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Day 9 I love breastfeeding

I am currently breastfeeding my third child. I love the bonding that comes with breastfeeding, and the practicalities. It is always ready, it costs nothing, it is instant comfort for a new baby.

My first child miss i took to the breast with no problems. We both seemed to know what we were doing albiet I probably offered it too much in the first couple of weeks.

Baby number two was a bit fussy and we took some time to get our act together. It goes to show that it is a team effort and although I could claim 18 months of previous experience, she was a novice. She always did have her favourite breast but to prevent engorgement in the first few months, I tricked her with the football hold on her least favourite side. She was very resistant to give up the breastfeeding and I always joked that given the chance, she would still be breastfeeding when she started school.

Baby number three had attachment issues – not to me, but his milk supply. He was basically lazy and would pull off and suck on only the end of the nipple. Anyone who has breastfed knows that this is like rubbing sandpaper on a very tender part of the body! My nipples became cracked and bled with each feed. I sought help from the breastfeeding clinic and swabs confirmed a staph infection, preventing the wounds from healing. His attachment had improved by two weeks of age, but by then the damage had been done. The initial five seconds of every feed saw me clench my teeth and tears escaped my closed eyes until the milk started flowing. I took him off the breast for 24 hours while I allowed the antibiotics to do their magic, and to give myself time to recover from the agony. In the interim I ‘finger fed’ my little man which means I expressed my milk and offered it to him with a feeding tube against my finger. He thinks he is still getting a warm nipple to feed with and he sucked the milk up at his own pace. Given the trouble we had with establishing attachment, I wasn’t going to risk introducing a teat.

As soon as the antibiotics cleared the infection, the wounds healed and we were on the path to successful breastfeeding.

It was a valuable experience for me. As a neonatal intensive care nurse for 11 years, I had encouraged many mothers to learn the art of breatfeeding. And I had always believed it is something both the mother and baby need to learn together. Unfortunately it is not openly taught and talked about from one generation to the next, and like all pharmaceuticals, the formula industry is a multi million dollar industry which markets the alternative as an easy option when things are going tough.

Well, at fourteen months old, it is time to start weaning my bub from the breast. I have been successful in the past of weaning straight from the breast to the cup, avoiding bottles altogether. My little man is very attracted to his milk supply! I love teasing him in the bath by lowering myself under the water and watching him try and figure out a way to score an extra feed. We are now at the stage where he can’t see me naked without his eyes lighting up and calling for “goo”. Interestingly enough he first referred to a breastfeed as “unger” and it wasn’t until someone pointed out to me that everytime he gave signals for a feed, I would ask “Are you hungry?” Hence ‘unger’. Well I am not sure what goo is but if he is no longer hungry, then it is time to wean.

The weekend went well and he only had a breastfeed to start the morning (pure laziness on my part to refuse him at that cold, dark time of day), and to end his day (this was the last feed I gave up for the girls just because I loved the bonding time before bedtime). He has happily had a small cup of milk after his meals during the day.

Part of me is desperate to claim my body back as my own, but part of me is already wistful that this will be the last time I share this experience.

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2 Responses

  1. I wish now that I had breastfed longer. Back in those days it was the accepted thing to do to give baby a bottle, so that’s what I did when hubby wanted “his” toys back….

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