The One Where I Worry About Breastfeeding

With just under 6 weeks to go until my due date, and with the Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt going on, I thought it appropriate that I write a post about breastfeeding.

Just for the sake of clarity, I will start by saying (as I say a lot) I am NOT anti formula, I am PRO breastfeeding.

There is a difference.

Although, I think, even in this day and age, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. So I think everyone should just make the decision that’s right for them and not be judged for it. Breast or bottle, you should be supported whatever your choice.

I never made a conscious decision about breastfeeding, it was just something I knew I wanted to do,and Neil was on board. It was never a question.

I managed to feed Jake exclusively for 4 months, then combine fed until he was 7 months, when unfortunately, through no choice of my own, I had to stop completely.

With Zack, I thought I was doing OK but his weight said otherwise, and we were admitted to hospital for 24 hours, and I was pretty much forced into combined feeding. I felt like there was no support for me breastfeeding and I had to fight to have help.

After doing a bit, and I really do mean a bit, I haven’t spent hours trawling the internet or anything, but I wonder whether my thyroid has anything to do with my inability to produce enough milk for Zack. I’ve spoken to a few other mums that have thyroid issues that struggled to feed, and it just seems like too much of a coincidence, but the consultant says otherwise.

We live in another city now, and the midwife speaks very highly of the support available for breastfeeding. They have support workers that will actually come out to your house. I am wondering whether to buy a new breastpump to see if that will help too.

So yes, I am worried, but I know that some is better than none, so I will try not to beat myself up too much if I struggle again this time, but I won’t be scared to ask for help and support if I need it, and I will fight to feed for as long as I can.

Our Hospital Stay

Zack and I had a stay in hospital last week. It’s only now, almost a week later that I can talk/write about it without crying.

I took him for his 12 week immunisations on the Tuesday and went to the baby clinic while I was there to get him weighed. He’s been gaining weight slowly. I know that. Jake was the same. I just assumed he’d catch up in his own time. At 8 weeks, he was 9lb exactly. I expected him to be at least 10lbs at 12 weeks, especially considering how often he feeds.

He was 9lb 6oz. He’s dropped two lines on the centile chart (and below the 0.4th), so we had to see the GP. As soon as they said he had only put on 6oz, I knew the discussion of formula would be on the agenda. It’s not that I’m against formula. It’s that I wanted to breastfeed. I had no concerns previous to him being weighed. He’s smiley, he is alert, he sleeps through the night. There was nothing to make me worry.

The doctor sent us up to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. We ended up in A&E as that’s where the RMO’s were (Registered Medical Officer). We were taken to cubicle and Zack was asleep in his pushchair, so the RMO was talking to me, asking me questions about Zack, about me, about Jake, about my pregnancy. Then he woke up and needed a feed, so she left me to it for half an hour or so. Then a different doctor came round to see us and examined him. Said that she didn’t think there was anything wrong with his tummy or anything and that we should top him up with formula. I said that I didn’t really want to and that I wanted to fix breastfeeding first. So she admitted us and arranged to Zack to have a blood test, in which I cried more than he did and was reduced to a snotty mess. So much so that even the nurse took pity on me and wiped my nose as I had no hands free.

I’m a bit angry, because I feel like if I’d agreed to the formula, she would have just sent us home, but because I refused, we had to endure a horrible 24 hours in hospital. He looked so small in the huge cot in his room, and I had the delight of sleeping on a faux leather recliner for the night.

The doctors came round in the morning and again, had a poke and a prod. Then a dietician came in and spoke to me.

I have had to compromise. We have agreed that he has two 3oz feeds a day of a high calorie formula that promotes catch up growth, and that I breastfeed as well. I have been prescribed Domperidone to try and increase my milk supply. Zack has to be weighed every week and I am to call the dietician with his weights so we can plan the next course of action, which will hopefully at some point be to drop the formula altogether and go back to exclusive breastfeeding.

It’s taken me a long time to be OK with this. Not because I don’t want him to gain weight, not because I don’t want him to have formula, but because I feel like I’ve failed him.

