Wednesday, 3 November 2010
There, I said it.
Phew, like admitting to being an alcoholic in terms of shame and guilt.
I have been pumping for between five and six hours everyday since the start of the summer. I have been distressed. I have tried (and tried) to get my smallest son back to the breast. I have failed.
Sebastian had his first birthday and I carried on pumping so he could have his Mummy Milk from a cup. I carried on until about a week ago when it was clear that he wasn't actually that bothered about it in a cup or any other way. Much as it hurt me and felt like I had failed in the most fundamental part of motherhood I knew it was the sensible thing to do.
And, you know what, no one died. The world didn't end. Nothing changed except that I became a happier Mummy and now have several more hours in the day for kisses and cuddles.!
It is the end of an era, I have spent all of the last decade either pregnant or breastfeeding, and alot of time doing both! But it's ok. I am ok. My babies are ok. They still love me best and we still have an amazing bond and our relationships continue to blossom and change as they grow.
I am now in the process of redefining myself. I am still Mummy and always will be (even when they are parents themselves) but am growing myself, my skills and goals.
I hope to share more with you very soon and be back with some less personal breastfeeding issues and information very soon.
Thanks to all of you for the support you have given me over these past few months.
Tuesday, 24 August 2010
He doesn't have thrush or any other source of discomfort or pain we can find so am putting it down to the bloody teeth again. Last time it was just four days. This time, everyday I feel a little further away from nursing him ever again.
The fact that he seems to want to nurse now and again makes me think this is not him self-weaning, as most babies do at some point, but there is a reason why he can't at the moment.
He's eleven months old so nutritionally he doesn't need the breastmilk*, he eats three meals a day with snacks inbetween, he eats a wide range of foods including meats, fish, dairy and vegetables.
But he is to be my last baby and I wanted this to go on a little longer, hoping for another year.
A bit of a sob to my peer-supporter supervisor on facebook over the weekend and by monday afternoon the infant feeding team had rallied round and managed to get a spare electric breast pump to my home. I had a good old double pump and for the first time in a week had the 'empty breast' feeling and was more comfortable than I had been for days. I am so grateful for working so closely with the infant feeding team as I fear had I gone down the 'contact your HV' route I'd have been fobbed off and advised to stop now. The pump will have to go back as soon as there is a mother physically unable to nurse her child but for now I'm plugging in a few times a day and stashing the white goodness in the fridge for when he wants it.
As I said, I didn't come for sympathy but just to share with other mothers who will understand my unhappiness. Simon is sympathetic but with Seb cruising round the furniture and scoffing avocado and toast for lunch and chilli and rice for tea he doesn't see why it's so important and maybe it's not really, am I just being selfish, is he ready to move on and I just can't let go?
I think there are many more tears to be shed in the coming weeks by both him and me through sheer frustration and sadness.
But while his prefered method of breastmilk delivery is this;
Then this will have to be my best friend;
* I do think that the WHO recommendation of two years is great (and have achieved it with two of my other children, the other self weaning slightly earlier) but I do wonder to myself whether it is the breastmilk that is of benefit or whether it's just that babies breastfed for longer never have artificial feeds? Something to think about.....
Friday, 20 August 2010
So we're in the car on the way home from work. Dad has popped into the shop, Heather is just waking and the boys are in the back. Heather decides she needs a quick nurse whilst we are waiting, she always wakes up grumpy and hates being in the car so it is the best way to cheer her up. Owen and Cain say they need a drink. Cain decides he wants milk, with a cheeky twinkle in his eye. Owen says he can't have milk because we have none in the car. And so the conversation continues:
Me - "where can we get milk from?"
Owen - "the shop"
Me - "which shop?"
Cain - "The food shop, in the fridge"
Me: "In the fridge?"
Cain - "yes in the fridge, in big jugs"
Me (glad the immediate demands for a drink are easing) - "So how does the milk get in the jug?"
Owen - "the shop lady put's it in"
Me - "but where does she get it from?"
Owen AND Cain together - "from her boobies!"
Now I'm all for promoting breastmilk, after all it's my job, but maybe that is taking things just a little too far........
Tickled me no end!
Thanks for letting me share Becks!
Saturday, 14 August 2010
And a quick thank you to everyone who has expressed concern and offered advice about my feeding issues with Seb. He's back on. Not like he used to be but enough for me to be happy and for him to be happy too. What more can a mother ask really? Thank you all. x
Thursday, 12 August 2010
Let's do it, lets feed our young!
