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Friday, April 16, 2010

Anne’s Story

My mother breastfed all four of her children and my sister in law was breastfeeding her first child so I never thought about doing any different. My husband was fully supportive even though he had no experience of breastfeeding in his family. My pregnancy went very smoothly, other than a lot of heartburn. I could have bought share in the antacid companies by the end of the nine months!! Funnily enough when my son was born he didn’t have any hair, so the old wives tale didn’t hold true in my case. The birth went well but he got a bit distressed towards the end and gave us all a shock by not breathing or crying when he came out. Doctors rushed into the room and whisked him off. It was all very emotional but he came through ok. He had so spend 24 hours in intensive care in an incubator. I was able to sit with him and help change his nappy, in the incubator which was a surreal experience. He did not have his first feed until her was 24 hours old. The nurses in intensive care were very helpful and sat with me while I got him latched on. I felt all fingers and arms. Who would have thought it would be so difficult to hold a baby in your arms in the correct position but it was. He was then released to Special Care and the nurses there were great also. They would call me when he was hungry and would sit with me while I fed him. I soon was getting the hang of feeding from the right hand side but the left was a different matter. The nurses showed me some other ways of holding him and that helped. His blood sugars were low and they were worried about him on the third day and he could not be discharged. I fed him often and kept him wrapped up and by the fourth day he was allowed come home. The hospital provided a family room for me to stay on that last night as I had completed the 3 days allocated for the hospital stay.

The journey home was surreal. I felt every stone on the road and was never so nervous of my husband’s driving in all my life! My Mum and Dad came up to help us when we got home. My son fed often at the beginning so it was great having the help around as they could bring me water and food as I seemed to sit all day on the couch feeding him at the beginning. I used to joke that I would feed him, change his nappy, he would pee while I was changing so I would have to then change all his clothes and then it would be feeding time again! We were both getting used to the feeding and it started to get easier but it did take time and work for us both to learn what to do. I was anxious about feeding in front of my in laws as they had no experience of breastfeeding but they were great and didn’t bat an eyelid.
One morning I woke with a really sore breast. I took out the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, my bible at the time, and from the description it seemed like I had a blocked duct. They recommended rest, heat and frequent nursing. Just then the door bell rang and I went down to find the postman on the door with a parcel. I took it back to bed and it was a present from two of my cousins of a breastfeeding box. Included were two bean cousins that could be heated in the microwave and fitted inside your bra – talk about perfect timing. We stayed in bed for the day and nursed frequently and applied heat. By the next day it was starting to clear up.

I got great support from my family, the local health nurses and La Leche League. It is great to talk to other mothers who have the same experience as you and it can really help you with hints and tips. The public health nurses in Knocklyon ran a mother and baby group each Monday morning and I met many other local Mums and we all helped each other through those first months. Things got much easier, the feeds began to space out and the sleep got longer. At the time I thought that would never happen but it did.

I went back to work when my son was 11 months old. I continued to breastfed him until then. When he went to crèche he would breastfeed in the morning and evening and happily eat the meals in the crèche and drink from his cup. He did pick up a few bugs in the crèche but I can really see how the breastfeeding has helped his immune system. He got a stomach bug and was vomiting for 4 days but all the time I could still nurse him, which provided him with comfort and he was absorbing some of the nutrients before he would vomit again.
He is now 18 months and I still breastfeed him, mainly in the morning and evening. It is a lovely way to reconnect with him when I get home from a long tiring day at work. My family has a gene that is passed through the females that makes us very prone to breast and ovarian cancer. My mother suffered an ovarian cancer but never breast cancer, she puts that down to the protection that breastfeeding all of us gave her. So for my health, as well as for my sons, it was very important that I breastfeed and I continue to do so.

Posted on 04/16 at 12:44 PM

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