Intro

My sweet baby girl. Sadie is not only beautiful inside and out, but patient, calm, cheeky, happy, a little daring, imaginative, flirtatious, can be shy to start with, determined, affectionate, logical, observant, sensitive, brave and strong willed. The journey of motherhood is the best lifetime adventure I have ever been on. Adventures are not always easy, but always fulfilling.

I have always loved to write, which stems from my love of books as a child, and wild imagination to go with it. It took me 8 months to pass my driving test, 8 months to fall pregnant and 8 months into breastfeeding to start writing about it. I was born on the 8th of the month so perhaps I should take it as a sign to be my lucky number!

I wanted to share a collection of memories from my breastfeeding journey as a new mother. Before Sadie was born, I was open-minded about breastfeeding, and chose to attend a community workshop as a recommendation from my midwife. This really opened my eyes, knitted boob props and all! Everyone loves an analogy, and the one that stuck in my mind was that breastfeeding for a baby is like eating a crusty baguette, in comparison with a finger sandwich. Therefore, give your baby a chance to learn a technique as it is hard work for them.

My intention for sharing my blog is not to promote breastfeeding, or to give an opinion on how you choose to feed your baby, but purely to share my personal experience as a first-time mummy. I also wanted to put my experience into words, as the haze of being a new mum can blur your mind, and didn’t want to forget these moments. Hopefully my words will make you smile, cringe, blush, reminisce, wince, relate, chuckle or just wander into the land of milk and mummy.

My food blog- Morello Cherry Food Collection was described as informal writing, designed for your imagination to join me at the dining table. I wanted to mirror this breast pads and all!

Press The Buzzer

After a long and difficult labour, the moment Sadie was placed in my arms, I knew I wanted to give it a go, although I had no confidence in the physicality of getting started. I was overjoyed, elated, on cloud nine but unfortunately very weak and waiting a blood transfusion approval after losing over a litre of blood. As soon as it was time to feed Sadie, I didn’t know what else to do but press the buzzer for help. I stayed three nights in hospital, and openly admit to pressing the buzzer every single time I needed to feed! Sometimes I felt a little embarrassed, but not afraid to say I felt out of my depth. I was unsure on how to comfortably position Sadie, as she was so delicate. I could not get comfortable, as I was strapped to a cannula for the blood transfusion preparation. In addition to this, I found sitting upright was too painful from my episiotomy. I was still lying on the bed in the emergency room, where I had given birth. My heart rate had been beating over 150bpm, so I was being monitored closely, before I could be discharged to the recovery unit. Although my skin was grey from being so weak, on the inside my heart was pumping with adrenalin.

The head nurse, Anne was by my side during and after delivery. Anne had a vivacious personality, and mentally encouraged me to push Sadie out naturally, although the consultant was stood next to me just in case an emergancy c section was neccecary. I nearly squeezed his hand off when I was ready to push Sadie out! Anne saw my struggle, and said “just put the baby to the breast and let her find her food.”After suggesting I lie down on my side to help ease the pain on my body, she effortlessly placed Sadie next to me, and that was that. This moment after Anne positioned Sadie correctly made all my pain disappear…. well not literally, but yes in that split second it really did. That warm and gushy rush of love made me feel so happy, and knew we would find our way together. Needless to be said, I still found comfort in pressing the buzzer regardless, so that is what I continued to do during my three days in hospital.

My question each time a nurse came to assist was always “is she on”, and the nurse pointed out her little jaw moving up and down. There are no measuring lines on your boobs to show you how many ounces she was drinking. I had to look for other ways to see if she was satisfied from my milk, such as the expression on her face, wet nappies and if she was content. I felt excited but at the same time a slight overwhelming sense of responsibility. Hormones aside, I still knew in my heart that my feeding journey had only just begun, and to just go with it.

 

Just The Two Of Us

I didn’t feel a desire to express my milk and feed Sadie from a bottle. Although this meant no one could help feed or put Sadie to bed, I wanted to cherish the experience between the two of us. It did feel daunting as a commitment, but in her lifetime a year or so is a very short space of time. I really appreciated help in others ways from Adam and my family and friends. The main things included things such as settling, nappy changes, bath time, helping with meals and walks in the pram.

Sadie’s signs for hunger became clearer to me, as I also grew in confidence as a mother. I watched her making tongue movements, and rooting to the breast as she was guided by my scent. All these signs helped me know when to feed her.  I have always used the clock as a guide, and spent between 25 to 40 minutes feeding. I used one side only per feed until she was about 5 months old, as felt she was getting enough milk this way.

Emotional Rollercoaster

My milk started to come in on day three in hospital, and my boobs really felt like they were inside my armpits. Tender is an understatement, and cannot put into words to express how they felt. The “floods of tears” I had read about came from absolutely nowhere on day three. I was unsuccessfully trying to change Sadie’s nappy mid waterworks, when the nurse so timingly knocked on the door. I knew this was completely normal due to the hormones from the milk, and had reassurance from the midwife too, although at the time felt like I was on an emotional roller-coaster.

Adam wouldn’t have believed me if I had told him it was possible to go shopping in a hospital, but I found a way! Let’s just say he wasn’t best pleased that I had spent £120 on a professional photo-shoot in the comfort of my own room!  When the photographer knocked on the door, in my all emotional state I just couldn’t help myself. I work in sales myself, and was so wrapped up in emotion, I knew I was being “sold to” and almost wanted this to happen. The moment I saw the slideshow of photos, together with sentimental music in the background, she must have seen pound signs in her eyes!