A fabulous day at the farm with my babies looking out for lactating mother animlas and their young and cheeky young sneaking a quick snack ;)
*I know technically neither birds or bees actually do it but the song was in my head!
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
I have learned lots of things I didn't previously know about breastmilk and artificial forms of infant feeding during my training and I learned alot about WHO's international Code which dictates alot of guidelines for the marketing and use of 'infant formula'. It is against the Code to advertise artificial 'milk' for babies under six months, which is why we suddenly have 'follow-on' milk when for centuries cow's, goat's or sheep milk has been a good enough and suitable suppliment to our children's diets. The can advertise these 'follow-on' 'milks' and then when parents go along the aisle they will be confronted with rows and rows of other artificial 'milks', side ways advertising!
It seems that lots of companies either choose to ignore the Code or are unaware of it, I made a complaint in Asda earlier in the week as they have SMA cartons on offer at 3 for £1 and tins of powdered SMA at 2 for £7. This is against the Code and shouldn't be allowed, there were complaints made in our local Sainsbury's last year too when they offered 33% off the price of tinned powder as part of their baby week. And then it was brought to my attention that in the Argos catalogue there is a "feeding pillow", the picture in the catalogue shows a woman bottlefeeding a baby with the cushion on her lap. Against the Code! The online image just shows a woman and baby though?
It does concern me that we are bombarded by images of artificial feeding as the norm. I am doing alot of antenatal work and I love the enthusiasm I am greeted with and the comitment to babies not yet born to give them the very best nutrition. But I want to cry when I have spent time with a Mum before birth and after and only a week in she gives up and chooses a bottle, it makes me sad that she believes she is giving her baby the 'next best thing to breastmilk' because that's what the advertising tells her when really there is no such thing. A bit of an exageration but I do feel very strongly about the damage artificial 'milks' do to our children, it's like saying that CO2 is the next best thing to clean air?!
Friday, 23 July 2010
I am a bit scared.
My arthritic finger and thumb joints are complaining about all the hand expressing and making me more grumpy.
He is teething, he is in great discomfort and is biting everything. He has taken to biting at the breast. I say no, sit him at my feet and put my breast away. If he still shows interest then I will offer it to him again in a short while. I have done this with all my children, no shouting, smacking or biting (like I had been advised to do by other BF mums (scary)) and eventually they get the message that if they bite me they don't get any more.
He bit me several times during a feed on thursday afternoon, he was tired so I persevered so he would be soothed and drop off to sleep. It got beyond a joke so he was sat down and I put my breast away. That was the last time he went to the breast. He is turning his head and refusing. I'm not sure if it's because his mouth is so sore or because I upset him.
Last night he slept for barely three hours, he screamed, bit my shoulder, didn't want to cuddle up tight like he normally would and wouldn't nurse. We gave him paracetamol and teething powders to try and calm him, nothing worked, he cried and cried. I brought him downstairs and expressed into a cup. He had a whole beaker of EBM and then slept for a short while.
He had a beaker of EBM with his porridge this morning, he had some in a beaker after lunch. There is lots in the fridge as I am sore and very full, he is wanting to be held and is crying alot my production and let-down seem to have gone a little mad.
What if he doesn't go back to the breast?
There is no way he is having anything other than milk from his Mummy but I'm not sure my fingers or sanity can cope with hand expressing every few hours. I have a pump somewhere but have never been very successful with it. I had it so I could leave the girls when they were smaller for the odd evening. They rarely got left and wouldn't have milk from anything but me. It wasn't until my training when I learned how to coach another woman how to hand express that I really got to grips with it and made a success of doing it myself.
When all the children are snuggled in their beds tonight I'm going to strip us both off and wrap us up in bed and see if the good old skin-to-skin can encourage him to suckle again.
Any hints, tips or personal insights much appreciated.
Thursday, 15 July 2010
Sorry for the very small picture Nils, this does not reflect my admiration of you and your work.
We had five hours of feedback but the hour we spent being shown video and evidence of the benefits of Kangaroo Mother Care was one of the most touching. This man, his team and their forward thinking has saved the lives of so many babies. And the best bit; it isn't rocket science. If you keep babies with their mothers they are more likely to survive, seeemples!!
We also heard about the negative effect of prolonged crying for babies, which is what I always knew deep in my heart, and we had a brilliant presentation about Biological Nurturing. I'll be back with some more info and links soon.
