They should've give me this medication when I left the hospital apparently to help keeping the mastitis away as the antibiotics given to me in the hospital were not for mastitis specifically.
As well as the antibiotics I used a Tommee Tippee breastfeeding pump and sliced potatoes in the bra. That is a trick that I found on the Internet - it helps make the milk thin.
I was so happy when the mastitis went away this time too!
A couple of times my hubby gave formula to my baby girl though. It happened during the night mostly when I was so tired I couldn't even sit up to feed.
That was when she was going through growth spurs and was feeding every hour.
Fast forward to now...I think we finally crack it!
Baby Anastasia is feeding well right now and she sleeps well too. She is not yet on a routine so she feels on demand usually.
Although she eats very often during the day...mostly every 2-3 hours....she sleeps well during the night. She even had two nights when she slept the whole way through and she is only 11 weeks old.
The majority of the time though she wakes up only once - back on 2 am! The feed is not very long though...I think she just wakes up because she is thirsty. I find myself having to tickle her or do breast compress to make her take more.
However she is still very young so I don't mind her waking up.
I enjoy our night undisturbed cuddles.
I will keep breastfeeding as long as my baby needs and wants to go on for. Every now and then I might give her a bottle of breast milk or even formula but that doesn't make me a lesser mum. Spending time with my oldest is really important too.
So for a successful breastfeeding my tips will be:
- breastfeed as often as your baby needs as that will increase your milk supply;
- do not feel guilty if you will give your baby a bottle of formula every now and then - remember though that if you feed formula more than once a day you might develop mastitis or your milk supply will decrease;
- if your milk supply decreases it can always be increased again by feeding on demand;
- if your baby falls asleep while on breast it helps if you use breast compressions-it helps getting milk in your baby mouth and that will wake her up;
- burping is really important! if not burped properly your baby will be woken up by it as soon as you put your head on the pillow;
- try and relax- if you are relaxed your baby will relax too;
- a good latch is important as it keeps away the nipple sores-there is lots of advice around:breastfeeding groups,breastfeeding organisations like La Leche or even videos on you tube;
- before you sit to start breastfeeding get next to you everything you might need: a glass of water, a remote - to watch a programme or put cartoon for your demanding toddler, a snack in case you get hungry or your toddler requests food - I found cereal bars or grapes quite good, something to read if that is your thing - I always have my iPad or phone next to me, a Muslim square for burping, nappy and wipes for mid feeding change;
- be brave and you will succeed!
Now Good luck I'm off to breastfeed my baby!
Anything you found that helped you during breastfeeding will be good!