Fun Fact: My breasts have fed a baby for a total of 4 years, 5 months and 1 week now!!!
That's a heck of a lot of milk and many maaany hours!!
... And we ARE still going! ...
Breasts, boobs, knockers! Whatever you want to call them! Mine fed Jessica for 2 1/2 years and we stopped when I was around 13 weeks pregnant with Sophie. Sophie is now 23 months and we are still having 1 bedtime feed.
So what is the differences in both baby's journeys?
Well with Jessica it was a hard, hard journey for the first 4-6 weeks. The second night of her arrival she fed constantly all night long! I didn't get to have any sleep until 5am. I was then really annoyed that I got woke up at 6am by a doctor doing some rounds! ARGH! 1 hour's sleep all night!
This constant all night feeding was pretty much was president for the next month. She would cluster feed all evening. Maybe put in 20-30 mins nap around 9-10 and then from 10:30pm that would be it. Glued to my breasts all night long until gone 3-4am. I may then get an hour or 2 sleep and off we go again. After the first month/6 weeks she started putting in a 3-4 hour stint of sleep from around 3/4am. 4 hours sleep felt amazing!!!
The lack of sleep plus the constant feeding wasn't just it. By far the worst was the state of my poor nipples! Each time she came off they would be white on the ends from being clamped on. This is usually a sign of a bad latch but as far as I could (and numerous other midwives and the nasty health visitor who fancied looking at my on show breasts!) see the latch was bang on. I was feeling highly frustrated as it didn't make sense! I was reminded I could go to lanterns where they have a breastfeeding support group. I was also using Medela nipple shields by this point. As you can see here :-) (The thing kept flipping up lol!)
I collapsed on hubby in a blubbing knackered emotional wreck one night and I said I can't do this any more and we should just put her on formula like everyone else. The health visitor had been pushing this for some time saying after every breast feed to give her a bottle. She had horrific reflux and often it was just too much for her. And she would just throw the whole lot up over us, the sofa and floor. What a waste! So it was decided we would have one last try by visiting the babies breastfeeding group if that didn't work formula it was ...!
My experience of a breastfeeding group
Not sure what I thought I would see or get from this group. I am very much a introvert so I had to be mega desperate to go out and do this. (Having failed at the whole giving birth thing I was! Jess was C-Section for being breech) I'm not one for meeting new people so it was hard. However it was amazing to see a big group of ladies all sat in a circle with their babies. All sharing their experiences and agreeing on the challenge of feeding babies! The counsellors went round the group helping ladies one by one. I came in at a quiet time so they came straight to me. I might have been first or second in I can't remember now! It was picked up that Jessica had a tongue tie and that this would need cutting. It took 3 weeks for this to get done! I was told there was no appointments and that I would need to go 40 miles away to Salisbury hospital - I said no way. So a week later I had a call saying that there was one slot at Winchester and could I make it straight away. I said we could do in half hour so we upped everything and went! It turns out the consultant who did it was there for his last day before he stopped working for the summer holidays. We got lucky!
The change was immediate. My nipples were much better within 24 hours. I had been using Medela nipple shields before that due to the cracked nipples that were bleeding and the skin dangling off!
After this feeding began to settle down. Still frequent but a tad better. Feeds were taking around 40 minutes+ at a time! And she was feeding every 2 hours or so. Feeds are timed from the start of a feed so by the time she finished a feed she was 40 mins into the time before the next one.
Growth spurts were very obvious with Jess as she would feed constant - Often only giving me 20 mins between feeds. Enough time to run for a pee, get a drink and de-square my poor bum before being back in the nursing chair! I spent all night in that chair just "watching" tv in the first 7 weeks. I say watching as you are so exhausted your eyes go and you constantly fall over asleep. Looking back I can't believe I did it! Here are a couple of cute pics of breastfeeding poses! That little hand is adorable!
Breastfeeding in bed!
