Posted on

A Fussy Baby & Supply Worries – Jessica’s Story

Our closed Facebook group Breastfeeders in Australia, is where breastfeeders come together to share their stories and support each other.

After a recent bad day, Jessica Smale shared her words of wisdom with the group. She’s kindly given us permission to share her story and photo here too.

‘So I am doing this post because despite how I felt, I know some of you beautiful mums have been in the same (or similar) boat yourselves and we all have to stick together in this amazing, but challenging journey. Bear with me, it’s long!

My son is 5 weeks old and is breastfed. For the past 6 days or so he has been really fussy when it comes to feeding and I have no idea why. We have gone through his first “leap”, so it shouldn’t be that. He ALWAYS fusses on the right breast, which has always been an issue, as my nipple won’t always stay erect for him. My brother jokingly believes that my right breast must have vanilla milk and my left one chocolate milk, hence the preference!!

Well on Sunday I broke. The first time since having my little man, I felt like a real failure. He wouldn’t feed off my right breast, which was very full and tender by this point. No matter what I tried, he just screamed. To the point he was holding his breath. My god, that is awful!

So I fed from the left and knew that yet again, I would have to express my right side to avoid mastitis and just general discomfort, which I did. That was until I realised the breast pump had stopped working properly. Yeah, that added some fuel to the fire!

My little man was still fussing on the left side, but not as badly, which gave me some comfort.

When it came to nappy change my heart sank – his wee was quite yellow instead of the usual clear and the poo we found wasn’t his usual explosive yellow, but these sticky flakes that were more glue-like than poo-like. So straight away my mind went into that dark little corner where all your doubt lives, to tell me Toby wasn’t getting enough from me because he was dehydrated and not pooing normally. That same doubt told me that if things don’t improve I might have to do formula just so he doesn’t starve. Overall, I felt like a real failure as a mother and a woman.

So I gave myself a moment. Hubby took little man away and let me just cry. He told me I am doing an amazing job, because Toby is looking great. That I am not a failure, I am amazing. That he loves me and will help me get past this. This all came from a man who has never dealth with a breastfeeding partner (he has a child from a previous relationship) and once made a comment about giving up early on when we were very sleep deprived and going through a bad night. Thank god his views have now changed!

Anyway, I didn’t believe him. Not straight away. It wasn’t until later that afternoon – a few hours after my meltdown – that I believed it. The reason why? Because Toby decided it was time for some vanilla milk and had a massive feed. WITHOUT TOO MUCH FUSS! I felt like Christmas had come.

The rest of our night consisted of happier feeds on both sides, more normal nappies and a full baby, who for the first time EVER slept for nealy 6 straight hours overnight and most of yesterday too.

So I have learnt a couple valuable lessons in all of this. 1) my son is clearly going through a growth spurt – hence the fussiness & massive sleeps. None of which are my fault or reflect on me as a mother and 2) there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is impossible to see, like mine was. I just have to do whatever is best for me and bubs. So if that means expressing my right breast milk and chucking it into the freezer, then so be it.

Yesterday Toby spent most of the day sleeping and only fed about 6 times, but I know this is ok for him, otherwise he would have told me.

If any other beautiful mum has a day / week / month like I’ve had, please feel free to reach out, because you are never alone!’

If you have concerns about your milk supply, you should get in touch with your trusted health practitioner, or better still, get in touch with the Australian Breastfeeding Association on 1800 686 268

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

How Do You Know When You Should Stop Breastfeeding?

For me, I wanted to finish lots of times, but I felt it was my duty to breastfeed as long as I could. Not everyone feels that way, and that’s ok. This is just my story.

I didn’t feel like I could stop breastfeeding any more than I could suddenly decide to stop changing nappies or giving hugs. These things are all a part of parenting for me.

When I wanted to quit I just accepted I was having a hard day, but kept going and found things changed for me soon enough. I got through my bad days and made it to the good days again.

When my son was about 2.5yrs old, I was pregnant and really hating breastfeeding. I was suffering aversions and nipple pain, and hormonal aversions that we’re making me think bad things, so I night weaned him.

