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My experience

(7 Posts)
LisaHuckett Wed 21-Feb-07 10:46:48

I just wanted to post something about my experience with bottle/breastfeeding.

My labour (as I'm sure was the same for many others) was horrific. I was due to be induced as I was 2 weeks overdue and after waiting in the hospital from 9am, my waters broke of their own accord at 5pm, just as they were about to take me to be induced. From that moment on labour and contractions were full on. To cut a long story short, after 15 hours, a ventouse delivery and a rather large tear my darling Lily was born (9lb 6oz). Lily was very special to me as before having her I had lost 4 pregnancies and a fallopian tube (2 ectopic pregnancies followed by 2 miscarriages).

I was determined to breast feed, had attended the rather lengthy workshops and couldn't wait. So, about 30 mins after I had finally given birth the midwife said to me 'are you going to breast feed' and when I said yes, she said 'off you go then' and left the room. I couldn't get my baby to latch on, she screamed and screamed and then gave up and fell asleep.

After that, every time I tried to hold my baby to breast feed she just screamed. I continuously asked for help, the midwives would try and help and then would suggest that my baby didn't seem to like her head being held (possibly as a result of her position in the womb and the delivery). All I was told was 'keep trying' which I did and my baby continued to cry as she was hungry. One night I lay down with her latching on and off (badly) for nearly 2 hours and she still continued to cry as she wasn't getting what she needed.

In the end, I told the midwives that the breastfeeding was going slightly better (which it was) so that they would let me leave the hospital where I was getting no real help and felt so alone.

The first night at home was horrendous, it was 30 degrees outside and my baby cried and cried every time I attempted to latch her on (lying on the bed which was the only way I had any success). She took only very small amounts before giving up, us both covered in sweat and crying. I worried about her dehydrating as it was so hot.

The next 10 days, midwives came daily, everyone said, 'yeah, she's not happy with this is she' before leaving with the great advice 'just keep trying'. I could not leave the house as the only way she would take any milk was lying on my side (and even that was not good). I went to workshops, accepted any help going, tried to express milk but still it didn't work. I dreaded my baby waking up as I knew the battle that was coming. I was exhausted, couldn't eat anymore and was not enjoying my so wanted and loved baby. If I suggested giving her a bottle, the midwives frowned at me and told me to persue the breast feeding. You really shouldn't bottle feed!

Finally, I went to the shop and cried whilst buying formula and bottles etc. I hid the bottle feeding equipment when the midwives came as I felt so ashamed. Believe me, I am a strong confident women and yet here I was hiding from the health visitors and midwives.

So, finally my baby took the bottle and I never looked back. She was happier and content, I could take her out of the house, love her and finally enjoy being with her. I finally told the midwife that arrived that I was bottle feeding and I said how disappointed I had felt with the midwives in particular. She was fantastic and told me some of her colleagues were bloody stupid and she admitted that she herself had failed to breast feed.

I completely agree that 'breast is best', I know that breast feeding is not a walk in the park and I envy the closeness that it brings for some. If I have another child I will try again, but I will not beat myself up about it if I fail!

My baby is now 7 months and is happy, smily and a joy to be with.

I just wanted to share this rather long waffle with you all as I finally needed to get this off my chest!!

Lisa xxx

shonaspurtle Wed 21-Feb-07 10:55:19

Oh Lisa! I'm sorry you had such an awful experience when you should have been enjoying the first few days with your little girl . That's awful that the mw & hv made you feel like you had to hide the formula!

It's so frustrating that there doesn't seem to be any evidence-based, consistent support for mothers who want to bf and are having difficulties. Groups such as La Leche League, NCT, Association of Breastfeeding Mothers do a great job but this should be something that is provided to a high standard across the board on the NHS.

LisaHuckett Wed 21-Feb-07 11:06:56

Hi Shonaspurtle.

Thank you for your comments, yes, it's a shame the support I received until the final midwife that I met was so poor. I was determined and I looked for help but when it's so hot and your baby is not feeding and the best advise is to keep trying, it's not really good enough. I believe that breast feeding should be promoted but when it fails, surely the most important factor is that the baby is being fed, even if it is not breast milk. Oh well never mind. I'm sure one day I'll stop beating myself up about it!!

Lisa x

Sorry, posted this in the wrong place!!

shonaspurtle Wed 21-Feb-07 11:56:21

You don't have anything to beat yourself up about!

I kind of did the same as you - exaggerated how well the feeding was going to get out of hospital. I kind of regret that as I think I could have saved myself a lot of pain if I'd stayed another couple of days, but on the other hand it was my community midwife who referred me to the breastfeeding clinic where I got the help I needed to bf successfully in the end.

Ironically, the clinic was held on the same corridor as my postnatal ward but none of the midwives mentioned it. Next time if I have the same problems I'll be much more aware of the help that's available.

On the upside for you, there's lots of stories on here of people who couldn't bf one child but managed no problems, or got better support the next time - if that's what you decide you want.

yellowrose Wed 21-Feb-07 16:50:11

Lisa - I am sorry that you had such a hard time. Most women receive crap support when it comes to bf.

My DS (now 2.8 and still bf) was also difficult to get latched. He was 17 days early, born with a cone shaped head, so like yours probably didn't like head touch and possibly a bit traumatised so would not feed. He was also born in 30 degree summer temp. in London. No one told me to keep trying. No one told me to hand express colostrum, which is what you are supposed to do when baby doesn't latch for the first few days.

ALL except one mw and a friend knew nothing and did not help. I bf DS lying down (serious pelvic pain) for the first 8 months of his life, including all the day feeds.

Bf isn't easy. Perhaps our health profs. should know this and tell people that it is hard and needs masses of determination and motivation. It is a shame they don't/can't support us either physically or pschologically. I always felt like I was left out in the cold.

pelvicflawed Wed 21-Feb-07 17:07:54

Lisa - you should feel really proud that you gave bf a a good go and that you have made decisions that have made both of you happy and healthy. My experience was not disimilar - induced after going overdue, had low birth weight baby, re-admitted as DS lost too much weight(pumped for England on those industrial expressing machines), let out and lo and behold five weeks later DS still losing weight. I too had been to every class when preganant and knew all the theory but when it came to the reality I got lost - in hindsight I now think I needed to do a 'babymoon' type thing to get my milk really going but I didn't know. It was a relief to finally go on the bottle both of us were happier. Like you if I do it again I'll def try bf but won't punish myself it dosen't happen.

pelvicflawed Wed 21-Feb-07 17:30:50

Forgot to say one of the things that made me feel better was seeing a NCT poster that went along the lines of every breast feed counts - it said something about every breast feed made a differnce even if you only do it for a short while. When I saw that and reflected on my experience as a 'learning one' my up to then feeling of failure turned into a feeling of success (+ I was older andi wiser).

You should have seen me the first time I bought formula - was convinced someone would spot me (haven't felt like that since I was buying alcohol under age!!) - chose a quite chemist, scanned round just in case I was going to be spotted!!!!!! - looking back now it was v. funny (but definitely not at the time)

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