Sunday, 29 January 2012
22:10 | Posted by Caz | Edit Post
The last time I wrote about my breastfeeding journey with Alexander I was in a pretty down place.
My confidence, once restored after a wobbly start was again crushed after a health visitor clinic. If you remember Alexander had had an excessivley sickly two weeks and often distressed after his feeds. As a result he hadn't gained much weight and dropped below one of the percentile lines on the graph. Instead of taking my list of concerns with an interest my health visitor appeared dismissive and just suggested that if he was being so sick I should be feeding him more to keep his weight up. Nevermind that my normally content baby was so often distressed. Thankfully my GP was far more interested and diagnosed a touch of reflux easily remedied with a few weeks of baby gaviscon; Alexander has been much better all round since.
But the damage was done in that clinic. I went away feeling I wasn't doing enough for my son. Cue the start of a major breastfeeding wobble.
There was a number of things going on. I'd already been feeling smothered by the whole breastfeeding thing. I wasn't sure if I really wanted to do it any more, I wasn't sure I was enjoying it enough; Alexander fed for up to and sometimes over an hour at a time, now I was worried that despite how long he fed that he wasn't getting enough. Guilt upon guilt. He had been having an expressed bottle every evening, but I was starting to struggle time and supply wise to get enough during the day. We were considering formula for that one feed, but the huge pressure surrounding breastfeeding had bit me on the bum and I was in turmoil.
So I wrote a blog on all my frustrations.
It didn't help my turmoil. Comments on my blog on added to my guilt.
I was told formula fed babies were at greater risk of cot-death, amongst other things. The days went by and I tormented myself more and more. How could I introduce formula now? My baby might die and it would be my fault. Of all the statistics to spout to a bereaved mother is it not a little insensitive to highlight this one? I fear his death every. single. day. I check he is breathing multiple times a day, the first thing I look at if I wake before him is the flashing green light on his breathing monitor to confirm he is still alive, a few times in a week I even convince myself he is dead and my rational self cannot fight the irrational... in my mini-meltdowns Jon is often sent to check on our son because I'm too scared to go in case he is actually dead.
The fear of my second child dying really really didn't need adding too.
So way to go anonymous commenter; an already emotionally vulnerable bereaved mother pushed ever closer to the edge.
We carried on as we were. Epic feeds, trying to express, feeling like I wasn't getting a break. I had a week or so where I started to dread every single feed; a few feeds I even found myself on the verge of panicking and clawing at pillows, counting to 10 and breathing deeply to get me through them. Things surrounding feeding were not great.
Just over a month ago I don't think I believed we would get to 3 months old with me still feeding him. I thought a falling weight gain would push us towards formula as well as my failing emotional state about it all. But here we are, a month later, still feeding and in a much better place about it.
Jon and I made decisions which was right for our family. So there has been a change but I am happy and enjoying feeding him now, it feels special again. I've taken that pressure off myself and taken away the elements of feeding Alexander I wasn't comfortable with.
Alexander is having around 6 feeds a day, one of these is a formula dreamfeed now.
Jon gives him this as he was when it was expressed breast milk. The change to formula was seamless, he was completely un-bothered that it wasn't my milk in the bottle and there has been absolutely no fuss about it. The relief and pressure taken off our day by not having to express now has been just what we needed. The initial guilt the first night he was given formula was enormous, but Jon took control and I've made my peace with it now. Regardless of what the militants might suggest I am not damaging my son with this decision. He is being fed; damaging would be starving him. My emotional health is important too; regardless of what some might say.
Another biggy; I no longer make myself feed in public. I feed him in the car where possible or designated baby feeding rooms or otherwise he has an expressed bottle. We manage a plan around his feeds and I'm happy with this; happier that the worry of having to get a boob out in a restaurant or park bench. There is no more working myself up and this solution really suits us. I'm still expressing most days if I can, and this expressed milk comes out and about with us.
His feeds are far quicker now; the hour has dropped to anything from 15 to 30 minutes on average. This has made a big difference too.
A month ago I didn't believe I'd still be feeding him now; but we found the solutions for us to carry on.
Now I can definitely see me feeding him up to and maybe beyond 6 months old - it doesn't feel such a huge challenge anymore. Six months old is so close now, we're already over half way there. I hope if I come up against another wobble that I have the confidence not to torment myself for so long again and just implement a change to make us all happy.
That is happy including me.
- After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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