Thursday, 3 August 2017

2AM Breastfeeding Reflections

As I write this, you have been latched on since 8pm.  I don't know if you are teething, getting used to your new found love of food or just getting over your big sister pushing you every time you come near her, but I know you must be going through something. I know you need me right now, and I feel terrible, because all I want to do is make it stop. If I were thinking rationally, I might say I'm feeling touched out or it's the beginnings of feeding aversion, but all I can really think right now is that I wish that just for this moment you weren't attached to me, that you were able to sleep to sleep on your own without being attached to me. I know though, that were I to encourage you to come off of the breast, you would wake up and cry within 5 minutes, waking your baba and big sister, who is sleeping at the end of the bed.

So I don't. I leave you latched on. Let you continue to draw comfort from me while you sleep. I think back to our journey and think how far we've come. 6 months ago, I wasn't sure I would be able to feed you. Your big sister had been a good feeder, but I wasn't prepared for the pain and I gave up. I just couldn't face her and your baba stepped in with a bottle and that was that. In those early, difficult days, I wasn't able to get myself back to feeding her.

Things with you were completely different. I was prepared. I knew just how much it hurt, but I was determined to see it through and then you didn't latch. You refused the boob. So I syringe fed and then I bottle fed and I expressed day and night. Except you wouldn't take a bottle either. You would just chew it and all that hard-earned milk would just roll down your face. It was heartbreaking and I knew if we didn't find a solution soon, I would give up again. With your baba returning to work, I just wouldn't have managed feeding and expressing and looking after your big sister.

We were lucky though. With your big sister, we went to see a local lactation specialist. She made me feel awful and like it was my fault and was part of the reason that I gave up. Things have changed since then, although it's only been 2 years. Our local infant feeding team helped us through. There was one particular support worker called Kate who really got us through. She supported us when we needed supporting and referred us when we needed referring and I'm pretty sure without her, I would have given up again. It's a fabulous, free service that I recommend to any mother struggling right now.

So we'll be back again at the next infant feeding drop in session that they run, to talk through how I feel and to look for some gentle solutions. We've come so far. I'm not ready to give up yet. You're not ready to give up yet. So even if I want to move to the opposite side of the room from you when you are feeding all night, I can't and I won't. We just need a little support to make sure we get through.

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