Night weaning gave me enough space (and sleep) to enjoy breastfeeding again. I also felt gratitude to my son for giving me that space and this appreciation made it easier for me to feel positive about what was left of our breastfeeding journey together.

Then when my second daughter was born, I needed to put more boundaries in place for my son. These boundaries were steps towards weaning, but to me, I was preserving the breastfeeds we had left. I wanted to approach them with love, not dread.

At the end of the day, everyone will share their personal stories, but I hold the World Health Organisation’s recommendations to breastfeed til at least 2 in very high regard.

Ultimately my son stopped breastfeeding when he was 5.5 years old, and my daughter (who will be 3 in a month is going strong with no end in sight.

But at the end of the day, you know your own story better than anyone else. It’s not up to anyone to give you permission to stop – to be ok with your decision, you need to give YOURSELF permission to stop. I’ll support you whether you decide today is the day, tomorrow, next week or next year. But you need to be the one who makes the decision.

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

Breastmilk Turns Pink After Lots of Beetroot!

Breastmilk turns pink after beetroot!

Did you ever eat a lot of beetroot while breastfeeding?  Did you notice anything unusual about your breastmilk afterwards?

“Sooooo I ate A LOT of beetroot today and this was the end result…

Safe to say I nearly had a heart attack until I realised.”

Eating lots of beetroot can turn your breastmilk pink!

A mama (who has asked to not be named publicly) in Breastfeeders in Australia (our closed breastfeeding support group on Facebook) posted yesterday. During the course of the day, she’d drank a juice containing fresh beetroot, eaten a salad sandwich with beetroot, then continued her beetroot binge by finishing the rest of the tin of beetroot.

Her 16mo started acting unusually, pulling at her mama’s nipple and saying “more, more!”.  The stimulation caused some breastmilk to spray out.  Imagine mama’s shoc k when her milk was such a bright colour!  She began expressing to see if her milk continued flowing pinkand it did!  Then she remembered all the what she’d been eating and drinking!

How did members react?

After some encouragement from members, the mama tasted her breastmilk and said that while she wasn’t really familiar with the normal taste, it did taste very very sweet.

Some members were concerned the milk may have been coloured due to blood – a blockage or other damage to the mama’s breast. Mama was quick to confirm that it was not only her breastmilk that was pink, but also hers and her daughter’s urine!

Is it still safe for the baby to drink?

There was some concern expressed about whether this breastmilk would be safe for mama’s baby to consume.  The Australian Breastfeeding Association have this to say on their website:

“The colour of breastmilk varies. Colostrum is typically yellowish and mature breastmilk is typically bluish-white. However, there is a wide range of normal when it comes to the colour of breastmilk. Most mothers are unaware of the colour of their breastmilk, unless they express.”

They go on to explain that foods like beetroot, carrots, squash, pumpkin, leafy greens and seaweed and other foods with concentrated colour are known to affect the colour of breastmilk.

There are currently several members standing by for a report on the colour of stools.  We aren’t expecting any photos of that though!

Have you ever expressed unusually coloured breastmilk?

 

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

Hello New Mum – A Letter From Lyndsey

Lyndsey Wray is a "not so new mum"

Recently in our closed breastfeeding support group on Facebook, mum Lyndsey Wray posted an open called “Hello New Mum”.  Lyndsey’s words generated a lot of interest within the group, where there are many new mums, and she kindly gave us permission to reshare it here on our website.  Lyndsey is a high school teacher, and describes herself as a “Not so new mum”.

Hello new mum

Hello new mum.

I picture you right now with your 1 week old in your arms. You’re exhausted, you’re vulnerable, you’re emotional. You’re trying so hard to breastfeed, but it’s a battle – you read all the books, joined all the groups. You wanted to try and see how long you could feed your baby for. But, it’s 10.30pm, your husband is fast asleep snoring on the couch and your baby is unsettled, squirmy and you see that little head turn toward your swollen, poker hot nipples and your heart drops a little in fear. I hear your thoughts… ‘I just fed you!’, ‘how are you hungry again’, ‘not another night of 40 minute feeds per breast every 2 hours! ‘I want to stab my husband in the larynx for sleeping right now’.

