Tag Archives: nursing

The things I wish my midwife had told me.

 

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Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? During the course of my pregnancy, I was always so blind sighted by the concept of holding my baby that I didn’t really explore or look into what life might be like post baby and what babies actually do.

We all know how it goes; babies, eat, sleep and poop. I was naive to assume as much and to never have questioned what goes on in between or even during these stages in the day. I didn’t bother to think about what babies do when they are awake, how they act and what can trigger them to act in a particular way. Why does a baby cry?

I feel that I was misled and misinformed by the midwives and ante natal classes. I was only ever told of the positive side to motherhood, breastfeeding and babies. Never the negatives. I was silly to have been so naive and not ask more questions or have done more research into life with a newborn. After all, it is a life changing experience and I wish I paid more attention to this and given post birth some thought. I had wanted my baby so bad that I overlooked some of the most important factors surrounding becoming a first time parent. I had unknowingly set myself up for failure.

There is a lot more to babies than eating, sleeping and pooping. It is not as simple as it can be made to seem and a lot more delicate.

 What happens when all your baby wants is to be held and will not allow to be put down? What happens when your baby is awake all night, crying in discomfort with colic? Nothing that you try to do will help and the crying only intensifies. What then?

21911266_175156759703314_3618031242710089728_n What happens when your baby gains the benefits of breastfeeding but you, as the Mother are left feeling drained and lifeless from hours of cluster or comfort feeding? Breastfeeding is said to help a Mother share a strong bond with baby, however I was not aware nor made aware about issues that develop such as cluster feeding. The whole aspect of bonding is overlooked in my experience and I don’t feel nursing my baby builds a bond, nursing simply intensities how tired I am. I feel like I am not yet a Mother, I am a feeding mechanism with a baby attached to me almost 24/7.

 

Nobody warned me of the darker side to parenthood or what happens come dark. There is no routine and there will not be for a long time. Why are parents so misinformed about issues such as colic? Why are the benefits of breastfeeding pushed at new mums yet the reality of this nursing method is missed out?

Perhaps it is down to the parents to do their own research pre baby. Perhaps health care professionals should be more open with the reality of life with a newborn and not lead parents into a false pretense. I hadn’t even heard of colic prior to this. I have discovered just how common it can be among newborns and I feel a little upset that something so common does seem to be overlooked and not spoken of during a woman’s pregnancy.

21819793_351033521976984_1886224562660573184_n We are currently involved in a six week baby massage class where we learn routines and techniques to massage Eleanor. An element of the class covers dealing with colic and wind build up, methods to help subside this are taught and seem to be very beneficial and relaxing. It certainly chills Eleanor out but is in no way the answer to her colic nor a long term solution.

I feel that had I been given information about colic or told the disadvantages of breastfeeding I could have prepared myself for the impact each would have and the extent of the toll that such issues can and do take. No new parent wants to be nursing their baby for hours through the night to help soothe the excessive crying, unable to lay their baby down anywhere but right beside them. It is tough. 

We are told by Health care staff that colic is a phase that will pass. When? When will this phase pass? It is so easy to say yet being on the receiving end and dealing with your baby who is clearly in discomfort and struggling is not so easy. It is hard to see her struggle through. I feel so helpless during her episodes of this. Being told it will pass, is simply no use.

Life with a newborn is hard and there is so much more to it than we are led to believe. I often find myself feeling the strain of handling a baby all day both physically and emotionally, especially when she does not like to be put down. You don’t really get a break being a new parent and certainly factors such as colic and comfort feeding add to this. I only hope that come time, colic and the disadvantages of breastfeeding become more spoken of and awareness surrounding both is brought to the attention of new parents.

21690458_1415176985245146_942516790557147136_n I only wish that during my pregnancy I had done my research and asked more questions. Had I had the information which I do now, could I have prevented the colic? Could I have been in a better routine of the sorts? Would I still have chosen to breastfeed? The fact is, it is now too late to wonder what if, II can now only act on the decisions that I had made and deal with each day at a time. I hope that this is just a phase and that the colic and the crying relentlessly will pass, sooner rather than later and I can gain some Independence back.

