Thursday, 19 October 2017

My breastfeeding journey

Me breastfeeding Dot in public for the first time

If you've followed me for a long time, you might remember that I wrote about my breastfeeding journey with Squidge about 3ish years ago over on mummy-pixie. It didn't go well, he couldn't latch and I really had no idea what I was doing. Looking back now, I'm pretty sure he had a tongue tie, but I didn't even know about that then.

This time I was determined to breastfeed and make it work, and luckily for me, Dot is able to. But it hasn't been an easy journey.

The first couple weeks

These were tough. When he was about 2 weeks old, I got mastitis in the left breast, as well as blocked ducts which meant I couldn't express off the milk in my engorged breast, and I had a cracked nipple which wasn't only bleeding, but had puss coming out of it, I know, TMI, sorry about that!

Because of that, feeding on the left breast was an absolute no go, and for a couple weeks I fed from the right breast only. He seemed to be getting enough milk for the most part, but we were still needing to do the odd formula top-up - this was mostly the midnight feed, there just never seemed to be enough milk in my boobs for him. The problem with the formula is that he almost always threw it up... and it bloody stank like gone-off milk, yuck!

At about this stage I joined a couple breastfeeding Facebook groups, and that alone saved my breastfeeding journey. There were things Dot was doing that I didn't understand, but there's so much knowledge in these groups that they were able to explain it to me.  For example, the newborn cluster feeding where they're literally on the breast all day and night. I assumed I wasn't producing enough milk and would have to give up. That's not the case at all, that's the baby 'putting in an order' with your milk supply ready for the next day or couple days etc. By the baby being on the breast (whether getting milk or not) my body was learning that it needed to produce more milk, then the days after that were easier as the supply was increased.

He still doesn't latch that well, sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't, but most of the time it doesn't hurt either. The only time feeding hurts any more is if my breasts have become engorged, then they become quite tender all over. 

Sleeping...

When Squidge was 8 weeks old, he started sleeping through the night, at least until the 4 month sleep regression hit! I've never expected Dot to do this as he's breastfed, and typically breastfed babies are more likely to wake at night. 

However, at 6 weeks old I grudgingly introduced a dummy - he was using my breast as a soother. If I didn't have any other children I'd have happily let him carry on, however, when I'm also looking after a 3 year old, having to wipe his bottom after the toilet several times a day, I can't let the baby use me as a soother, I need to be mobile. So I tried him with a dummy. 

That day, the day I introduced it, he napped the best ever (during the day) and hasn't napped that well since! He was having good 2 hr naps in the bouncer, leaving me free to spend time doing crafts with Squidge. However, most of the time Dot refuses the dummy, he only seems to accept it if he's really tired, and most of the time, at night only. But that brings other issues, like waking 10 times a night because the dummy has fallen out of his mouth. 

That's all well and good in the moses basket as I can just lean over. But in the next couple days, Dot will be in a proper cot as he's too big for his moses basket now. That means getting out of bed a lot of times a night! It's either that, or get him up and feed him (if we take the dummy away).... what to do?

I'm also pretty proud to say that since about week 4, Dot hasn't had any formula, he's now exclusively breastfed :) That midnight feed my boobs didn't seem to produce enough for, I just stayed up really late one night with him on the breast (putting the order in!) and after that it's been fine :) 

A rash on Dot's chest from the dairy allergy

It does also look like he has a diary allergy (CMPA - cows milk protein allergy). He had most of the symptoms (rash, arching and screaming on the breast, lots of wind, very vinegary poops and lots of them especially when feeding, and loads more) apart from weight loss, but as he was using me as a soother, he was getting plenty of milk. 

To see if that's what was bothering him, over 2 weeks ago I cut dairy out of my diet (something I never thought I'd be able to do!) and this past few days I've really noticed a difference (it takes 2 weeks for the protein to leave your system). His rash has gone, he doesn't cry on the breast very often or arching his back, not as much wind and his poops smell normal.  I'll test again when he's closer to 6 months old (I'll have a small glass of milk or something) and see how he copes with that. He *should* grow out of it, fingers crossed he does anyway!

8 weeks in and we're doing great, I'm just so pleased I've been able to do this for him :) 
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1 comment

  1. Aw I feel your pain with mastitis, it really is horrendous. So glad you found a group that helped and it's turned into a more positive experience. Other women will be able to look for this kind of help now too xxx

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