You grit your teeth, and try to remember the positions the nurse showed you in the hospital. You coax baby’s mouth open and quickly help her latch. Too quickly? She’s probably swallowed half a litre of air and you’ll be paying for that during burp time. Is the latch right? The nurse said it shouldn’t hurt but the pain makes your eyes water. You spend the night up and down, feeding, burping changing nappies and onesies till the sun comes up. Your well rested husband, feeling helpless suggests one feed with a bottle of formula, you burst with tears at the thought whilst holding back the urge of scratching his eyes out.

The weeks drift by. Some days are good, some not so much. Your wracked with self doubt – is baby getting enough? My boobs feel soft – I’m drying up! Should I make lactation cookies? WTF is fenugreek? The weekly baby weigh ins at the clinic gives you anxiety as you pray Bub put on enough weight this time. You see other mums feeding their babies so easily with bottles that your so tempted but immediately feel so guilty at the thought of stopping breastfeeding you almost cry.

The months drift by. Your support network isn’t so supportive after all. Mothers, MIL’s, strangers give you their advice. ‘Why isn’t that baby on a bottle, I want to have her overnights soon’, ‘you’re spoiling her for everyone else’, ‘she’s so tiny compared to bottle fed babies’.

Through your many hurdles, you still persist. You persist so well that now when you want a night out with the girls, you can’t leave as baby refuses all 13 types of bottles you have purchased specifically for the lead up to your big night out! Oh the irony.

Sorry this is long winded Mum. I just want you to know you’re not alone. Your questions aren’t silly, you’re doing a fantastic job and one day those long nights and sore nipples will be a distant memory.

I’m a veteran breast feeder now. My 1.5 year old is still what we affectionately call ‘a titty girl’. She makes up her own positions now (mostly vertical ones where my nipple is stretched into a bizarre shape) and the only time I have sore nipples is during a teething frenzy. Some nights she sleeps through, others I feed her 5 times a night. That’s our norm, there is none.

So new Mum, from a not so new mum. Regardless of how long or short your breastfeeding journey is, please remember this overwhelming time in yours and your baby’s lives is just a drop in the ocean of what lies ahead. Do what you need to do to get through the hour/ day/ week and please be kind to yourself. You are doing the most important job in the world – being someone’s mum.”

To see posts and discussions like this one, please join our closed breastfeeding support group on Facebook – Breastfeeders in Australia

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

Breastfeeding After Gastroschisis – Member Story

Renée Barendregt and her baby Harry, who was born with gastroschisis

Our closed breastfeeding support group is full of amazing parents who use their own personal experiences to support and inspire others.  Some of these parents are facing challenges that seem impossibly difficult.  Renée Barendregt is one mum with a story to share about breastfeeding her baby Harry, who was born with a birth defect called Gastroschisis.

Renée‘s Story

Harry was diagnosed with Gastroschisis when he was in the womb at only 12 weeks. Gastroschisis is when the bowel is protruding out of a hole on the stomach that is meant to close over around 10 weeks. Depending on the size of the hole, more than just the bowel can be growing on the outside.

As you can imagine this was a huge and heart breaking shock for my partner and I.  We learned that our baby boy would be taken into surgery as soon as he was born.Before I even conceived, breastfeeding was extremely important to me. I believe it is a true blessing to nourish our children in such a natural, beautiful way. But I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to begin with. I knew it would be challenging, especially after learning that he would not feed for possibly the first 2 weeks.

Harry was born by emergency Cesarean at 34 weeks and 5 days weighing 2kgs. Although we were nervous, we had the whole pregnancy to somewhat ‘prepare’ ourselves. Harry was taken from us straight away. All I was able to do before he left was touch him with my finger. There were doctors surrounding him, helping him breathe. At this point I was sad. I didn’t get skin to skin contact and couldn’t breastfeed him straight away.

He Couldn’t Have Any Milk At All

For the first 3 weeks of Harry’s life, he was not able to have any milk. He did not have one single drop of milk for the first few weeks of his life, because his bowel was not working properly yet. Yes, you’re right, he would have been starving. And for me as a mother this was heart breaking. I had my alarm set 24 hours a day and pumped every 3 hours. It was hard and confusing because I couldn’t be with him over night. Every part of me was yearning for him.

