Friday, 29 June 2012

Mine & Dylan's Breastfeeding Journey

So I spoke yesterday about my unsuccessful breastfeeding experience with Oli. well today I thought I would post about the successful breastfeeding experience I had and have been having with Dylan. It didn't start off very successful, like I said yesterday - it didn't come naturally. We first tried him after having that skin to skin contact after he was born, we got settled on the sofa (we had a homebirth) and I offered him my boob but he didn't want to know. He was crying and just didn't stop, he was also bubbling at the mouth. I didn't talk about it in his birth story but did mention it in the first post I wrote about his infection, about how he was grunting and the midwives decided to send him to hospital.

We tried to get him to take to the boob not long after arriving hospital, I tried again after he got back from NICU. He just didn't want to know that day but I managed to get colostrum a couple of times out of my boob that for him and gave it to him via syringe. The first time, a nursery nurse came and helped me with it. She showed me how to hand express and how to squeeze to get this colostrum to come out. The second time I was able to do this whilst a midwife collected the colostrum in a syringe for us. This was sore and unconformable but I desperately wanted to breastfeed this time and was determined not to give up, every time he seemed hungry I offered him the boob.

Success came that night when it was just me and him, I offered him my boob and he latched on and sucked. I actually could of cried, instead I sent photos to the man and shared my excitement and how pleased I was. Though I had finally got him on this wasn't the end of our breastfeeding problems. I like the fact my notes read on the next time when a midwife came in to watch, she wrote that baby had latched well, and that rhythmic sucking and good positioning was observed. I think it took that nursery nurse and her nice way of approaching it all with me to give that support which built me to that moment.

The next day each time I fed Dylan my uterus was contracting and this was agony. I was on painkillers every 4 hours but there was times where even these wouldn't take the edge off this contracting pain, it was like being in labour again at some points as it was so painful. He was on the boob lots that night and this seemed to continue, he was constantly on it. Come Tuesday, my poor nipples were killing me - they were so cracked and so very sore. Dylan was feeding constantly, he wasn't off the boob and I still hadn't slept. I couldn't when Dylan just wanted to feed 24/7 and when every time he would sleep, I was disturbed by someone. Sleep for me was just not possible whilst in hospital.

I told the midwife I needed the man to stay, I needed his support that night. She had a chat with the head matron who came in all her officialness and said that he could stay with me but he wasn't to leave the room. It was so nice to not be alone that night, it made time not go as slow as it had previous nights. I wasn't clock watching which just makes things worse. Though there wasn't much the man could do as after all, Dylan wanted my boobs not his. I really did need some sleep and rest, between us both we decided to try some formula so that he could take over to give me that much needed rest. I was in hysterics with tears as I approached the midwives desk and tried to explain to the midwife what we had decided to do. She was lovely about it all and totally understood, she went and grabbed me a box of tissues and told me to go back to my room, have some cuddles with the man and that she'll be in with some. She also explained how she wanted to come and see me earlier on that night but the 'do not disturb' sign was still up so she stayed away as she knew I had the man there with me. I really cannot thank that midwife enough for how kind she was to me that night and how she made me feel that little bit less guilty. I really did want to do nothing but breastfeed but that night I really did need that help.

Thankfully I managed to get some sleep whilst Dylan took to having some formula off Daddy. The best thing was that next morning he happily came back to my boob again and that day the midwife bought in a pump for me to use where I managed to get a couple of ounces out, just in case we needed to give Dylan that. By this day my boobs had become like coconuts where my milk was coming in, the midwife talked to me about what to do when they become full other then feed. I was to use something warm like a flannel to pop out them, we had no flannel so she filled up a glove full of warm water and I massaged this over my boobs, that really did help soothe them. She said about hand expressing some milk out, I did this into a little cup which I then used to feed Dylan my milk.

I had a breastfeeding support councilor come in and go through the positions, check my latch and answer any questions. It was also around these days that a midwife mentioned that it looked like he had a tongue tie, I had noticed this myself. Nothing more was said about this and she didn't write it down anywhere. I bought it back up when midwife weighed Dylan and said he had lost more weight then they would of liked him too, I bought up the fact it look like he had a tongue tie and she said this is why he's probably feeding lots and not put on as much weight as they would of liked him too. Interestingly it was up to another breastfeeding consultant to come and have a look at it and see if having something done about it would make a difference. She said it could be of benefit for him to have it snipped and we were booked in that Friday, the day we were going home.

It was explained to us that it was a simple procedure that was done whilst he was awake and all it was going to take was a little snip under his tongue. I was still a little nervous though and couldn't stop thinking about how he would react to having this done to him. It really was a quick in and out though that surprised us, one little snip and it was all done. He didn't even cry, though was unsettled on the way back to our ward. Upon going back to our room and being offered the boob, he was perfectly ok. It didn't even effect his feeding straight after having his tongue tie cut. But what it did do was make breastfeeding so much easier, he opened his mouth so much more then before and even the man noticed a difference when it came to Dylan opening his mouth and sticking his tongue out. I noticed such a difference after that, I was able to say goodbye to sore nipples and hello to our breastfeeding journey.

The next day after finally leaving hospital I took to do my first public breastfeed, ok it may of been hidden away in a Marks & Spencers cafe and I may have been wearing my cover but I still couldn't help but do a tiny dance in my head. I didn't think I would be able to breastfeed after the struggle I had first time around, let alone sit and breastfeed my child for the whole world to see. Part of me wanted to whip the cover away, stand on the table and show the world that I was feeding my son. I didn't, I sat and lapped up the fact I was able to feed my son whilst using my spare hand to consume a cookie have a drink myself.

Things have been going great, I'm enjoying breastfeeding him more then I ever thought I would. It's bought us so much closer and really has allowed for some special me and him bonding time. I have so much more I want to say about breastfeeding and about my experience but I'll leave you with this post about our start in our breastfeeding journey.