Like every new mother I was terrified of cot death. I read a book when pregnant about cosleeping and said to hubby I will never do that it's too dangerous! However once I had been to the breastfeeding group the lovely ladies told me the stats, explained how to do it safely etc and I tentatively had a try. It was one afternoon she had just gone to sleep so I carried her up and laid in the middle of the double bed. I piled pillows each side of me so that if she fell off me she wouldn't fall out the bed.I some how managed to forget the smothering risk but they weren't that close! I had her on my chest and I laid back. I was so terrified of something happening I set my alarm for every 5 mins to check on her. She was sleeping fine - I however didn't sleep! She then woke up 20 mins later so back to the nursing chair!
At 7 1/2 weeks I thought I would try the bed. So after a 5am feed I decided to venture up to bed - took her with me and put her between us so she wouldn't roll out. This was my big bad thing! As you aren't meant to have them between you both. I had my arm over her though. But it worked! She slept great - I slept great and hubby slept ok. His hips kept hurting though so he moved to a mattress on the floor next to us not long after! So that was it. If she woke for a feed I would sit up on a mountain of pillows and just feed her there. This continued until she was 8 months and then she went into a cosleeper cot next to ours that basically was just an extension of cosleeping with the side down.
FAST FORWARD 3 YEARS TO WHEN SOPHIE ARRIVED!
Not much to write on this one really! From start to finish it was all a dream in the early days! Sophie also had a tongue tie but I recognised this straight away. This was then cut when I came home from hospital less than a week after her arrival. Oddly I was only really sore on one nipple the other was uncomfortable but not agony. There was also no real blood shed this time. I have a picture of this but feel it would be TMI to put in. However as I am giving a real life account of what breastfeeding IS like I feel like I should?! However I think I will leave this up to you guys! Do you want to see the picture of my poor nipple for education purposes? Let me know in the comments below!
I worried about having a newborn and a toddler. However it was MUCH easier than what came from 3 months+! I had a traumatic birth - traumatic on my body more than my mind over all. I am still paying for it now ... So I was very weak and wasn't allowed out of bed for 2 days. I was in a room by myself as I had to be monitored due to my severe blood loss. So as I couldn't even reach to my side for a cup due to the agony of my muscles after giving birth I really couldn't do much in the way of baby care. I had to buzz a midwife to pick her up, change her, pass to me, put back etc. I was and still am very confident in my mothering abilities. I knew that breastfeeding laying down would be easy to I tucked us both in and we slept like that most of the night. She would wake every 3 hours roughly feed for 5-10 mins - 20 max and be done!
Again except for during growth spurts when it might drag out to 30/40 mins but no where near as bad as Jess did! The norm was over and done with in 5-10. I was warned I might not be able to breastfeed easily or "on time" due to the blood loss and it might take a lot longer for my milk to come in. However day 5 in it came. I had the familiar feeling I had first time round although not as bad. I felt off, a bit ill, fluey almost and hot. I had no idea what that was with Jess until I read about it somewhere!This time I had an extremely fast let down. The milk came in a flood and fast. Poor Sophie was choking lots and doing a lot of noisy gulpy feeding trying to keep up with it. It was like this for the first 6 months at least!Sophie was feeding at night every 2 hours for a long time. Easily up to 8 months. I then tried the gradual nipple withdrawl as she used to use it to go back to sleep. This then led her to sleep through at 9 months. I did the same with Jess although that was at 5 months. This time Sophie felt too young then and being my last baby I wanted to savour it all as long as I could! Due to this constant feeding it was hard to pull out any sleep regressions and it was all just one big mess of no real sleep.This is where cosleeping really comes into it's own though. I had fab sleep. She would wake I would roll us over - get a breast out and leave her to it and go straight back to sleep!
Here's some cuties of Sophie! ...........
So that's it! The biggest difference between the girls! Me up in the nursing chair until 4am with Jess (having not yet been to bed!!) V just getting a boob out and going straight back to sleep with Sophie! Poles apart!!
Hope you enjoyed reading about my breastfeeding journey. As you can see it started off really troubled but ended really well! They are different.So if you can't breastfeed first time round or give up like I almost did ... Then it doesn't mean you won't be able to breastfeed second time round! So that's it - Chin up and look to the sky! ~ 🌗 X