I would take my breast milk into hospital each morning and by the time he could actually have any, there was bucket loads.

Feeding Harry

I couldn’t directly breastfeed him straight away, he was fed through a tube in his nose. The doctors had to monitor exactly how much was going in to determine that his bowel was working properly. He started with a tiny 2ml every 3 hours until his bowel “woke up” and was able to tolerate more.

Renée Barendregt and her baby Harry, who was born with gastroschisis
Renée Barendregt and her baby Harry, who was born with gastroschisis

It got to about 3 and a half weeks and they said I could try and breast feed. Although I had to drain my boobs first they explained he still would get a small amount! I was so excited the moment finally came. He fed wonderfully.

As a mother, I cant help but feel guilt over those weeks. I wasn’t able to respond to my baby when he was hungry or scared or be there next to him 24/7. But I gave him as much comfort as I could in the situation that faced us. The nurses fell in love with Harry, they always said he was so good and never complained, even when he was hungry those first few weeks.

Our breastfeeding journey was a little up and down when Harry got home from hospital, but we have stuck at it and are still going. Harry is now nearly 10 months old, and is as healthy as any other ‘normal’ 10 month old. At this stage there will be no further issues with Harry’s tummy.

I would love to meet more mums and hear more stories. Follow our journey on Instagram www.instagram.com/hello.harry_

Renée x”

Thanks so much Renee, for sharing your story with us.  Renee would love to meet more mums and hear more stories.  She would love for you to follow her on Instagram here.

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

PNDA Awareness Week – The Lady Across The Street (Poem)

As it’s Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Week, it feels like the right time to share a poem I wrote a while ago, about a lady who lives across the street from me.

She was always fairly reclusive and kept to herself, but when she brought a new baby home, I was really worried that she might be struggling. I’ll admit I was that crazy neighbour staring through my blinds multiple times a day. She didn’t leave the house and didn’t seem to have any visitors. Her baby screamed a lot, at all hours of the day.

Then I noticed she’d start leaving the house while the baby was screaming. Not crying, but really really screaming her head off. She’d stand in her front yard, while I could hear her baby screaming and choking. I wasn’t sure if she was stepping out for a breather when the crying got overwhelming, or if she was trying to implement some sleep training at a very young age. The most worrying thing for me, and now also my husband too, was the disconnected look on her face when she was standing out the front, watering her garden, while her distressed baby screamed and gagged alone inside.

When I posted on Facebook, asking friends what they would do in my situation, the overwhelming majority was to mind my own business and to not judge. I was really disappointed that my friends thought I was judging this lady, because I wasn’t – I was worried about her, and I don’t think that’s the same.

In the end, I actually did go over to her house with a cooked meal for her one afternoon, and I told her that it sounded like she could use a break from cooking that night. She looked embarrassed, and although she accepted my meal, she didn’t talk to me, and she shut the door quickly. A few days later, I came home to the plate on my doorstep with a thank you note, but now whenever I see her, she avoids me. It hurts my heart to know that I might have made her feel ashamed, I just wanted to check in on her.

Anyway, I don’t know what the moral to this story is? It feels wrong to me to ignore what feels like warning signs that someone might be struggling. Even though I’m devastated to feel like I embarrassed this lady, I still maintain that I am glad I let her know I cared enough to try and do something nice for her, and hopefully she felt a little less alone that day.

I guess the happy ending of sorts though, is that about a week after I took that meal over, I noticed she was getting more visits. It looked like perhaps a community nurse started visiting once or twice a week, and an elderly man (perhaps a grandfather) started visiting often, and he’d walk the little girl up and down the street. I remember feeling teary when I noticed the way he always held her in his arms, never put her in a pram, always kissed her and talked to her while he walked with her.

So after often thinking about this lady, her family and whether I was out of line by going over, or whether that might have got the ball rolling on somehow getting this lady some help, eventually I wrote this poem to vent some of my frustration about the whole situation. Most of it is accurate about the situation, but I’m happy that the actual lady across the street appears to have had a happier ending than the one in the poem.