One of the most natural things in the world is to breastfeed your baby, to nurture them, and I couldn’t do it alone. Whether it’s because of everything my body has been through over the last two and a half years, I don’t know, but I wanted to be able to do this so much and the fact that I couldn’t upsets me more than I can put into words.

I know he’s put weight on. I can see his cheeks are chubbier, and he feels heavier. I’ll know for sure tomorrow when I take him to be weighed. I hope it’s positive. I certainly don’t want another night in hospital with him any time soon.

Breastfeeding Beyond…#keepbritainbf

Breastfeeding beyond what? The first month? The first six months? The first year?

With Jake, I managed exclusive breastfeeding for 4 months, then I went into have a knee operation and it seemed that after the anaesthetic and not being able to feed to 24 hours and not ever being able to express much, my supply dwindled, so I combined fed. Then when Jake was 7 months old i had to go in for more surgery, and in turn had to have chemotherapy so had no choice but to stop.

I would have probably carried on until he was one had I been able to, but I am a firm believer that some, is better than none, no matter how long the “some” is. Am I disappointed that I had to stop? Yes. Do I feel guilty about it? No.

Yesterday, I was asked how long I intend to breastfeed for. I said at least six months, then I might combine formula and breast along with solids, or I might just stick with breast. I don’t know, I’ll decide when the time arrives.

What I do know is that I will carry on for as long as it feels right,as long as he is happy and healthy, that is what is the most important thing. I have had some wonderful advice from other mums about feeding and I think that these days it’s not the automatic response to just switch straight to formula if baby isn’t gaining as quickly as you might like.

Jake was a small baby for a long time and then all of a sudden, he caught up, and now he’s taller than most of his friends the same age. I think Zack is going the same way. When I raised my concerns with the GP at his 8 week check, she said I had nothing to worry about, and actually wrote in his red book that she had told me to carry on feeding.

He’s happy, I’m happy. He’s healthy, that also makes me happy. For now, that’s more than enough.

Thank you for reading.  Please complete the following to enter the competition for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Grand Prize:

Leave a comment on this blog telling me how long you fed/are intending to feed for.

For extra entries:

Go to the Life, Love and Lollipops Facebook page and “like” and  ”share” the hunt with your Facebook friends.

Tweet the following: I’m taking part in the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger hunt via @rozzibee http://wp.me/p1Fanz-5Y #keepbritainbf

Leave a separate comment for each thing you have done.

Happy Hunting!

If you have enjoyed reading, you can find other bloggers taking part in the scavenger hunt here:

Where Roots Flourish

Breast4babies

Ponderings of a Doula

Twinkle Mummy

Fi Peacock’s Blog

Breastfeeding in Public #keepbritainbf

The first time I breast fed in public was at the register office when we went to register Jake at 12 days old. I was a bit nervous, but I got over it very quickly.

I’ve always been a bit nervous about someone coming up to me and asking me to stop feeding, or telling me it’s inappropriate, but luckily it has never happened. And if it did, I’m pretty sure I would tear strips off them, and if I didn’t, my hubby would. In fact, the only time someone has ever commented on my breastfeeding was when Jake was tiny and I was sat on a bench outside a shopping centre feeding him and a lady came up to me and said “Well done!” and carried on her way.

It can be quite daunting feeding in public for the first time, but don’t let it put you off. It does get easier.

  • If you feel nervous, make sure you have someone with you for the first time.
  • Choose clothing appropriately. I tend to prefer loose tops that I can lift up, then I pull it down to his face so that no breast is exposed but I can still see him and he can see me. On the odd occasion that I have a top that I need to pull down, I have a muslin or scarf handy to make me feel less exposed. Some women like to wear a vest top under a loose fitting top.
  • Don’t feel like you need to hide away in a toilet. You wouldn’t want to eat in a public loo, so neither would your baby.
  • Don’t be made to feel uncomfortable feeding in public. The Equality Act 2010 has made it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place such as a cafe, shop or public transport.
  • Remember, breastfeeding is completely natural and there is nothing inappropriate about it. If someone has a problem with it, that is exactly what it is – their problem. Smile, nod and carry on.

