Thursday, 11 November 2010

Boobs about boobies

I thought the second time would be easy.  It should be shouldn't it?  After all Wriggly was breastfed to a year and he had a pretty bad start, what with the elective caesar for breech, the lack of milk, the mix feeding, the pain, and a large weight loss on my part.  This time was going to be better, because I was going to labour, I was going to know what to expect and I was going to be kinder to myself. 

We're at ten weeks now and I have mastitis.  It feels very unfair indeed.  After weeks of pain and nipple shields and sterilising and cracks and blisters and fissures and tears and advice things were finally, finally, coming right and then the red flare comes up, the flu-y feeling starts and this morning my partner had to drive me to the doctor because I was too ill to go by myself.  I nearly cried when I got there and the lift wasn't working.  I did cry as I explained it all to the doctor. 

I'm just not very good at breastfeeding a newborn.  I can't get the latch right, and I hate just sitting around while I'm being sucked on.  I need to read a book, or be online, or play a game, or make a phone call.  None of which is conducive to good positioning.  I do seem to have very sensitive nipples as well, and having already fed Snuffly's big brother for a year hasn't changed that. 

I asked myself earlier on in this process why I was so determined to breastfeed; what were the actual reasons why I was persevering.  Thinking hard there were two main ones;  because it gives me a sense of achievement and because it is so much more convenient for my life than dealing with formula and bottles.  Because of the nature of the way I live, Snuffly has been fed publicly many times already - in meetings, large and small, mainly.  No one has batted an eyelid to date, which is good because I'd hate to have to be rude to them.

Last time I had to start giving Wriggly formula in hospital, as I simply didn't make enough milk.  We mix fed until about three or four months, I can't really remember precisely, and then formula became a rarity, until I went back to work at nine months and had to be out a lot over the evening feed.  On his first birthday he gave up, but my supply had been dwindling for months.

I swore this time would be different.  My concerns about the pain have certainly been taken a lot more seriously than they were two and a half years ago.  The fact that I have already fed one baby for a year seems to give me a bit of standing, plus my Lead Maternity Carer has been a revelation of good midwifery compared to the last one.  But it was around this point last time that the pain lifted and feeding started to become an easy joy.  And that hasn't happened yet. 

It scares me - what if this time will be different because it will be worse?  Now that I've got antibiotics for the mastitis it seems to be clearing fast, but what about the thrush which we seem unable to shake?  Is this going to hurt forever? 

And am I going to have to give up?


Trouble said...

A world of joy opened up to me when I discovered I could read and feed at the same time. There's a trick with tucking a rolled up blanky around bub in a sort of L shape to hold him or her in place on a feeding pillow that means you can go hands-free once you're set up. Plunket showed me that one.

Doesn't fix mastitis though. Good luck.

Scuba Nurse said...

It isn't giving up, it's changing tack. Some times you can't sustain sailing into the wind for too long, it's hard on the ship and her sailors.
No matter how you do it you are giving snuffly nutrition, nurturing, quality time and love. If feeling guilty about how you do it is decreasing the qualit of that- let it go!
Looking forward to giving you some (gentle) cuddles!!

Scuba Nurse said...

Ps I hope the comment about how to have fun reading while feeding doesn't tip you to homicide!!!!
Like a post on depression getting the response "when I feel a bit sad I like to sing to myself" hehehe.

Nikki Elisabeth said...

I didn't really get mastitis so I can't give you a lot of info on that one (although I will say that the Kelly Mom website has a wealth of info about all things breastfeeding -

But as I'm sure you know, things really do change week to week when they are that young. The light at the end of the tunnel is there! Don't hesitate to get in touch with someone about any pain/sickness etc that you are going through though as you shouldn't have to suffer on through it.

I'll ask at work tomorrow if they have any contacts. Then you can choose if you wanna use em.


Anonymous said...

My GP prescribed acidophilus yoghurt - applied directly - for thrush. But I'd check with your GP or midwife before trying that.

I used to read while feeding - made sure book was close at hand, latched on then picked up book. It was esier with smaller, lighter books.

If that doesn't work could you have a DVD programmed ready to start when feeding?

Breast feeding may be natural but it doesn't always come naturally to every mother and every baby. It's easiest when both are relaxed but that's difficult when you're in pain.

Only you can decide if the convenience of breast feeding is worth the problems you're having. Whatever you decided, I second Scuba Nurse about nutrition, nurturing, quality time and love.

Wishing you luck and pain-free latching.

Deborah said...

Feed and read worked for me for a few months, and even feed and TV, but quite soon, my eldest became deeply interested in the world around her, and would turn away to look at whatever noise was going on. Because I am a small woman, I had to hold her up to my breasts, so I don't think ScubaNurse's technique would have worked for me, but I might have been able to manage it with pillows.

It isn't giving up, it's changing tack.

Brilliantly put.

My sympathies with the difficulties, and the pain, and the wretched mastitis.

Anonymous said...

My midwife recommended a tri-pillow to help support baby during breastfeeding. And although I love reading I think watching DVDs are easier to manage to holding a book one-handed. I have no firsthand experience with this, but apparently cold cabbage leaves (taken from the fridge) and inserted inside your bra are a great help with mastitis. There's something in the cabbage leaf that helps with infection, plus the coldness helps ease the hot discomfort. And I've been told by doctors previously to apply yoghurt to thrush.
It is of course up to you how long you persevere, but it does get better!

Alison said...

If you decide you're going to keep breastfeeding, your midwife might be able to make recommendations for a good lactation consultant (I know you're beyond the stage of having visits from a midwife, but most don't mind giving recommendations of that sort after they've discharged you). It might cost a bit for the consultation, but they should be able to help you find positions that are comfortable, effective and practical for you - breastfeeding takes so much time and you deserve to be able to read or go online or something in all that time if that's what makes it OK for you!

Violet said...

When I breastfed our daughter, I had difficulty getting her to latch on properly; cracked nipples; mastitis (twice); her falling asleep on me during most feeds; and - worst of all - a severe case of OOS in both wrists which caused much pain and discomfort for a whole year. I even had to wear wrist braces to support them. Despite all that, it wasn't as bad as I feared from reading Bestfeeding - recommended by my GP but full of horror stories of breastfeeding gone wrong.