“The Lady Across The street

There’s a lady who lives across the street
She’s lived there quite a while
She doesn’t look like a happy person
I’ve never seen her smile

There’s a lady who lives across the street
I see her puffing at her gate
She struggles to walk up her steep driveway
She’s really quite overweight

There’s a lady who lives across the street
I tried to say hello
Not wanting a friend, she turned away
What could I do but go?

There’s a lady who lives across the street
She leaves her baby screaming
She stands in her front yard watering her plants
Vacantly staring, daydreaming

There’s a lady who lives across the street
Her hair is always messed
She collects her mail just in her robe
Why doesn’t she get dressed?

There’s a lady who lives across the road
Her face is lined with sadness
Her daughter has beautiful, curly blonde hair
Why can’t her mum feel gladness?

There’s a lady who lives across the street
I don’t think it’s a happy home
Sometimes her husband leaves late at night
To sleep in his car, alone

There’s a lady who lives across the street
But they took her body away
“We knew she wasn’t doing well”
Is all the neighbours could say”

The PANDA National Helpline has trained counsellors available on 1300 726 306.  They also have lots of information available on their website here.

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

LaVie Lactation Massager (AKA Boob Vibrator)

A few weeks back, my Facebook newsfeed exploded with posts about the Lactation Massager from LaVie – a new kind of vibrator especially designed for clearing milk blockages.  I was tagged in a lot of these posts by friends and followers who remembered a post I put up back in January about using a vibrator on my own blockages.  My friend Diana at Milkbar Breastpumps got in touch with me around that time and offered to send me a LaVie Lactation Massager for my feedback.

I felt a little skeptical about this product, mainly because I have been using a cheap vibrating wand from eBay which works really well – would the extra expense for a dedicated boob vibrator be worth it?  And would it actually work better?  Not only that, but the LaVie did seem to resemble a sex toy, which again, caused me to wonder what advantages there would be to using a LaVie instead of my cheap vibrating wand.

Why Use Vibration?

Basically breastmilk is thick and can coagulate to form a blockage.  Vibration might help your milk drain more effectively.  If your milk flow is restricted, either by engorgement caused by oversupply or infrequent draining, or by something pressing on breast tissue (eg a bra or shirt that’s too tight) blockages can form, that further stops your milk from flowing properly.  Vibration can help dislodge blockages and liquify them enough to get them out of your breasts.  It also feels really satisfying for  your breast to be drained so effectively, and I also find the vibrations relaxing, like a supercharged massage on my skin and across my chest muscles that are often too tight from spending too much time sitting with a poor posture.

What features does the LaVie come with?

The LaVie Lactation Massager comes with some pretty cool features:

  • It has a rechargeable battery, so you can use it without being anchored to a power point
  • The battery also charges up super fast.   The brochure said it would take up to 30 minutes.  I didn’t check exactly how long, but I plugged it in the first time, and when I looked at it about 15 minutes later, it was fully charged (and it wasn’t charged when it arrived because it wouldn’t turn on)
  • It’s a medical grade silicone and BPA free.  It feels lovely and velvety soft
  • It’s completely waterproof, so you can take it in the shower and submerse it in the pool or kitchen sink.  This also means that you can use something oily to aid the massage effect (which I recommend, because although the medical grade silicone is soft, it doesn’t glide across your skin as well as a smooth plastic would)
  • I would describe the LaVie is broadly shaped and is capable of sending vibrations across a fairly large area, which is handy when you’re dealing with a large blockage
  • It has varying levels of vibration and vibration modes, so you can find what really works for you

Is it just a rebadged sex toy?

This question may not be running through your mind, but it was definitely running through mine.

Being a vibration tool, the comparison was always going to be there.  I have seen sex toys that look exactly like the LaVie, right down to the silicone covering, the bright girly colours and the shape.  The variety of vibration modes also add to this comparison (eg buzz pause buzz buzz pause buzzzzzzzz pause – I am still a bit confused about how these types of modes are useful in lactation).

