Breastfeeding with Medela; The First 8 Weeks
Before I had baby Blue, I wrote about my hopes and fears surrounding breastfeeding the second time round and how I hoped things would go once he had arrived. Now Jesse Blue is 10 weeks old, I figured it was a good time to talk about the early days of breastfeeding and how our story differs this time to with my first-born. I had no idea what I was doing or what to expect with Archie; I also felt as if support was lacking and all I ever heard about were the benefits of breastfeeding and not how difficult I could expect it to be at times. Alot of pressure is put on Mums to breastfeed but bombarding those Mums with just the positive isn't going to help; we need to be informed of the negatives too so that when issues occur (as they undoubtedly will at some point), Mums know that these things happen and that there are ways to rectify them without giving up.
I was so grateful that Jesse latched well from the beginning as one of my fears was that we'd have issues. I found it all came quite naturally and he latched on immediately; a relief after a traumatic birth. For the first few weeks, things were going well, Mr J was still home to help with Archie and I could feed baby Blue for as long and as often as I needed. Once Mr J had returned to work and our newborn bubble had been popped we encountered our fair share of bumps in the road and here are some of the issues we've struggled with:
Having a toddler already Nothing makes feeding a baby quite so difficult as a 2.5 year old whose constantly demanding your attention and isn't willing to tolerate your sitting down for 20-40 minutes each feed. I've been offered tips such as to create a box full of activities to offer said toddler each feed to prevent them needing your constant attention, but sadly I'm crap at organisation so what I've found works best is sticking Teletubbies on. My advice to all breastfeeding second-time Mums is to not feel guilty about screen time; I worried no end that my first was stuck in front of a screen for too long but I try my hardest to get him out and keep him entertained, so for now I'll take the help I need and try not to feel too guilty about it, things won't be this difficult forever.
A sicky baby Soon after Jesse's birth, we realised we had a very sicky baby and started to think there might be more to his sickness than we thought. He will sick up after most feeds, sometimes every 10-15 minutes, sometimes he's absolutely fine and sometimes he can projectile a whole feed. We do co-sleep when things are tough and I found I was worrying about him feeding next to me as he would bring alot back up. Due to the fact he's gaining weight well and is generally a contented baby, reflux has been ruled out, but at his 6 week check (after the GP witnessed first-hand how sick he can be after a feed), we were prescribed gaviscon to help and though it has improved a little, we're still figuring out the correct dosage and there are still tough nights where he'll be sick and unsettled more often than not.
Ruling out 'me' time One of the main reasons I stopped breastfeeding with Archie was because I felt overwhelmed at not getting a break. Don't get me wrong, I didn't exactly want to leave him, but knowing I couldn't was tough. Breastfeeding means you instantly agree to take on the majority of the night-time wake-ups and it can be a very intense feeling. With the help of our Medela Swing Electric Breast Pump, I have been able to leave baby once for an impromptu visit to see Bridget Jones Baby (how ironic, leaving a baby to watch a film about a baby) and he managed to guzzle all of the milk I'd managed to pump and was desperate for a feed by the time I'd returned, a mere 3 hours later! It's something I've struggled with just as much this time; yes, breastfeeding is tough, but the benefits are so worth the handful of times in the past 10 weeks I've felt I couldn't carry on (but known deep-down there was no way I was going to quit).
These first few weeks have been hard, just as they were with Archie, but the benefits have far outweighed the negatives; I love being able to settle Blue almost instantly (most of the time anyway), I love knowing that something my body is producing is helping him to gain weight well and I love that I'm the only one that can give that to him. This time round, I'm confident I can continue for as long as it's the right decision for us. With my first, I had no confidence, I felt embarrassed to breastfeed in public and I could think of a million reasons to stop, reasons that seemed to make sense to me at the time, but this time those millions of reasons are reasons I should continue and I'm grateful that hindsight has taught me and given me a second chance with baby Blue.