Hopefully, if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I don’t care how you feed your children. It’s a totally personal journey, and each method has its benefits and drawbacks. All I hope for is that nobody feels pressured into feeding their baby in a way that isn’t totally comfortable for them.
I hoped to breastfeed Flinders, like I breastfed Tibby. Tibby was breastfed from the start, with a couple of bottles of expressed milk because she began to lose too much weight. I expressed milk from the day it came in, which was day four for me. My breast pump became one of my top three ‘godsend’ purchases. I was so glad to have it, that when it came to my feeding hopes for our second child, I jumped at the chance of working with Medela, who made the pump I used.
So, I’m now part of the Medela Mums network, a fantastic resource on social media and various blogs across the world, helping other mums with their newborn feeding journeys.
I’m six weeks into feeding Flinders now, and I’ll share some thoughts on that in a week or two. From late pregnancy onwards, I made some promises to myself:
- I would breastfeed my son, for a minimum of six weeks, unless there was a reason not to, such as illness
- I would express milk to help avoid engorgement, something I had terrible issues with last time
- I would freeze and save my milk
- I would introduce a bottle when it felt right, in the early days, and ensure that Flinders was comfortable with a bottle ongoing
Breastfeeding from birth
I first put Flinders on my chest to feed about 15 minutes after he was born. It felt amazingly natural and calming for us both, not like the immense wonder of Tibby’s first time, but, a wonderful feeling nevertheless. I was more comfortable with the extraction of colostrum, using a syringe (nobody tells you about this!), and I used copious amounts of lanolin cream from the start.
Yes, the first two to three days of near constant feeding were still a shock, second time around. However, the routine of waking, or keeping awake the very sleepy newborn to keep them at the breast felt less traumatic, and more of a happy task.
Despite my hopes for breastfeeding, one of my biggest anxieties has always been that I would be the only one that could feed him. Hence the need for a bottle. This came into play when I was hospitalised again, twice, in the weeks following birth by c-section, because both trips in the ambulance were in the early hours, and we couldn’t face waking Tibbs up to make it a family outing.
Expressing bottles of breast milk
By about day 5, engorgement kicked in. The word tells you all you need to know. Massive boobs. Hard. Painful. I knew I’d need to express as soon as I woke up just to be able to get Flinders to latch. I’m going to write more another time about my pumping strategy and the Medela pumps I’ve been using, but, since day 5, I’ve been regularly expressing and giving him a feed in a bottle, to help him, to give myself a short break, and to keep him used to the bottle. So far, so good. We’ve also been adding a bit of formula here and there, mixed in with breast milk.
How I feel about breastfeeding now
Seven weeks old today, and I’m still at it. Things have got a lot easier, especially when I think back to how things were on week seven with Tibbs. One side has calmed down, one continues to give me engorgement issues. This means two things – firstly, I’m not 100% comfortable with feeding in public yet, on that side. Secondly, feeds on that side are stressful sometimes for both of us.
I’m still expressing. And, if you’ve seen my Instagram, you’ll know I have a very enthusiastic co-pilot in Tibbs, who is very helpful and encouraging. She also likes to inform me very loudly if I’m leaking. Which is obviously awesome.
I know not everybody is interested in baby feeding, so I’ll be posting from time to time and holding up my Medela Mum badge with pride. However, if you are feeding your baby at the moment and experiencing any problems, do feel free to share them, or look out for the Medela Tuesday clinic online with midwife Sioned, which is great.