When I was pregnant with my first child I couldn’t wait to start breastfeeding. Pictures of other moms breastfeeding their little one’s and all the stories of how the bond is created between a mother and baby was all I ever wanted for myself. I read about all the pros and cons of breastfeeding and I thought it can’t be that hard.
When my son was born I was devastated to hear that the nurses had already fed him before I could have any contact with him. HOW? How did they feed him when I never got to hold him yet? Where did he get milk from? These were all the questions running through my mind. When one of the nurse’s (a day nurse) asked me if my milk supply had come in yet and I said no, she said “that’s ok we will keep him on the bottle until your milk comes in”. Like I said before, I had read up on breastfeeding and how it should start off. He should have been placed on me to suck and that would stimulate my milk. Besides the colostrum would have been more than enough for him until the mature breastmilk kicks in. So the first and second day had passed of him being bottled fed when the nurse on duty during the evening noticed I wasn’t breastfeeding. She immediately placed him on my chest, and I said “but I don’t have milk for him yet”. She told me it will come if I continue letting him suck. Getting him to latch was really difficult. I remember her squeezing the living delights out of me to get those first few drops and holding him against me. As I cringed and frowned with pain, she wasn’t very empathetic towards me. She said if I could make this baby I should bare the brunt of the pain from her pressing my boobs and feed this baby. #Shook. I could not believe my eyes nor ears, as my husband and father sat in the room listening and watching this happen to me.
After seeking advice from other moms (my sister and aunt) on how to increase my milk, I sent my husband out to get me guava juice and swedish bitter (p.s. It really was bitter). I drank this the first week, and by day 4 when I had been discharged my milk came in full swing. I remember waking up in the middle of night and my side of the bed was wet. I didn’t know how it happened until my husband said look down at your nightdress. If there was one thing I know now that I wish someone had told me sooner, it was not to express especially when your breast are engorged. That hurts like ____! It obviously produced more milk the more I expressed but I did not enjoy one bit of it.
Not long after giving birth I went through postpartum depression and it took a knock on me physically, mentally and emotionally. My milk decreased, I wasn’t eating enough or at all for that matter. I was overwhelmed by all the love and support from our friends that I turned away, I just wanted my baby all to myself. I was determined to figure out how this being a mum thing needed to work on my own. Every time my son cried I offered him the pacifier instead of my boob. I kept saying it’s painful and I didn’t want to do this anymore. I hated having to leave the house because I was so nervous to feed him in public. He struggled to gain weight and at two months old he was admitted into hospital because he wasn’t being fed enough and he had colic on top of that. We had to supplement with a very expensive formula as well that could only be given with breastmilk. So the expressing continued!😓 I begged the paediatrician to tell me which formula to put him on but she insisted I keep breastfeeding. Four days later he was discharged, and we had to continue feeding around the clock. One day I had enough and went to the store, I stood in the baby aisle for probably a good 15minutes walking back and forth from one brand of formula to the next. My husband called to ask what was taking so long, I eventually went to cash out with what I had in my hand – #Nan by Nestle.
I don’t regret putting him on formula because he became a much happier and healthier baby. He began to thrive and clothes started to fit him better. I do wish I had more patience and wasn’t stubborn to accept the help offered then.
Now this time around with my second child, she is only two months and I’m still breastfeeding. She had no problems latching the second she was placed on my chest. Yes my nipples would pain, but this time I have the support of friends and family and they reassured me that it gets better. Truth is, it already has. I also use this nipple cream I got in SA and it really helps. I don’t have any bottles in my house and I don’t use my breast pump at all. I would like to breastfeed her for two years or rather as long as she let’s me. This time co-sleeping definitely helped and it just makes it easy for both of us. She hardly cries and I can tell by her actions when she wants a feed or needs to be soothed. We have gone out on numerous occasions and I haven’t been afraid to just feed her anywhere. Hey, if we want to eat we don’t wait until we get home so why should we treat the little ones any different. I have truly loved and embraced the experience this time round.