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Beast Feeding - A New Mothers Diary

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Rebekah Joy
Rebekah Joy

I went to the antenatal classes (zzzzzz), regular midwife visits, listened to the never ending advice (yes I knew breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition, yes I knew it was best for baby and mother, yes I knew it was the cheaper option, yes. yes. yes!). Then there was the older generation, my mother and her cronies (formula is excellent and you wont get saggy boobs etc etc). The world had become boobs and  milk and I was only seven months pregnant. Besides I had big knockers so doubted that I would have many problems. It was hard enogh being pregnant so I didnt give it much thought.

Fast forward to the big event. It didn’t go to plan. When it was finally over, they put that squirming bundle of joy upon my chest and he squirmed his way to the target zone. Yes we had lift off, seemed everything was going to be ok, if only he would stop screaming. 

At the hospital they didnt give me any choice about breastfeeding. They woke me up, took 45 minutes to wake him up (let him sleep please..God no dont wake him up!). Even though I had decided to breasfeed, having the choice taken away from me and being forced to feed after a major traumatic event - well it got my back up. The hospital was full, I didnt even have a proper room. Exhausted, confused and bruised, we left early. Did a runner, which was probably a massive mistake.

A week later we found the problem. I just didn’t have the milk. The midwife was hesitant to agree, the statistics say only one percent of women don’t have enough milk (how to make a new mum feel like a loser). I sat on the couch milking myself into a syringe, all dignity out the window. In five hours I get seventeen mi. Feeling rather pleased with myself I called the midwife. She then informed me that a new born takes about 600mls a day. My baby was starving. There was talk of hospital and tubes. In the end that dirty old formula saved his life.

The next few weeks were a blur of expressing, tablets to increase milk supply (Domperidone - not to be confused with the champagne), brewers yeast (worked for a friend, did nothing for me). lactation tea ($18 dollars!) , nuts, steak, fish and chips, Guiness. Tigers milk and anything else that was supposed to be wonderful.

The New Zealand health cares are wonderful. Went to a lactation consultant twice (free of charge and once they came to my house), they taught me how to latch on, gave me a lact-aid (giant syringe to fill with formula that fits in with a nipple shield so baby breast feeds and takes formula at the same time - very messy and time consuming). They gave me a nipple shield (nipples too short, too flat, too long, too round, too pink, too brown) and a chuchu teat ($12 dollars a teat but is supposed to help baby to go back to the boob), but baby broke three of them and now wont go back to the breast. 

So after all this, the answer for me is the Domperidone tablets ($3 a prescription if your a NZ resident) and expressing every three hours and massive formula top ups. My milk supply has increased but I dont have those stories about squirting in the shower or leaking. In fact my breast pads sit unopened on the shelf.

Breast feeding is not easy, if it works for you, consider yourself very fortunate. If it doesn’t work, persevere, try everything you can and if it doesn’t work then do what needs to be done. I still express every three hours, and although my baby is 10 weeks old I am only getting 420mls a day. Do the sums, its not nearly enough as he is taking nearly 1000mls now. However I know I am doing the best I can. I refuse to let those old biddies at the coffee shops stare me down when I pull the bottle out!


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