Sunday 22 June 2014

Keep Britain Breastfeeding: Support is essential

The right support really can change everything about breastfeeding, I know that without Michael I wouldn't have survived the first few days or when the health visitor first visited me at day 14 and accused me of 'Not feeding my baby enough' (Michael returned home to me in floods of tears) or when we found out Isabelle was dairy intolerant and others told me to put her onto formula as her weight gain wasn't enough she was born at 8lb 6oz and at 13 weeks old she is 10lb 7oz so yes she is slow at gaining weight and she has dropped 4 on her chart BUT like Michael reminds me, she's otherwise healthy and developing lovely, smiling and happy and to remember I had an emergency c-section under general, I had retained products, I've not had it easy and then she was dairy intolerant, to remember that for the week dairy was completely cut out of my diet she put on 7oz so it wasn't that I wasn't feeding her enough and it isn't that my milk isn't 'good enough', it is simply that she was reacting to the cows milk protein thats why she hadn't gained.
So Michael who was stood by me pushing me back up, passing the tissues and providing the cuddles I am very greatful and so is Isabelle because she's tried special formula from the doctors once and she HATED it. If she could speak like Oliver she would call it 'yucky'. Michael even made Isabelle's first feed possible after I had my c-section as I was in so much pain he helped me get her into the right position.

Our top tips for your partner to support you in early days of breastfeeding:

  1. Reassure them newborns don't need much milk, they've tiny tummies and your boobs know what to do! When you need more, they'll make more... very clever things they are.
  2. Remind them that it takes time to master the latching, some babies get it sooner than others and some need a little bit of help for a while. Isabelle now goes straight to my boob no adjusting required. 
  3. Be there with cuddles and tissues when 'baby blues' attack!
  4. Recommend massaging/ hand expressing sore engorged breasts to release a little milk when they are sore.
  5. Try to get her to rest when baby sleeps in those early days but don't nag her, maybe sometimes she just wants five minutes to herself 
  6. Don't be afraid to say no to visitors - we didnt have any for ages other than grandparents.
  7. Provide drinks and tasty treats 
  8. Stick up for her if others say anything about changing to formula
  9. Let her have privacy from guests - I always used my snoob.
  10. Remember it's natural but isn't always easy to begin with even if its your second, third or fourth baby!
I've not yet experienced anything negative while out breastfeeding and I am thankful that everyone seems to have been supportive so far, even the man in morrisons who put our trolley in a locker when Isabelle just needed feeding straight away in the middle of the food shop. She actually done her first smile that day that I caught the end of on camera...
We did have one really hard evening with Isabelle, I think it was her second night at home when she was just over tired and wouldn't latch on to my boob to suck - she wanted to milk and she wanted it straight away so Michael went off to his parents house with the breastpump we had at the time because it needed to be sterilised along with a bottle but one problem - we didn't own a microwave! (We do now) When he returned I expressed a little and fed it to Isabelle, she was so hungry and it was finished in seconds. So while her eyes were closed I quickly moved her onto my breast and she didn't even notice a different and happily had the rest of her feed from me. That evening while Michael was at his parents I did talk to someone from the NCT breastfeeding helpline which was very helpful, they did actually stay on the phone to me for a while and suggest things I could try to get her to take milk from me. I've also heard of the La Leche League helpline too but haven't used it personally. It's fantastic these things are out there though.

I have attended breastfeeding support at the childrens centre and I was the only one who went so I had about an hour just to chat with a trained breastfeeding advisor who was very helpful and reasurred me I was doing all the right things. She gave me lots of leaflets to take away and read and whenever I have any questions I either pop in or I give her a call.

There is a breastfeeding cafe group for breastfeeding mothers to meet up and I keep meaning to attend, I think it would be great to go off out for a coffee (or dairy free tea, hehe) with another breastfeeding mother and share tips/advice, maybe that group would be ideal for people worried about feeding while out.. I just use my snoob, my baby needs to be fed then shes being fed and if someone doesn't like that then they can move away from me, as far as I see it I'm not doing anything wrong and no boobs are ever on show by me because I don't want them to be.

I did get one stupid comment while combined feeding Oliver... "Why breastfeed? It's disgusting, what do you think they made SMA for?" I was fairly shy then and I didn't reply but nearly 5 years later (omg is Oliver nearly 5??) I would give her such a reply she wouldn't know what to do.

If you are struggling and need support you can contact La Leche or Nct and I'm no expert but if you want I'm always a blog comment away or you can tweet me @mummymemories

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  1. My babies and I support each other.

  2. My sister said no one just herself

  3. My younger son was allergic to dairy too!! I cut it out of my diet completely for the first 3 months and it was so hard. At 9 months he still gets some pretty horrendous nappies now if I drink a lot of cow's milk. My husband has been the most amazing support though, like yours it sounds like :-) I also was nervous about feeding in public imagining everyone looking at me flashing my boobs but I fed in front of a mirror and then realised how little anyone else could actually see - certainly a lot less than most people wearing bikinis! So now I just wear a two layer top and feed anywhere :-)

  4. great piece, NCT for me too

  5. My friend who was very successfu at it 

    Lynsey Buchanan

  6. Unfortunately I didn't breastfeed x

  7. My mum was my main support, in so many things x

  8. I have a fantastic group on friends on the internet who were my rocks, we met on an internet forum and started a Facebook group and are still as close 2 years on as we were when we were all pregnant.

  9. Great post - really heartfelt. Thank you. My greatest supporter is my husband too.

  10. My husband at times, but I think I provide myself with the most support, I remember what it was like sterelising and making bottles for my son, I hated it, and thats enough motivation for me to get through the toughest days

  11. My mum was very helpful with good advice


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