Hello and welcome to Mummy Of Four’s breastfeeding series!
Each week on a Tuesday, I will be publishing a new post all about the liquid gold that is breastmilk. We’ll be talking about the benefits, the funny bits, the helpful bits and the boobs of it all.
So, why am I so interested in boobs and the stuff that comes out of them? Well, I’m no qualified expert, but I have spent nearly 6 years of my life (when you add it up between all of my children) breastfeeding, and I’m still going. I have had varied experiences with breastfeeding, from an easy ride, to stressed experiences, to feeling like I was rocking it. through these highs and lows, I picked up so much knowledge & information along the way. Lots of this valuable knowledge would, had I known it in the beginning, have saved me all the stress, worry and tears that suffered while struggling to figure it all out for myself. Through this series, I plan to give you a survival guide including everything that has helped me to breastfeed successfully.
Here’s my story…
When I had my first son, Dylan, I wasn’t especially well read about breastfeeding, but I knew that I wanted to do it. I wasn’t stressed, my baby took to it well and it all went swimmingly. I was very “go with the flow”. I fed him most of the night and did totally “baby led” feeding, but my whole world revolved around him and it didn’t matter. I as very lucky that we both just sort of accidentally got on with it. I breastfed Dylan until he was 17 months and it all went without a hitch.
Seven and a half years later
When I had my second son, William. It started off pretty well. He fed, I was happy. Sleepless nights were harder as I had my other son’s schedule to adhere to, but all in all, it began quite well. When he was a few months old, he sort of went off feeding. He constantly “snacked” around the clock, never feeding for more than a couple of minutes (like I talked about in my Doing This One Thing post). I knew there was something up and called my health visitor. She came to see me on a Wednesday and confirmed what I had feared; his weight had dropped. It wasn’t by much, but a drop of any kind in a baby that age was clearly cause for concern. She told me that she was coming back on Friday and if he hadn’t gained weight, then he would be admitted to hospital to be tube fed with formula.
I was devastated.
I went into a tail spin of maternal guilt which fuelled crazy levels of research and sheer determination to rectify the situation and do what I could to help him gain weight. As I had breastfed my first son until he was 17 months, I was convinced that I had to do the same for my second son. I was fixated on the idea that they both deserved to be given the same.
I began expressing to stimulate my supply, then topping up my little baby by sort of force feeding him expressed milk when he refused to take any more from the breast. I was up most of the night, even when my baby was asleep, expressing milk. I continued to express even when there was no more milk to train, knowing that this would stimulate supply.
Suffice to say, my efforts paid off. In spite of the fact that he remained the kind of baby that needed attentively monitoring to make sure that he was getting enough, he gained weight steadily. In fact, by the time that he was crawling, he was positively chunky.
Considering the rocky ride that we had been on, I was immensely proud of his roles. By the time that consultant appointment came around to address his “failure to thrive”, the doctor could not understand why this chubby baby had been referred to her.
Then Came Baby Number 3
When I had my eldest daughter Bella, baby number 3, I was adamant that I would never go through such a traumatic experience again. As soon as my milk came in, I was expressing between feeds.
By the time Bella was a few weeks old, I had a stash of breastmilk in the freezer. I was so very comforted by this. It was my baby insurance. Never again would I be sent into a tail spin by the threat of a hospital admission. If there was ever any concern about her weight, I had all of this liquid gold to top her up and nourish her with.
The result of this expressing from so early on was amazing. The stash in the freezer game me confidence, so the whole ride went smoother. Breastfeeding is a bit like men with erections, performing under immense pressure is difficult. The stash removed the pressure. But the other result of all the expressing was how plentiful my supply was. I had tricked my body into thinking that I had twins, so whenever Bella fed, the supply flowed and it was easy. Don’t even get me started on all of the calories that I burned while producing all of this miracle milk (what an added bonus).
So that brings us to baby number 4, Zara
As you will know if you have read my Letter To Zara on her First Birthday, we both had a rocky start, health wise. Still, through all of this trauma, I continued with my expressing schedule. Although she was tiny, Zara thrived. I accumulated another epic stash of insurance milk, plus topped her up when I worried that she hadn’t fed enough. Zara is now 1 year old and still breast fed and doing well. She feeds well through the day between her family meals, then sleeps through the night.
So that’s it. That’s my journey so far. Through the rest of this series, I plan to share with you all that I ave learned along the way, including;
- tips for when you begin breastfeeding
- breastfeeding positions
- potential problems and how to deal with them
- expressing milk – how to do it, store it, thaw it and serve it
- clothing for breastfeeding
- and much more!
Have you ever breastfed? Are you pregnant and considering your feeding options? Do you have any questions that you would like answered? If you have, please comment below, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will answer your query or discuss your points in future posts.
That’s it for today’s post! Come back next Tuesday when I will be sharing some amazing facts about breastfeeding. In the mean time, let me leave you with one of my favourite breastfeeding videos of all time by the fabulous Kristina Kuzmic.