The vision I had of feeding my babies was one of harmony and bliss, staring into my little ones eyes as they drifted off to sleep on Momma’s milk, my experiences were very different, I feel it’s such an important blog to write, so here’s my 3 accounts on breast-feeding my 5 children ~
I always knew I wanted to feed my babies myself, when I went into hospital with Jack I made it very clear I was going to feed him, I was handed this tiny 5lb little bird baby and I put him to me to feed, it looked so promising, he sucked away, we made a good start,
that first night I remember vividly a midwife coming to me at 4 am, my eyes were so tired it was painful, she was a lovely midwife, she tapped me on my arm to wake me, ” Mrs Weston your baby needs a feed”, I told her I really wanted to feed him, so she tried so hard to latch this tiny baby on, I feel I need to describe, I’m a big busted Momma, time and time again she was turning his tiny head to get us in the right position, this is a vital job, and she was succesful, but he tired easily,
her suggestion was to cup feed, now this was bizarre, I was given this small little medication cup and told to express, and it’s as basic as that, I was shown how to massage and get what I could into this little cup, them amazingly this very yellow nector was given to my little baby to drink, and he did, he drank it so beautifully,
I carried on with the cup feeding and feeding from me, the feeding from me was very stressful, the actual process of latching him on was the biggest stress, he would go on and come off, and just never settled, but I wasn’t one to give up, and he was gaining weight so we stuck with it,
I brought a pump and milk was flowing, looking back if the right person was around I don’t think I would have needed much help to make this a successful journey, but sadly there wasn’t, his later diagnosis of reflux would have explained why his feeding at times was so difficult, at 3 months when trying for the 100th time in ASDA cafe to latch him on I admitted defeat,
the trauma and stress for us both was over, with tears in my eyes I gave him a bottle, as a new Mother overwhelming pressure that they say isn’t there ? Really was, but for me and Jack at that time it was a blessing, I had control back again, but it also in time became very obvious he had reflux he was the projectile vomiting baby, you feed them, they sick it all back up and you start again,
it took over 8 years to get Jacks reflux under control, again looking back if a simple early diagnosis was made he wouldn’t have suffered like he did, and the reflux would have been controlled, this mistake was never made with the triplets,
only one midwife asked me how I was planning to feed the triplets, the others all presumed I would bottle feed them, I was realistic from day one, but made it clear I would like to combine feed ? I had a double medella pump on hire, and we were ready to go, within 24 hours all three were diagnosed with reflux, and all three were given powder form gaviscon (dream drug) it really did make life so much easier, a reflux baby spits up allll the time, you constantly find them unsettled,
my 3 were coping so well with the mixed feeding, I was producing milk like daisy the cow, and for around the first 3 weeks they were just having my milk, either from me or from a bottle, my little pink one was my best feeder, and if she was born on her own , I think she would have been my breastfeeding success story, I felt wrong giving her more of my milk, another hard emotion for Mom’s of multiples to cope with,
my little baby boys fed very much like Jack, they were on and off, and again tired very easily, I was forever stripping them down to vests to wake/stimulate them, you tickle the side of their face, touch their toes, it was nowhere near as calm as when Lily fed, amazing the difference between each baby, so don’t be put off if your first baby doesn’t breastfeed well, it doesn’t mean your 2nd baby will be the same,
the pump came home with me, definitely recommend the double electric pump, labour-saving ? I hired it for 6 months, as the months went on and they needed more milk I introduced formula, my supply was becoming less, as the babies were taking less and less from me, but I still felt like I had some control and was helping them grow with my 1 bottle a day of my expressed milk,
it’s so important to come to terms with these decisions, and deal with the fact that the most important thing is your baby having milk, and a happy Mom is a happy baby, my feeding experience with Alfie was once again not what I had planned…..
this time I was going to have a big full term strong baby, and at 8lb 13oz he was just that, our initial few days together were perfect, but he failed to gain weight, in fact he lost nearly 13oz I was so upset, as I knew I wasn’t producing the milk I so needed to, we tried many techniques to increase my supply, the lactating cookies, increased fluids, herbal pills, the double pump, the midwife explained to me that my body was tired, I was fighting an infection in my c-section scar and I had to face the facts,
the most important thing was to get milk into Alfie and him to gain weight, my compromise was an assisted feeding gadget, this was a contraption ? You tape a tube to your boob that’s attached to a bottle with formula milk in and the baby is put to the boob with the view they are still attempting the feed but getting some milk, great if your supply is low,
Sadly it wasn’t a hit and with the heaviest of hearts I admitted defeat, for weeks after on a daily basis I would attempt the skin to skin with the hope he would show an interest, and my milk would be there, the double pump remained on hire, I would still pump at least 6 times a day and make up one small but very precious bottle of liquid gold Momma’s milk, I think I traumatized the older 4 with this vision ?
It took me weeks, months, years ? to get over what I describe as a loss I felt with my very stressful breastfeeding journeys, more than anything I wanted to solely feed them, and it simply wasn’t to be,
Motherhood often gives us times like this, when our vision of the “perfect” is one we have to let go off, I have 5 very healthy children, who all thrived, I still feel my early efforts contributed, but what did make the biggest impact was me accepting that plans do change, and the most important factor is getting milk into our babies, and moving on, I gave it my best it didn’t work out ideal but I learned many life lessons,
in September I am going on a breast-feeding buddy course, I really am passionate to offer my help to new Mom’s, I’m by no means an expert but I definitely have had lots of experience in this area, good and bad, if I can offer that warmth and compassion I was shown at 4am with my 1st baby my tears of sadness I shed will prove more valuable than I ever realised ~

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