 

 

 

Please Sir, may I have some more? The struggle with newborn feeding on demand.

Since having discovered I was pregnant, the one thing I really wished to do, exclusively for the first six months of my baby’s life was to breastfeed. I don’t know where this idea had initially drawn from, I, nor any of my siblings were breastfed and I didn’t openly know of any babies who were. Perhaps the media had a big impact on my decision to breastfeed and subconsciously it was an idea planted in my mind from reading articles, hearing news stories or seeing glamorous images of new mums feeding their babies in the glossy magazines. Perhaps the midwife swayed me with all of the bragging and the encouragement surrounding the topic. Regardless, it was something which I wanted to do from the very beginning and can happily say started off on a good note.

I’ll tell you, there is nothing glamorous about breast feeding, not behind the scenes anyway! Hell, when Euan proposed, I was standing in the kitchen and drying myself off from profoundly sweating – which apparently goes hand in hand with breastfeeding, Yep, that’s one the midwives kept quiet. I also have to change my top several times in a day for milk spills and baby spit up. Real glam..

I suppose what really had encouraged myself to begin breastfeeding were the health benefits and to develop a strong bond with my daughter, I felt that this was the best option for feeding my baby. The benefits seem endless.. protection from infection, building a strong bond, a formula designed specifically to my baby’s requirements. Not to mention the health benefits it has for myself; lower risk of certain cancers and a reduced risk of osteoporosis. It seemed like a win, win and the first time I was given Eleanor for nursing, she immediately had taken to it and found the perfect latch. This gave me the drive I had needed to continue to feed.

All was good and well, however.. nobody warned me of the effects of cluster feeding and what this meant for me. A one time independent woman had now become unable to make herself a cup of hot tea, or even use the bathroom without having a baby attached to her boob. After a few weeks of feeding, I have actually mastered the challenge of opening the biscuit tin and making the tea with one hand, baby in the other. This is a life saver during those late night/early morning feeds.

I didn’t know about cluster feeding and was never made aware of this until I began to do my own research after reaching my wits end with the round the clock feeds, these could take hours and would often leave me feeling drained and inhumane, especially come 4AM and I would still be awake, having not yet gone to bed, sat around the kitchen table, nursing. Surely, I couldn’t go on like this.

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What exactly is cluster feeding and what did this mean? Breastfed newborns feed often  – up to twelve times in a 24 hour period because breast milk is more easily digested than formula. A Baby’s stomach is the size of a small marble when first born and needs to be replenished with frequent feedings. Cluster feeding happens when babies want to feed more often, in a condensed period of time. In the first week, Eleanor cluster fed for at least three hours a night, every night. I have been told this will pass. This stage of newborn nursing is frustrating and exhausting but I have faith it won’t last forever. I just have to push through and make myself comfy for all of those late night feeding sessions.

I find that I don’t often have the luxury of sitting down. Eleanor does tend to be unhappy unless she is held upright and can have a fussy time during the day’s. I usually spend most of my time with my newborn attached to my breast unable to even take five minutes out from my day to have alone time. As I write this, I have Eleanor on my lap. I understand that it is comforting for her and that she is still so young that she needs the comfort of being held close, however a little space would be nice from time to time. It does begin to take it’s toll and become lonely sitting awake through the nights nursing her and spending the days unable to do much for myself due to having to feed on demand. I get as far as a shower; drying my hair, applying make up, choosing a nice outfit to wear.. that is all put on hold. I am ensured however, that this will pass.. I just have to see it through and break the barriers to get to a stage that I need to be with her nursing.

Knowing that this phase shall pass and that Eleanor is getting the benefit of milk specifically suited to meet her daily requirements and needs so that she can thrive, helps me get through the marathon feeding sessions and deal with the lack of a normal sleep routine. Although, what exactly is a routine with a newborn? I’d like to hear from any new mum who has a set daily routine that they follow. It just doesn’t happen… at least not in this household.

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For now, the knowledge that this stage will get better and knowing that I have a happy, healthy and content baby is good enough for me to get by. I’ll get a good night sleep again, one day.