Amazing stuff, amazing mothers and amazing babies!
Friday, 9 July 2010
I find this makes me quite angry, not least because of the belief that 'it didn't do me any harm' that annoys the shit out of me, I think people with this thinking fall into the same camp as 'I smoked 40 a day, didn't do me any harm' and 'he'll only eat chicken nuggets, I can't make him eat vegetables' All these beliefs are so bad for our long term health both personally and as a society and cost the NHS a fortune!!
But the assumption is that when you become a Mother you stop being a sexual being. And yes we probably make love to our partners far less than we did pre children because of time and space constraints but that doesn't mean we don't do it at all. Why can't Mothers be sexy?
I work with a peer supporter who is of the belief that her breasts are only there for her children, I accept her thinking but maybe don't fully understand. She is of the belief that no man (or woamn) has any claim to her body and that it belongs only to her children.
Yes, my breasts nourish my children both physically and spiritually but they are still a huge part of my sexual being. I have spent most of the last nine years breastfeeding my children but that doesn't mean they are not also a part of my sexual life. Or that they are only there for the child I am currently breastfeeding. I provide nutrition for Sebastian but I also provide comfort and warmth through my breasts to my other children. It's a comfy place to rest a fevered brow, a good place to rest upon when tired or hurt or sad. They really are the bosom of our family!
The 'creepy' thing reminds me of a woman I knew at playgroup who always thought I was a bit odd for breatsfeeding my girls beyond the first weeks of their lives but she was really shocked that I also breastfed Nathaniel and asked me was 'it not wierd because he was a boy?' I was so confused by this comment but she really only saw her breasts as a sexual part of her and the thought of someone with a penis sucking upon them made her squirm. Erm, no, it's not wierd, he was my child that I'd grown in my body and continued to grow through my body, it really made no difference what was in his nappy!
So to sum up
There, I said it I like my breasts in more ways than one, does that make me creepy?
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Friday, 18 June 2010
Here's the story of Rylee entering the world, and how it's possible to breastfeed even with traumatic delivery and how you will NEVER regret at least trying it. I hope it's useful, though longish.
In April of 2008, about two months before my due date, I was put on bed rest due to high blood pressure. I didn't have any other signs of pre-eclampsia, but the pressures were high enough to warrant the bed rest. At a few of my appointments they got high enough to necessitate a trip to the hospital where my husband and I would wait around for them to come down.
June 3rd was one of those days and we went to the hospital expecting to have another few boring hours. But once we were there my BP kept going higher and higher (160?/100+) and my labs were getting worse. My doctor told me "We're not going to let another sun set on this pregnancy." It was 3 1/2 weeks before my due date, but Rylee was still fine. They put in a gel to try to "ripen" the cervix overnight with plans for pitocin in the morning. I spent the entire day of June 4th on pitocin and magnesium sulphate. Mag makes you feel TERRIBLE. It slows your body down and makes you really logy. I was burning up although my room was at about 60 degrees. They had to keep drawing blood to monitor the pre-eclampsia but I only have two good places on my arm for that. One was pumping in the mag via IV and the other was "doiwnstream" from that IV and so unusable. After numerous failed attempts to draw blood other places I had a subclavical central line put in. This is a "valve" put into a direct cut into a vein, usually reserved for cancer patients and other desperately ill people. The bright side is it immediately cured my IV-phobia. :)
Evening rolled around and Rylee was not budging. She would have to come by C-section, and at this point that was fine with me. I started to have some panic while being prepped (being numb that far up your body can make you feel like you are suffocating) so had oxygen and a small amount of something to prevent a panic attack. I don't know quite what it was, but it made me a little less "high" than nitrous at the dentist's office. The surgery itself was routine but Rylee was a little distressed, probably due to the mag. She was whisked off to the NICU after I gave her one bewildered kiss.
I didn't see her again for over 48 hours.
She was 5 lbs 10oz and needed some IV nutrition and initially some help from a CPAP to breathe. Nothing too dramatic and most of it due to the magnesium sulfate. My blood pressure continued to be alarmingly high and the doctors wouldn't allow me to budge out of my bed for anything. I swelled up like a balloon and one night even diruesed 9 liters of fluid in a single hour. I was stuck in bed for just over two days after delivering.
