Testimonial – Liz from Birchwood Breast Start
I was moved to the post natal ward a few hours after the birth - it was horrendous. Nurses standing guard and scrutinising every move I made breast-wise! It was here that the I heard the mantra 'tummy to mummy nipple to nose' spoken aloud - I had read about it before the birth but didn't realise it was almost treated as the law! I hate those words now, I found myself repeating them in my head and didn't dare deviate. I was also urged to told to sit bolt upright ...I was intimidated to say the least when a line up of 3 nurses stood in front of me watching me trying to force Mack to latch on - they said I couldn't go home until I could manage to feed him ok but I so wanted to be out of there. I tried to let Mack find his way to the nipple and was immediately berated for it! They came back to witness him happily nestled against me & feeding quite happily - I had sneakily let him find his own route there as he clearly didn't like the 'approved' position or having a nipple shoved at him!
Here is a photo of my son following his first feed. He was placed to my breast shortly after the birth and fed for about 35 minutes and it was fabulous.
The midwife was very relaxed and simply placed him there and let him do his own thing while I laid back and relaxed! I decided there and then that breastfeeding was definitely for me but was very apprehensive as I had heard so many negative things regarding it and I did not know anyone who had been successful for any length of time.
After much battling I was allowed home the day I had him but I felt like I had 'cheated' and that I would have to learn the 'proper' way once I had got him home or I was doomed. Once home, however, I was frustrated that I wasn't enjoying feeding 'correctly' and was almost embarrassed to let the midwife or health visitor see me feeding as I felt awkward and uncomfortable but as a first time mother with no baby experience I stupidly took the 'advice' given without question and didn't say anything to anyone about it! Night feeds were awful at first as I perched on the edge of the bed almost falling asleep and in danger of falling off the bed - looking back it was ridiculous!
After a few days I decided that I just needed to go with the flow and started to lay back on the sofa to feed with Mack across my chest. Night feeds were transformed when I propped myself up on a couple of V shaped pillows and just let him get on with it. I could relax without falling asleep and I immediately felt we were both gaining a lot more from the experience! I feel stupid now when I think about it all but at the time I was also concerned I was doing things wrong as I had no pain at all from feeding and I didn't suffer with engorgement when my milk 'came in' on the dreaded day 3! He was born during the heat wave so I was naturally concerned that he was getting enough milk - books I had read had led me to believe he should be feeding for at least 20-30 minutes at a time but Mack never managed more than 10 although he was fairly regular! He had plenty of wet nappies (7 or 8 a day) , was gaining plenty of weight and seemed very content so I tried not to worry but, again, I felt I was not 'conforming'. Anyway, I've rambled on enough I think - Now you can see why I would have appreciated simply being told that there are alternative ways to breast feed! The hospital staff were obsessed with breast feeding without seeming to offer any practical advice except for the instructions printed in the government leaflets. I have learned now that, as a mother, your instincts CAN be trusted and that your baby is well equipped to feed himself given half a chance - I just needed someone to tell me this at the time!
Thanks again for the great presentation and advice - it has given me so much reassurance and a lot more confidence about things - I hope I can pass this on to any new mums I come into contact with through my peer supporting role in the future.