God gave us women breasts for two reasons. 1. To feed babies and 2. So men would have a reason to talk to us. That last one is a joke. This one is more for the new mummies, and in particular, those mummies who maybe didn’t have such a wonderful time breast feeding as they thought they should have.
Little Miss was born via an emergency c-section which means I didn’t start to produce milk that quickly. They put her on my chest after she was born to stimulate the milk but it took about five days to “come in” which meant the hospital put her on formula so that she wouldn’t loose anymore weight (She was very underweight when born). When your milk does eventually come in, you sure as hell know about it! It doesn’t matter what size your boobs started off at, you can still expect them to get pretty big. Think Pamela Andersen except instead of bouncing freely as you run down the beach, arousing men all around the world, yours look like plastic bags full of cottage cheese that have been left in the sun to harden. No joke.
In the meantime while I was waiting for my Pamela Andersen tits, I was faced with another problem. Little miss was tongue and lip tied. Basically, her lip was anchored to the bottom of her gum and her tongue was anchored to the bottom of her mouth, which meant she wasn’t actually able to latch on to the boobie to start with. Now those mummas who know how it feels to have an incorrect latch, holla at me! Those who don’t, imagine a tiny little wobby shark. You know, the ones without any teeth? Remember trying to catch them when you were a kid and they’d sort of suction themselves to you and by the time you got them off you ended up with an epic hickey? Got that in your mind? Ok, good. Now imagine attaching two of them to each nipple and just leaving it there for an hour for them to chew on and suck with their little rigid gums. Pull those bad boys off and what do you have? Cracks, blisters, blood and a great deal of pain.
So I didn’t get off to the best start. I did get Little Miss’ tongue and lip tie cut (a story of tears and snot from mum. A whole other blog I’m sure) but by then she point blank refused the boob. A couple of weeks in, I was in a really dark place. I was so disappointed in how my birth had turned out, beating myself up for not being able to exclusively breast feed and I couldn’t remember not being in tears on any given day. I hadn’t had any sleep and I was constantly in pain. The sheer amount of pressure I put on myself was insane.
It wasn’t till I had a visit from my community midwife that things started to turn around. She told me the most important thing to focus on was myself because if I wasn’t happy, Little Miss wouldn’t be happy. If breastfeeding was pushing me down the path to post natal depression then I needed to change what I was doing so that it worked for both of us. From that day, we reintroduced formula top ups and expressing on top of breast feeding. By my next midwife visit, Little Miss had put on 600grams in one week, I’d caught up on some serious sleep and everyone was much happier.
Full props to those who exclusively breast feed, a big “good on you” to those who combo feed and a “you’re doing a great job” to those to formula feed because you are doing what’s best for you and your baby. There are plenty of people out there who are happy to tell you they had no issues or who will pass judgement on how you’re going about it but at the end of the day, you’re a great mum and you really are doing a wonderful job. That’s all that matters.