During the first 24 hours no one came to talk to me about nursing or pumping. I really wanted to nurse Rylee, and in fact the decision to stay home with her was driven in large part by that desire, but was too sick to really make a fuss about anything. One of my nurses finally brought me a pump after she realized no one had been to see me. . I was able to actually pump about 1t of colostrum and I was so grateful for her help. After that a lactation consultant finally came and helped me get set up with pumping since there was no way to nurse Rylee directly. She was still on an IV and I was still confined to bed.
Even after I finally got to see her I still wasn't allowed to nurse so I started a regime of pumping 8x a day. I even set the alarm to get up in the night so I could pump every three hours. We brought the milk to her several times a day when I was still in the hospital and after I was discharged but she was still in the NICU for a few more days, seven in total.
It might be unfair for me to say this, but I learned quickly that the NICU is all about you pumping milk for babies (good) but not much interested in helping you learn how to nurse (bad). I was only allowed to try nursing once a day since they were still monitoring her input and output. I had the NICU lactation consultant sit with me ONE time and go over everything so fast that my head was spinning. I got help positioning her on the pillow and not much else. Rylee didn't latch, partly because she was early and wasn't quite ready for that. Or at least that is what they told me. The next time I came the consultant simply poked her head in and said "That looks right to me" and left, although Rylee wasn't nursing at all. We received no other help teaching her to latch prior to bringing her home.
Far from being encouraging, the staff of the NICU was downright snide to me on two occasions. The lactation consultant asked me "How many times a day are you pumping?" I answered "I'm trying to do it every three hours." and she said "Uh-huh. And how much are you ACTUALLY doing it?" I answered again "Eight times a day, just not always at precisely three hours." On another occasion, when we came to drop off milk, a nurse told me "You don't have to pump into separate bottles anymore. You can combine them all into one." I said "Up to what amount?" because at that point I was pumping 28-32 ounces and Rylee was only eating about 16. She replied "It doesn't matter. She's going to overeat you." Not only was this discouraging, it was totally untrue! I was pumping almost TWICE what Rylee was eating and she was not receiving any formula.
We brought her home and I continued pumping and bottle-feeding her breast milk 8x a day. I tried nursing a few times but was totally ill-equipped after my SINGLE appointment with the lactation consultant. I kept this up for about 3 weeks and it was horrible. My husband and I worked up a nighttime routine where he would feed her and I would pump so we could get at least some sleep. We had a small refrigerator in the bedroom which was a blessing and I would feed Rylee on what I pumped at night and immediately freeze what I pumped during the day. I got a little more help from a consultant during this time, but mostly with bras and new pump parts.
Finally, my sister (mother of five and labor/delivery RN) came and said "Little girl, you're losing your bottle." We had one tough day and one horrible night while Rylee learned to latch on. And then not another problem. It was such a relief to be able to feed her without all the fuss and equipment. I can't even describe how I felt that day.
Because she was early and making up her weight she nursed every two hours until she was 6 months old. She started gaining so much faster on the breast vs. bottled breast milk. I'm sure it was because sometimes she really wanted more but in the time it took to prepare a second bottle she lost interest. Now she could have whatever quantity she wanted and it was always just right. No fussing with bottles, or heating milk or anything.
I loved nursing and she did, too. In fact "nurse" was her first sign. My original goal was to nurse her for at least 12 months. I weaned her just after she turned 18 months with her early morning feeding being the last to go. She was waking up between 5:30-6:30 and nursing would persuade her to sleep another hour or so. I joked that I was willing to nurse her until age 12 if that was what it took to get her to sleep. :)
A horrible start but we stuck with it because I believed in the benefits of nursing. And once we really got going it was SO much more convenient than bottles. I will never regret the cost of establishing my milk supply in those first dreadful weeks and I know she's healthier because I was able to provide her with breast milk for so long. Not to mention the special bond we shared for those 18 months.
Lynn (auntninn). Who rambled on much longer than I intended.
Thank you again for sharing this with us.
Monday, 14 June 2010
Alot of the women I counsel have abandoned breastfeeding due to their emotional state following a difficult birth. Even those that have had relatively simple, straightforward deliveries that were different from what they had 'planned' find it difficult to be strong and to believe in their abilities as a mother.
I'd love to hear your birth stories and to share them here, it would be really interesting to see how we have laboured differently and how it shaped our breastfeeding relationship with that child, how it shaped us as mothers.
Email me your accounts, you can remain annoymous if you'd rather (just make sure I know in your email), let us know how old the child is now and whatever else you want to share.
I will share my stories too.
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
I think I will use this title again as there are some lovely Italian scientist who have proven something else that we have known for a while, I will be back!
