Sunday, 27 May 2012 | By: The One Woman


Hunter is already a month old and I sit here watching this 11 pound little man smiling and kicking on his mat as I type. It seems like a time ago that I watched him come into the world, so tiny and me so clueless.

So many things have happened and I learn more every day. I have had to learn on my own, as I have found zero help in most areas. I wish that my anti natal classes had geared me up with information and warned me about certain things. I’m going to highlight some of the problems I have experienced this month and what I did to combat them. My recourses haven’t been from the Internet, midwives or books, I learned from my son and from other mothers.

I have fed Hunter exclusively on the breast for a month now with many ups and downs. I thought that as soon as Hunter was born he’d just latch on and we’d get on grand. Wrong. He wouldn’t come anywhere near to my breast and screamed when I tried to position him. The midwives were far too interventional and were trying to position us when we were both clearly not comfortable. When I say position they were grabbing the back of his head and shoving it onto my breast, which distressed us both. I desperately wanted him to have my colostrum so I had to spend hours hand expressing into a syringe and feeding him with that.
The penny dropped for us both when I laid down and put him by my side where I could talk to him and hug him onto my breast, so we fed lying down for a few days until I built up the confidence to sit up. By this point he was so used to being on the breast that he fed great. My point is to do what you feel is natural and how you feel comfortable and don’t let anyone intervene and touch you unless you feel that they need to. Most books, midwives and websites tell you about the standard positions and holds but that’s utter rubbish, I don’t hold my son in any of those positions! I hold him how it feels comfortable for me and for him.
After around 4 days of feeding him my colostrum I noticed that my breasts became rock hard, painful, leaked cups full of milk onto my bed and clothes and increased in size more than double. This is known as engorgement
I was very distressed and sat crying as I tried to feed him at 2am, as it was so painful and his head bounced off my breast when I tried to latch him on.
I didn’t know what the heck was going on and no one warned me about this.
To relive the swelling I used my Avent electric breast pump on both breasts until they emptied a little and then latched him on to feed. I also noticed lumps under the skin on my breasts (which I later discovered were blocked milk ducts) so I massaged them with a warm damp flannel over a sink of steamy water and also massaged them with my palm as I fed him. I found that taking paracetamol, inserting chilled cabbage leaves in my bra, long soaks in the bath and Laniosh nipple balm were all a great help as well. To soak up the leaks I used Laniosh breast pads and kept a terry towel in bed with me, it's not nice waking up soaking wet and they were the best absorbency that I could find. I also found that just wearing a nursing bra and robe were the best options because any nighties ended up sopping wet.
When my milk came in and I had just gotten over the engorgement issues I found that Hunter was screaming after feeds, became disinterested in feeding for up to 7 hours, didn’t soil or wet his nappies, pulled his legs up to his tummy and just screamed all night long. I lost it one night and rang the 24hour midwife helpline and she told me he probably had colic colic is basically when the babys stomach is learning to digest milk and baby becomes constipated, windy and has griping pains. Its very distressing if you don’t know what’s going on.
The midwife advised me to buy some infacol drops  I gave him 2 drops half an hour before or after I fed him and it took around 6 hours to work, I also fed him boiled then cooled water in an anti colic Avent bottle to keep him hydrated when he wouldn't feed.  A friend of mine suggested baby massage, so I went on YouTube and asked my health advisor to show me how to do it. I peddled his legs and massaged his tummy in a circular motion with the palm of my hand, this helped him poo and pass wind. He still occasionally suffers from colic but its far more under control now and I know what to do. 
Formula/combination feeding
The organic yummy mummies, midwives, books and tv will tell you that if you give your baby formula you are the devil incarnated. Don’t listen.
I have exclusively breast fed Hunter for 1 month now and I have started introduce formula into my feeding routine, as I Just can’t exclusively breast feed anymore. I have been talked down to about it and made to feel like ‘oh you tried your best but you gave up, there there’
My reasons are that my right nipple is so painful that I cry when he feeds even after taking classes and being told my health advisor that I am latching correctly, I feed every hour to 2 hours on both breasts even through the night, or every half an hour if he is being fussy. Try being a single mother with no help and having to feed that often. No one could seem to give me any solid advice on combination feeding, all I got was  'go onto formula, it's less hassle' or 'keep on breastfeeding its better for them' I was also told on many occasions that it would cause Hunter to develop nipple confusion because I would be using a bottle, breast and soothers. This has not happened, once your baby breast feeds for more than a month successfully and regularly then there is no confusion. Here is a great description of nipple confusion and here's an informative discussion on 

-When I introduced formula 
I made the decision to introduce formula to his night feeds so that I could get one decent nights sleep. I fed him at 10pm and 2am and that was it! I was absolutely amazed and relived that I slept for that long. I use stage one cow & gate infant milk
on the recommendation of a mother who uses formula exclusively, she’s tested them all so I went on her advice. There is a guide on the box of how to make up a bottle and how much to give a baby on the weight guide. There is also a 24/7 phone number on the box to call if you need any help. I called it a few times and was very pleased with the advice I received, as I had no clue about formula feeding. I also used the Avent anti colic bottles and steriliser (see post 9: The baby shopping list )
I have to admit that when I first put that bottle in his mouth I felt as though I was feeding him rat poison and that I was a terrible mother, I can’t describe it, after trying so hard to breast feed I felt like I was giving up after 1 month. This isn’t because it is true but because other people who do breast feed tend to guilt you.  
I am now combination feeding him and I'm so much happier. I can bottle feed 6 times if I want to (3 day, 3 night)  but if I want to replace a feed with breast milk and to bond with him then I do. I started out by just replacing 1 night feed and then introduced 2 in the daytime. It’s easier for me because I’m not feeding him all the time and he’s satisfied. He had trouble pooing due to the change in milk at first but I followed my colic routine and it sorted its self out within 1 night. 

Here's my general routine for a rough guide (remember no routine goes to plan every day!)
8am          breast feed
11am        bottle/sometimes breast depending if I get the bottle ready in time
2pm          bottle
5/6pm      breast feed then bathe 
10/11pm  bottle 
2am          bottle/breast if I'm too tired to make a bottle  
5am          breast

If you want to read a decent article on combination feeding click this link it's the best and least preachy advice I could find

I hope that it doesn’t sound all doom and gloom but I had to be honest, I wish someone had been as honest with me about these issues. Hunter brings me a lot of joy every day and I wouldn’t swap this responsibility for the world. 


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