Monday, 14 April 2014

breastfeeding - the gush

Just when I thought I'd cracked the colostrum, the baby had to re-learn everything when the milk came in as the density of my boobs and feel of the nipple changed. It was an incredibly difficult night, for hours no matter what I did, he could not latch.

The feeling of not being able to feed your baby, when you can see they are hungry is awful and incredibly frustrating. It tests your limits. I think Adi was ready to crack and if we'd had formula in the house we'd definitely have used it, but I'm so glad we persevered. I rang the F.A.B. helpline and they reassured me that I was doing everything I could and it was probably the tongue tie, which made Adi and I consider snipping it ourselves! 

In the end Adi was able to take the baby and calm him while I used a hand express pump (invaluable) to express some of the milk, which helped to soften them as they were rock solid, and get the flow going. I also had a sleep which gave me the energy to try again. When I did Hugo latched on straight away and fed well. To help me and Hugo, I was very conscious to remain calm and keep my heartbeat steady even when he was struggling and I was exhausted. Having the support of a partner was invaluable, as he simply wouldn't have settled had I not been able to pass him over away from the smell of milk at times.

I kept massaging the boobs between feeds to loosen them as they were hard and lumpy, and fed little and often (on demand) which helped to establish the milk supply. This stage was the most painful, but only the pain that all women experience as their milk is 'letting down'. 

Then, just as we thought we'd cracked the milk, it would appear that my body was just teasing. The milk comes in gradually and each feed is different from the one before. Suddenly my boobs were less hard and lumpy and just huge and soft, full of milk which was leaking everywhere! The milk flow was far too fast and too much for baby to cope with! I used the hand pump to express to help get rid of the access fluid to make it easier for Hugo.  For a good few feeds we seemed to have cracked it with me expressing a little before if I felt the boob needed releasing.

Finally, the milk flow settled and he got used to feeding without me needing to express before. By the end of the first week I was still taking it a feed at a time, but he was latching well and the milk supply had settled. 

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