Friday, 16 April 2010
We have many items that we use to help women better understand the points we are making when encouraging and supporting breastfeeding. Things they can see and feel.
These are my tiny tummy marbles;
The smallest marble is the capacity of a newborn's stomach and will hold around 5-7 mls.
The middle marble has a 22-27 mls capacity of a baby aged around 3-5 days.
The biggest marble is the size of a stomach belonging to a baby aged 10-12 days old and has a 60-85 mls capacity.
This shows a mother why her new born needs to feed so often, he has a very tiny tummy and needs to refill it as often as he needs to. It helps her understand why her colostrum (the 'first milk') is so thick and calorie rich. It helps a mother see that although her baby is growing his tummy is no bigger than his fist, even older babies need to eat when they are hungry, babies don't really understand time, they just know to survive they need their mother's milk when their tummy is empty.
I already knew that babies had tiny tums but what I didn't know is that the largest marble also represents the amount of formula a newborn baby would be fed at birth. 60mls or 2floz, sounds like a small amount but it is a huge amount when your stomach can only hold 5-7mls (an average teaspoon). People tend to believe that formula fed babies sleep better, they sleep for longer periods because their poor bellies are stuffed to bursting and they need to conserve their energy to digest the artificial milk in their system.
There is more nutritional value to the 5mls of colostrum a baby gets from his mother during his first feed than a first forumla feed of twelve times the volume. He also gets the skin contact he so needs to regulate his heartbeat, his temperature and lower his blood pressure after birth.
There are lots more advantages to breastmilk and the action of milking the breast. I could go on all night. I won't though but will be back with more soon, I just wanted to show you I haven't lost my marbles ;-)
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
Friday, 2 April 2010
Let's start with ambition. This came up during some of my peer support training. It appears I have already fulfilled my ambition. From being very small I wanted to be a Mummy. And here I am, I have a lovely husband, two beautiful daughters and two beautiful sons. I like to think I'm not too bad a Mummy either :-) This doesn't mean there is nothing else I want to do with my life but if I achieve nothing else I will be satisfied and whole.
I had many failed preganacies before I carried Elizabeth to term (well, 43 weeks the child was not for emerging) and she was the most amazing thing to ever have happened to me, at least until the others arrived. She was my world and I loved her more than anything else in it. I could never have thought about feeding Elizabeth anything else. She nursed until she had turned two when I stopped feeding her as Francesca was soon to arrive and I didn't want to tandem feed (not sure why).
Francesca too was breastfed but being a really rather good eater she self weaned from the breast at around 18 months prefering to rest her head on my breast and suck her thumb instead.
Nathaniel was somewhat of a suprise baby, he wasn't planned. Francesca and I were hit by a young driver going waaaaay to fast and had to be cut from the car. She broke her arm, I was black and blue all over, it's a miracle he survived inside me. He was meant to come and live with us! He self weaned during an illness just before his second birthday. He was unable to nurse through the snot and coughing so just lay across my tummy for about four days instead of feeding and then never asked for it again.
It was when Nathaniel was very young that I started on my peer support journey. As both my girls had gone to school the circle of stay-at-home-mum friend's had gone so I plunged myself into as many new playgroups as I could. I attended some breastfeeding support groups and was shocked by the militant attitudes I found there. If I had been a new mum I would have been scared away. The development of our children's centre was underway and I asked them if we could set up a group. I believe that every woman should breastfeed her baby, it's not something special (well, it is but here language lets me down) it's so ordinary and in making it a white, middle class, middle aged, militant activity it takes away the availablitly of help and support for all.
Then Sebastian arrived, eventually, another baby I made far too comfortable in my belly. He too is a boob man! He has just started to eat the fruits and vegetables that we do, it was a little sad for me, having four children we don't plan to have any more so this will be my last leg of my breastfeeding 'career'.
I have completed a peer support training course designed by La Leche League and a Breastfeeding Management cousre run by our PCT in accordance with the Baby Friendly Initiative. I have been amazed by what I have learned and will share some of that with you. It has been a real eye-opener, I can tell you!
Anyhoo, probably enough waffle for one day, hope it wasn't too rambling and made some sort of sense.
And finally, here they are;
My beautiful, clever, amazing, wonderful breastfed babies!
Thursday, 1 April 2010
WARNING: If you have an adverse reaction to breastfeeding and it's benefits being celebrated then maybe this blog is just not for you!