Monday 24 June 2013

Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt

Yesterday, 23rd June, marked the first day of the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt. Many of you will know that I am not breastfeeding. I'd like to share my story.

When I was pregnant, I was determined to breastfeed. Bottle feeding was not an option. I didn't even buy any baby bottles as I was that sure that I would breastfeed. I was really looking forward to the bond and closeness with my baby and stereotypically, young mothers are seen as too lazy to breastfeed so I wanted to show that that's not true.

I went in and had C, you can read my birth story here, and because he was taken straight to the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit and I didn't get to see him for the first two days of his life, I was encouraged to express milk. He was only taking around 1ml at a time so I got my colostrum and then a very small amount of milk and continued. It upped slightly and I did find it extremely difficult. 

I had a 10 day hospital stay following the birth and I got Chris to bring me a breast pump, manual, as I had to share the hospital's electric one. I couldn't get more than 20ml per breast at each time. I tried looking at photographs of C and expressing every 3 hours, even through the night when milk supply is at its highest, but I was still unable to get large amounts. I felt embarrassed bringing my tiny bottles of expressed milk to the NICU. One night, I cried my eyes out to the staff. He was needing more milk so was being topped up with formula. He was still in his incubator and being fed through a tube. She told me that it's perfectly fine and it's hard for some people and that C was happy and thriving. She said "at least he's had some of your milk and especially the colostrum" but I still didn't give up. I still brought up those tiny amounts every few hours. He needed it.

I was discharged from hospital and C was brought to the Special Care Unit and into a cot so I could lift him. It was always very awkward visiting C. I felt like I was just there to see him and the nurses were looking after him. I was only offered the opportunity to try to get him to latch on once - and he wasn't able to get anything. In hindsight, I should have pushed it. I should have asked to do it more. They kept telling me that he was happy on formula. As a 20 year old first-time mum to a premature baby who didn't have a clue about anything, I listened to them. I stopped expressing and let them put him on formula. Even writing this post, nine months on, brings tears to my eyes. I let him down. I didn't push.

With any future babies that I may have, I will try my best and push more. But let's just say I am successful. I'll feel so guilty (well, even more so than I already am) for C. That I could breastfeed one of my children and not the other.

10 comments on "Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt"
  1. You should never feel guilty. Breastfeeding is hard at the best of times, but your body went though serious pre-eclampsia, along with the emotional roller coaster of having a preemy. You gave him what you could. You gave him EVERYTHING you had. I'd say that's far more commendable.

    And in future, do speak up to those midwives. They can be a pushy lot and forget that that's YOUR baby lying there. Your his/her Mummy. Not them. ;) xx

  2. popping over from the mid week blog hop. Really don't feel guilty. I know easier said than done, I had to stop after a week with my youngest because the antibiotics i was on made my milk horrible :( I in hindsight wish I had carried on but I have a healthy and happy baby which in the end is the only thing that matters. xx

  3. MamaMummyMum, you're right! There could have been so much wrong with C with him being born so early but he's happy & healthy! xx

  4. with my 2nd I ignored everything the midwife said unless I deemed it either necessary or preferred by me, I had a happy, healthy baby who is now a happier, healthier child. Never feel guilty, first children we always listen to all the babble, do what feels right for you x

  5. Multi Layer Mummy, I wish I'd done that. I'm normally a shy person so didn't really like telling them what to do as these people knew more than me! x

  6. Don't feel guilty for C. I know it doesn't help much to hear, but I have 2 sons, and I didn't breastfeed any of them. It's fine - they still grew up normal :) and they still love me :)
    Choose what you want and what makes you feel comfortable with your second child, but always remember - breastfeeding, as important as it is, is only one aspect of motherhood, not the whole thing.
    Sending you a hug :)

  7. Don't feel guilty at all, at least you tried and he got the very best start with your colostrum.
    Just having given birth my son was attached literally all day on day 2 of being brought into the world and worked very hard to get his milky reward. I think we forget just how hard it all is!!

  8. Thanks you two :) I'm too shy and introverted!

  9. yuou shouldn't feel bad at all, you listen to what health professionals told you. Look at C hes clearly healthy and strong.