In the early hours of the morning I buzzed again for help with feeding. The nurse was chuckling to herself when I asked my repetitive question If “she was on” “This baby has got the best suck I’ve seen all week” she said. We could listen to her gentle gulping, and I felt the drawing feeling my Mum had described to me. It’s amazing what a little encouragement can do for your confidence.

Although I was still in terrible agony from the episiotomy, I did leave hospital feeling confident I could feed Sadie, and just figured I would worry about my own recovery later. I was just amazed how Sadie instinctively found her way to her food, with her rooting signs, and sure was a much faster learner then her mamma.

Mother Nature

Becoming a mother made me appreciate Mother Nature, the gift of life, its true meaning and how powerful the human body is. I was also very lucky I had a plentiful milk supply, and felt confident Sadie was getting enough milk from me, just by looking at her. On day five Sadie and I went back to hospital for some routine mother and baby checks following my transfusion and episiotomy. I felt so proud I could walk around the hospital feeding her with my muslin. it is expected that babies lose weight from birth and around 5-10 percent expected especially if breastfeeding, I was amazed she had only lost 2 percent, and this gave me more encouragement to continue doing what I was doing. My own recovery was a different story, and after being fed up wearing Bridget jones knickers, using endless pads, antibiotics, ointments and salt baths, three trips to a gynaecologist and a small procedure I was fixed, but not until three months later!

Reaching Out

I dropped into a weekly breastfeeding support group at my local children’s centre, which is a short walk away. I came here to ask questions, seek guidance on positioning, latching, gain confidence, meet other new mums in the area, discuss poo colour and all things boob related in a free, non judgmental environment. Sadie did have a green poo phase which then became my Google obsession in the middle of the night. Was it that I ate too much asparagus the night before did come up in one of my 4am google searches! After checking with my health visitor, who knew she was content, gaining weight, happy and satisfied, she told me to let it go! I found comfort in the support group, and made a big difference to my confidence and ability to perservere.

Oh The Glamour

Spraying, leaking, breast pads, need I say more to entice you! Welcome to the world of post-natal care! When you have a baby, I found there are so many lotions, potions, creams, and pads to apply on a daily basis. Popping two disposable breast pads inside my bra just became part of my morning routine. One day, I decided to skip the pads, and what a mistake this was. Let’s just say my nude colour silk shirt looked and felt like it had just come out the washing machine! Luckily the pads are just temporary, and once my boobs regulated themselves a couple of months in, I found there was one less thing to do in the mornings!

Say It Don’t Spray It

Once the milk starts to flow, this means the “let-down” has happened. I had a powerful let-down, meaning the first second or so of milk would spray out just like a shower head.  I was also able to feel my let-down before a feed was due, which was a mixture of pins and needles pulsating in my boobs, and the feeling of an epilator with a pricking sensation! If only I could see my body working this magic milk machine from the inside out!

As Sadie had such a strong suck from the beginning, she was used to my fast flow, and although often did a little splutter, she liked it. I called the spray “free milk” as she didn’t have to do any work to get this. I was laughing to myself thinking of the crusty baguette analogy from the breastfeeding workshop, and finally she was having a sandwich! I even rubbed the excess into her skin, as it is the best moisturiser. Just call Sadie Cleopatra, she did always seem to have a milky glow about her! If they were just too full for her to latch, I would hand express them for about 30 seconds into a muslin cloth which seemed to do the trick.

Release Me

I coaxed myself in the lanolin cream on a daily basis to help toughen my nipples up, and now they were made of steel! I was lucky to escape the cracked, bleeding and sore nipples and dreaded mastitus, but I did suffer with blocked ducts on about five separate occasions. The first time it happened was two months in, and could not understand what was causing the intense almost indescribable pain. I could barely sit up out of bed due to the lead weight feeling on my boob. I literally crawled out of bed, looked in the mirror and could see a small red lump. On pressing it I could actually feel the blockage inside the duct. Obviously, I spend the morning self-diagnosing and decided to call 111 as it was a weekend. I had a bit of a blessing in disguise due to the fact I was already on antibiotics, following complications with my episiotomy, and these could also help take the inflammation down. The remedy which worked for me included two days of ibuprofen, massaging using hot flannels in the bath, direct pressure from the shower head plus lots and lots of feeding. It was a good job Sadie liked her milk! The last but most effective part of my remedy is something only to be done in the privacy of your own home, but really did give instant relief.  You may have to read it twice to believe it, but for these two days I fed Sadie whilst I was leaning all fours and she was lying underneath me on her back. This google researched method worked so well because the gravity of my boobs dropped down, meaning she could directly get to the blockage for me. Blocked ducts can happen from lots of different things, but in my case, I think it was a mixture of bras too tight, sleeping on my tummy, using the sling and changes in supply.

All Night Long

Sleeping through the night is possible for babies, but only when the time is right. When I told the health visitor that Sadie had slept through for two nights from 7pm-7am in a row at nine weeks old, she cautiously said to me, just don’t get too excited, as things can change all the time. Low and behold she was right, and being a night owl is just part of being a mother, besides I had the most beautiful sleep thief! Once Sadie started sleeping longer stretches, it took about a week for my boobs to realise if they needed to make less milk. On he whole Sadie slept all night long on average three times per week until she was about seven months old when she starting sleeping consistently. One night, my boobs were so incredibly full, I just couldn’t wait for her to wake so she could empty them! On another occasion, it was just too unbearable to wait, and happened to be when my mum was staying over. Both of us were hysterically laughing in the bathroom whilst we squeezed my boobs covered with hot flannels at 4am in the bathroom. The things mothers do for their daughters! Obviously, my husband slept through all of the commotion!