But the vibrations are too broad.  They are clearly designed to stimulate a large area.  If this was a sex toy, the vibrations would either be concentrated at the tip for clitoral stimulation, or the actual massager would be shaped either as a phallus or with a curved tip for g-spot stimulation.  Also, after some experimenting, I can see that the shape of the LaVie is excellent for reaching blockages that are deep within breast tissue.  If you want an orgasm, you’re not looking for something that’s going to stimulate your deep tissues.

In conclusion on this point, if the LaVie actually is a rebadged sex toy, it wouldn’t have been a very good sex toy.  If you want to wear it in your underwear or have a play with it downstairs then I won’t judge you for it, but I feel pretty confident in saying that it’s been designed for breasts.

Should you buy a LaVie?

If you:

  • Are comfortable with the $39,95 price tag;
  • Not comfortable with the idea of buying a sex toy to use on your breast;
  • Looking for something wireless; and
  • Looking for something waterproof:

then the LaVie could be a great choice for you!  I can especially see it being popular as a gift you might buy for a new or expecting parent.

If you also like supporting local retailers, then you should consider shopping at Milkbar Breastpumps.  The LaVie was gifted to me in exchange for my review.

 

 

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

“My Husband Wants Me To Stop Breastfeeding” – An Expert Weighs In

We share anonymous member posts in our closed support group on Facebook.  A recent post about an unsupportive husband attracted a number of comments from our members, ranging from upset to concerned and even absolutely outraged.  Although all of the comments had the best of intentions, the member did not find many of comments suggesting she was being abused, or that she should leave her husband, very helpful.  While it can be triggering to hear of a fellow woman being treated by her husband in a way that we would not consider acceptable in our own relationship, if we are to help someone, we need to be able to meet them where they are.  We need to be mindful that coming on too strong could leave someone like our anonymous member feeling like everyone is giving her a hard time, that she is to blame and that she can’t go anywhere for non-judgemental advice.

Thankfully, there was one particular comment from Gina Haitidis, who has degree in sociology and criminology, as well as a masters in both social work and forensic mental health majoring in child psychoanalytic psychotherapy, that felt very balanced.  Gina offered insightful and practical advice that empowered the anonymous poster.  We are very grateful for the variety of members we have in our 30,000 strong group and appreciate experts like Gina taking time to reply to our members.  Below is an altered version of the original question, together with Gina’s response.

Question

“My husband wants me to stop breastfeeding my son.  We have daughters together, but he makes fun of my son when he cries for me, and says things like “he’s such a girl”.  My husband also thinks I should stop breastfeeding because he says it’s stopping me from losing weight.  He isn’t open to the idea of talking to a professional about this.  Has anyone got any advice on dealing with an unsupportive husband?”

Gina’s expert response
I have quite a bit of training in this kind of thing and based on what you have chosen to disclose I would say that he is possibly unsure of his role in your family dynamic and relationship.  There are a few reasons I would suggest this:

1. Your third child is a boy and he as a father possibly has had fantasies surrounding the relationship he would have with his son. It appears (most likely because your son is still very young) that you are living out your husband’s fantasises, but he is not. This could make him somewhat jealous and insecure.

2. This is further emphasised through his remarks of saying your son is being like a girl when he cries for you. Your husbands may be saying this for two reasons – One being again he is not the first point of protection or comfort and two, he would feel somewhat left out of your special relationship.

3. With respect to your weight I’m not sure of the background to the comment, but if you yourself have mentioned weight loss in the past, then this might be a way of him trying to persuade you in a positive supportive light (although it might not come across that way). Or if you have brought it up in a negative light, again his way of trying to somewhat emotionally provoke you to stop. He may think that if you stop breastfeeding, he can be with you and have possible a more confident role in both his relationship as a father and partner.

The positive is that he is communicating his needs albeit subconsciously – maybe make him conscious of his remarks and talk through them in a safe unjudgmental way.  We are all human at the end of the day, and some people hate the idea of “professional” help – it might be worthwhile considering a different therapeutic approach like going for a long walk together and cultivating your relationship with just the two of you.

I would also suggest encouraging father son time, something that just they do that you and your daughters don’t participate in, that’s enjoyable.”

