I Can’t Remember When I Last Fed My Child

I remember the first time.

I can recall when he was born the frustration of knowing I had nursed 2 children previously without any issue and the midwife saying that he needed to be given formula right away because he just wasn’t taking enough from my breasts. I remember feeling confused as to why the act that I ha20141017_171337d assumed would be as natural to this hairy little beast as it had been to his brother and sister was just not happening.

I remember feeling pissed off with myself because as much as I knew that I wanted to breastfeed I was just too tired to argue after being in pain for hours before. I remember the temporary relief as he was taken away for his “first proper feed” as they put it and then of course that first flush of our favourite – Mummy guilt.

Mummy guilt is a bitch. I don’t know about you but for me it is there from day 1 right through to, well, I don’t know the answer to that because actually I am 15 years 7 months and 5 days into being a Mum and that guilt has been ever present. That’s ok and I think I would miss it now if I didn’t feel it.

I remember how sad I felt when the midwives (who really were just trying to help I am sure) offered to go get a bottle of formula the following day when again my tiny boy just would not latch. All I could do was in my hospital bed feeling uncomfortable, alone and utterly defeated.

I remember later when my sister arrived. My sister who is 8 years my junior, as fierce in personality as she is short in stature and who as luck would have it also happened to be a breastfeeding peer support. Into my room she strode clearly excited to see her new nephew and armed with the best of gifts for a new mother; COLD caffeinated fizzy drinks and the best kind of junk food. She may as well have been wearing a full set of armour and riding a white steed (probably frowned upon in most hospitals). Moments after she took a look at my fed up face and I had relayed the situation she had marched off and returned with the largest breast pump I had ever laid eyes on. An instant game changer and I had the help I needed.

Of course it was still tough. I soon realised that my little Moose was a snacker – that meant I could kiss goodbye to more than a couple of hours sleep a night. I found my peace holding my beautiful boy close while the rest of the world (or so it felt) snoozed. With a lot of trial and error we got to the 6 month point – that’s where I stopped nursing his siblings – and on we went. When we reached 1 year people began raising an eyebrow if the subject arose. At 18 months I stopped volunteering the information. I was never ashamed or embarrassed about it, quite the contrary but I think people just assumeDSC_1241d that we had moved on. We hadn’t.

I often thought then about how and when we should stop breastfeeding. There is a fair bit written about how to start nursing but not much about how to end it.

Do I wait for my son to stop? Would he ever? Should I instigate the stopping process? What the fuck would a stopping process involve anyway? What if he was still breastfeeding when he started preschool? If they are old enough to ask, is that too old? Did I care if society said it was?

It was something that had become part of his (and my) every day. As much as I am not a fan of routine really, this kind of was our routine and oh man. Those cuddles first thing in the morning and last thing at night. What would make me want to miss those? I read about picking a date and making that the last supper (as it were) and then one day not too long ago I realised that we were sitting on the sofa and we were having a cuddle.

He wasn’t pulling at my top or getting cross because I wouldn’t give him milk. We were just having a cuddle. In a way I wish I could have seen it coming so I could have made myself treasure those last feeds but that’s just not how it happened. As we cuddled I realised that I wasn’t sure how or when we started stopping…

…and that, was that. It was hard, it was easy. We had learnt how together and then it was over

The Good, The Bad & The Itchy

The Good..

When I was pregnant the first time it was a breeze. I was young, strong and of course oblivious – it was before I had regular access to the internet so no googling and way less self doubt. I wore my usual clothes (and an air of smug shit) until very late into the pregnancy where my neat little bump required that I purchase a trouser with an elasticated waist.

I distinctly remember arguing with my midwife because I wanted to walk the 3 miles to the maternity unit to be induced at 42 weeks. I lost the argument but I definitely COULD have made that walk.

The Bad..

My second pregnancy was 5 years later and treated me to the delights of SPD. Living at the time in a 1st floor maisonette it was no picnic and by 20 weeks I had trouble taking more than a few steps. The pain of that pregnancy still makes me shudder. If you are reading this and you have experienced that shooting sensation followed by the ache you have my fullest sympathy – now go on and search you tube for help. There are some marvellous exercises out there which really do help, this was so helpful to me. 

Of course, use your common sense and always check with someone qualified so you don’t hurt yourself.

The Itchy..

When I found out I was pregnant with Moose I waited with trepidation for that familiar ache in my pelvis to return. It did and it sucked but it was at least bearable this time around.

At 16 weeks I woke in the night with itchy feet. It was annoying but I eventually got back to sleep. A couple of nights later it happened again. Then it was a nightly occurrence. Sometimes it felt like every inch of my skin was being affected by this intense itch and I would find myself holding cold damp towels against myself at 3am.

It wasn’t just the horrible itch, it was feeling constantly exhausted from your usual pregnancy gubbins on top of not sleeping and having absolutely no idea why the fuck it was happening.

Luckily this time I had google and access to lots of old posts from other expectant Mums who had described my experience to a tee. A short time later Obstetric Cholestasis was diagnosed and I was given my new best friend – menthol aqueous cream. I was told that my pregnancy would be consultant led and I would probably be induced. I was, at 37 weeks.

Just as well. Moose weighed in at 8lb!