Wednesday, 23 April 2014

breastfeeding - the struggle

Breastfeeding really has been a rollercoaster that starts and stops, jerks forward and back with lots of upside downs along the way. 

Pre-tongue tie
Hugo was latching on well but he was feeding really frequently - up to 18 times a day! I coped through the days of building the milk supply, but on other days, unless we were out or he was asleep he’d want to do nothing but feed and the evenings were particularly exhausting. I felt like things should have calmed down so thought about how I could encourage him to feed less frequently and for longer each time.

I realised that he was falling asleep on the boob. I tried to wake him and keep him going so that he'd take more, but despite me trying to wake him and keep him going, he’d fall asleep and then want more not long after. I think he had to work doubly hard because his tongue-tie made it harder for him.

The bigger he got, the more difficult it was to keep him in a good position and he was also very wriggly, perhaps sometimes out of frustration. His latch also got gradually worse and I was constantly having to re-latch him. The more tired I was, the less mental and physical strength I had to constantly take him off the boob and re-latch him, so sometimes I'd let him feed with some discomfort. Because of this my nipples have become red and tender so breastfeeding has become more and more unpleasant.

I built up to the tongue-tie in my head and coped with the discomfort and exhaustion, hoping that things would improve after the tongue-tie snip.

Post tongue-tie
The doctor told me to re-train him to make sure he didn't fall asleep at the boob, but that's pretty difficult in practice! To start with I thought things had really improved as I was encouraging him to feed for longer, the latch felt good and there was longer between feeds, (apart from the first day of constant feeding to re-build the supply) however his latch soon went back to normal, as did his habit of falling asleep on the boob.

I feel like the tongue-tie snip came too late, as he was already in his own routine. I did everything I could to wake him but he went back to feeding little and often and his latch started hurting. I was becoming exhausted and didn't have the energy to hold him up properly and support him in a good latch. 

After a week of persevering after the tongue-tie snip and a month of breastfeeding, Adi and I decided that we should introduce the bottle for some feeds before I hit rock bottom. We intended to mix breast and bottle if he would swap between both, so that Adi could do the odd feed and give me a longer break to help with my tiredness and breast discomfort in the evenings. We also thought it may help us to ensure he had a good evening feed, being able to see the amount of milk he was taking.

He took the first bottle of expressed milk really well and went back to the breast very easily for the next feed so we will see how it goes mixing both.

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