Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Proudly poking legs

I'm proud. Proud of my baby and me. And this unashamed, glorious, giddy pride comes from not having been there before. So don't shoot me if you didn't manage to/couldn't breastfeed. I feel the pain. Today though, I feel the joy. The joy of these chubby legs, the joy of a baby that is clearly bursting out of the carry cot (and we only used it a handful of times!).

Snowflake is 24 weeks and exclusively breastfed. I never thought I'd be able to say this. Yesterday she had a cooked carrot and the nappy tells me she did manage to swallow some (to my surprise). We will soon be weaning onto solids (not just yet, she still ejects foods offered to her so not quite ready yet but I'll keep offering). Today though I want to celebrate the two of us for having made it so far.

With Cubling, we supplemented on and off, from 12 weeks, and when I returned to work (she was 23 weeks) I tried to express but didn't get enough for the two bottles she needed on my working days, so she had formula daily. Breastfeeding was hard, she fed long and often. I stuck to it through pain, blood and tears. There were many weeks where I gave it just one more day, one more feed. I was so ready to give it up. I now know that part of the problem must have been latch, possible some problem with her palate, and that she most likely never fed efficiently.

What a different story this time: Snowflake feeds quickly, if frequently - but you know, frequently is not bad if it doesn't last an hour! I'm more than happy to feed every 2-3 hours (or hourly while she had bronchiolitis, so she wouldn't bring up her feeds) if it only takes 10 minutes and I see a happy baby after the feed. I had no pain, no problems apart from early clusterfeeds. Before Snowflake was born, I vowed not to be so hard on myself about the breastfeeding malarky, to supplement when needed, surely mixed feeding can't be that bad (I now know why exclusive breastfeeding is actually better than mixed feeding but didn't 6 months ago).
Well, I didn't need to. Bottles and teats are unused (ok, I used the bottle once and gave her expressed milk). So are the just in case cartons of formula. I even threw expressed milk away, because I knew I didn't need it.
It was easy, convenient and I can't stop poking her Speckbeinchen (porky legs), knowing that I grew every cell of them.

And after this proud pat on the back, let the weaning mess begin.


PantsWithNames said...

Huge Congrats to you. It is quite special to be able to look at a baby and know that everything that she has came from you. You are right to be proud.

Good luck with the weaning. I don't envy you that. I'm really not looking forward to going through that all again - if only because breast fed poos are so much more pleasant than weaned baby poos!

Aussie Mum said...

Oh well done you. I too have one of those chubby breastefed babies - but he has just started on a little bit of solids as well.

Lately we have been having some breast refusal problems because he is teething. I sometimes threaten to give it up, but most of the time we both enjoy a nice cuddle with his feeds.

Laura McIntyre said...

Go you , as someone who beleive whole hearted in exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months i think you are amazing.
I am so glad you got an easy time of it this time around - i just wish it was more natural for everyone

Anonymous said...

Well you know I've had a similar experience with DD2. With Bun I had to supplement from about 9/10 weeks. A midwife had given me nipple shields to help with latching and I used to empty the blood out of them after feeding. It was painful (so many times I cried my way through the first few sucks) and stressful and by 4 months I'd had more than enough.

This time I vowed not to take any advice, not to let anybody poke my boobs and check how baby was or wasn't latched on, not to feel bad about giving a bottle. Maybe it was stress first time round that meant I was not producing enough milk for DD1 to put on weight, I don't know, but my laissez-faire approach paid off and I happily, exclusively breast fed for 6 months and am still breast feeding now at 18 months. I've half heartedly tried weaning and manage to distract her in the day mostly other than naps. But despite the lack of sleep it's been amazing.

I'm so glad it worked out so perfectly for you this time :-) J xxx

Bristol Parenting Cafe said...

Just hopped over from Mother of Purl...V is 3 months into weaning and my, but I'd forgotten the mess! Congrats on reaching this milestone, it has always been bittersweet when my babies started weaning, exciting but their 1st step to being independent from me.

Mwa said...

Well done you!

Muddling Along said...

Yay!!! Go you!! Go Snowflake!! Go your boobs!!

And I love that there is a word in German for chubbly legs :-)

cartside said...

@Pants with Names - oh the poos. I'm so not looking forward to them. They should put the poos in the list of reasons to breastfeed really.

@Aussie Mum - I've been bit thanks to early teething. Cubling never bit... I have to say biting is rather off putting. Hope he realises that breast refusal doesn't make the teething pain go away!

@Laura, it would be good if it came more natural, not sure why it can be so tricky. It really took me by surprise 1st time around.

@J, it's great when it so falls into place isn't it? And the lack of sleep - well, not sure if all formula fed babies really sleep better. Cubling never did when I supplemented, while I do know some breast fed babies who sleep through, and formula fed ones that don't.

@BPC good to see you here! it's bittersweet, but if it wasn't for the mess, I'm ok with that. I just feel that giving up breastfeeding will be hard this time around.

@Mwa, thanks! I still can't believe I actually did it.

@Muddling Along, here's to the next 6 months, ok, not exclusive breastfeeding but hopefully I'll still be going then.

talking to Hattie said...

I didn't 'manage' to B/F my 3 children (although we may be starting to work on number 4 and I have firm thoughts on it this time), and when I hear Mum's boasting about their B/F achievements I do feel envy, but not in a negative way. You started your post with an apology and I know why, but isn't it sad you have to. Society cant half make mama's carry a lot of guilt around. Anyway, it spurs me on to hear that it is indeed possible to B/F successfully and I am glad Mummies like you can remind us how wonderful it is when it goes right. Its posts like this which may help me make it possible the next time.
Well done you.

cartside said...

@talking to Hattie: I felt that envy too, with so many things, not just breastfeeding. I'll never forget opening that first carton of formula at 12 weeks with Cubling, I felt so low for many reasons. Yet I knew she was hungry and still feel it was the right thing at the time. I never thought I would exclusively breastfeed for 6 months, so I'm mightily pleased it worked out this time, and also how it worked out (i.e. with absolutely no problems apart from frequent feeds which weren't really a problem).

talking to Hattie said...

In reply-
I am trying to adjust my 'I cant breast feed' mind set (in part imprinted by a midwife), before I even get pregnant so I can build up a positive mental attitude before the irrational hormones of pregnancy and post birth kick in lol.



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