Congratulations. You have found the scavenger hunt logo. This week, I also have an extra competetion to win a £15 voucher to use at BoobieMilk.

Thank you for reading.  Please complete the following to enter the competition for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Grand Prize:

Leave a comment on this blog telling me what your top tip for feeding in public is.

For extra entries:

Go to the Life, Love and Lollipops Facebook page and “like” and  ”share” the hunt with your Facebook friends.

Tweet the following: I’m taking part in the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger hunt via @rozzibee http://wp.me/p1Fanz-5Y #keepbritainbf

Leave a separate comment for each thing you have done.

Happy Hunting!

If you have enjoyed reading, you can find other bloggers taking part in the scavenger hunt here:

A New Addition
Edspire
Mummy Constant
Radical Ramblings
Life Happens so Smile

The Benefits of Breastfeeding – #keepbritainbf

When I got pregnant, with both of the boys, in fact, even before I got pregnant, I knew I would be breastfeeding. Or, at the very least I was going to give it a damn good go. There was no question in my mind, it’s just what I was going to do.

When Jake was seven and a half months old, I stopped breastfeeding him completely, as I knew I would be going into hospital for a week to have surgery, and following that, I had six months of chemotherapy to go through. At that point, breastfeeding was no longer an option, and although I was sad to stop, I’m glad I managed to do it for as long as I did.

This time, I don’t know how long I will breastfeed for, but I am hoping to stop when I feel ready to, not because I have to. Already, I am being asked “When can you give him a bottle?” The answer: “I CAN give him one now, but he is a breastfed baby, so isn’t having them yet.” I’m very tempted to get myself, or Zack a t-shirt from Lactivist and then maybe I won’t get asked again.

As well as being free and convenient (no need to prepare bottles in a sleepy daze at 3am, or carrying them around with you when you are out and about) breast-feeding also has health benefits for both mum and baby.

Benefits for babies

  • less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting and having to go to hospital as a result
  • fewer chest and ear infections and having to go to hospital as a result
  • less chance of being constipated
  • less likelihood of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other illnesses later in life
  • less chance of developing eczema
  • Any amount of breastfeeding has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits.
  • Infant formula doesn’t give your baby the same ingredients or provide the same protection. Breast milk adapts to meet your baby’s changing needs.

Health benefits for you

Breastfeeding doesn’t only benefit your baby. It benefits your health too. Breastfeeding is good for mums as it:

  • lowers your risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer
  • naturally uses up to 500 calories a day
  • saves money – infant formula, the sterilising equipment and feeding equipment can be costly
  • can help to build a strong bond between you and your baby
  • Exclusive breastfeeding can also delay the return of your periods.

*benefits taken from the NHS website

I love the bond that it gave me and Jake, and that it’s giving to me and Zack. I love the way Zack looks at me with those big blue eyes of his, and that I know that if no one else can, that I can always comfort him. It’s also very handy to be able to sit in my bed with him swaddled, then feed him to sleep and put him down in his crib. I know some people think that breastfed babies don’t sleep as well at night, but Zack easily goes five or six hours before waking for a feed, and then he just comes and lies next to me and feeds.

I love breastfeeding, and I’m not planning on stopping any time soon!

If you have enjoyed reading, you will find more bloggers taking part in the scavenger hunt here:

Thank you for reading.  Please complete the following to enter the competition for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Grand Prize:

Leave a comment on this blog telling me what made you decide you wanted to breastfeed.

For extra entries:

Go to the Life, Love and Lollipops Facebook page and “like” and  “share” the hunt with your Facebook friends.

Tweet the following: I’m taking part in the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger hunt via @rozzibee http://wp.me/p1Fanz-5Y #keepbritainbf

Leave a separate comment for each thing you have done.

Happy Hunting!