Relationships Australia offer a variety of services to families, and are an excellent resource for anyone who is experiencing relationship issues.

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

Successfully Breastfeeding A Preemie Baby – Member Story

Nicola Rigby is a member of Breastfeeders in Australia and has offered to share her story about successfully breastfeeding her preemie baby.  We hope that other families may feel encouraged and boosted by this story.

Nicola successfully breastfeeding her preemie baby

We had our second baby on the 28th of Feb at 30+1wks. Elsie was born prematurely due to my cervix shortening.  She did incredibly well from the moment she entered this world.  She had her first breastfeed at just 1wk old (31wks).  Baby’s aren’t supposed to develop their suck, swallow, breathe reflex until they hit 34-36wks gestation.  Elsie continued to breastfeed more and more each day.  She was fully breastfed with no top up NG feeds by 35wks and we were discharged home at 36+4 fully breastfed.  She has never had a bottle (downright refuses it).  She is now a happy and thriving 8mth old (5.5mths corrected).

Skin contact is very important in establishing breastfeeding. Both Elsie and Nicola were undressed
Principles for attachment are similar to those with a full term baby
Elsie had her first feed at the breast at just 31 weeks.

Did breastfeeding your first baby help prepare you for your second?

I did breastfeed my first baby but he had issues with attachment so we used a shield for the first 6wks then he developed reflux and failed to thrive so we had to comp feed and I was only able to feed him for the first 6mths.  Breastfeeding my first (Locky) did somewhat prepare me for Elsie although I’m also a midwife.

Did you have help from an IBCLC or other professional while establishing breastfeeding with Elsie?

I did have a lactation consultant visit a few times in the nursery also which was great.

Elsie always was and is a huge boob fan!
Elsie is still breastfeeding, and shows no signs of stopping
Elsie is now a thriving 8mo (5.5m corrected)

Do you have a breastfeeding story you’d like to share with us?  Please email us at breastfeedersinaustralia@hotmail.com

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

He Weaned – A 5.5 Year Perfect Moment

Up until recently, I was a tandem-feeding mama, with my 2 and 5 year and I old sharing many breastfeeds together over the last few years.

Mr 5 was breastfeeding twice a day (morning and night), but over the last few months that’s changed, with morning feeds gradually slowing to a stop, and many night time feeds skipped without any incident.  The relaxing of routines during the recent school holidays meant that bedtimes were a much more casual affair than normal.  Instead of heading off to bed at his usual bedtime, Mr 5 had many late nights and fell asleep in the lounge room or in my bed, or even in the car, instead of in bed.  And this change seemed to make it easier for him to let go completely.

There was one night during the holidays when he was overtired and distraught.  I brought him to his bed and he kept screaming at me “I WANT MILK!”.  Even though there have been plenty of nights where I breastfed him to ease his distress, this time I didn’t.  I explained over and over that I knew he was upset, and as soon as he calmed down he could have milk.  I told him I wasn’t saying no, I just needed him to be calm first.

When he eventually calmed down, he did latch on briefly, but then unlatched and settled in my arms instead, with his face very close to my face.  It’s like he had learned that breastfeeding wasn’t going to fix his problems.

Once upon a time, breastfeeding fixed all problems.  You know what they say – a newborn only needs 3 things – nourishment, warmth and love.  Breastfeeding provides all 3.

But then your newborn morphs into a child, and their needs become much more complex.  Reassurance and love now come in the form of words, hugs, laughter and small acts of service, like the special breakfasts where I arrange his food into a funny face.  He loves those breakfasts!

Although I didn’t know his breastfeed the next morning would be the last, I’m thankful I was in the moment enough to remember it clearly.  The blinds were open just a little, his eyes were closed and he was snuggled next to me, instead of draped over the top of me.  His sister was asleep behind me, so it was just him and me.  It was just like when he was a newborn – like that one perfect moment spanned 5.5 years.

And just like that, it seems we’re done

Now I’m only breastfeeding one

Weaning didn’t live up to my fears

The occasion passed without sadness or tears

He still often comes to my bed

He has no breast, but cuddles instead

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram