Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Breastfeeding experience - Part 1: The attempt

Just like how every mother will have her own pregnancy and birth story, I reckon every mother will have her own breastfeeding story as well. Here's my story :)

I remember the first time I breastfed. After delivering our baby, I was so drowsy I held our bub only for a short while before passing him to Ken. I was also being stitched and cleaned up and was in pain so it wasn't the right time to attempt to breastfeed my newborn baby even though most books and articles encourage you   to do so as soon as you can. 

After about an hour of the birth or even more, I was brought to the ward. The midwife brought little Isaac to me to be fed. I unbuttoned my top and the midwife placed my baby's mouth on my breast. I thought I would feel embarrassed exposing myself and then I realised they had already seen everything else. There was no more room for modesty! The midwife pressed his mouth against my breast but baby was too drowsy to attach. She did it again and again bobbing his face on my breast. Baby still didn't attach but having a bit of the baby's lips on my breast felt really tingly and nice. It's hard to describe it but I felt like a mummy for the first time. 

The next few hours, baby and I learned to breastfeed. Yes, even though breastfeeding seems like a natural process, both baby and mama have to learn how to breastfeed correctly. I attended a breastfeeding class while I was pregnant so had some information about it but theory without practice doesn't make much sense. Anyway, back at the ward, every 3 hours, a midwife would come to my bed and hold my baby's neck and encourage him to attach to the breast. You can't force a baby to open his mouth and suck so the midwife would stimulate this reflex by touching his mouth and cheek with the nipple. He would then open his mouth to feed. Sometimes he would open his mouth but only slightly so he wouldn't attach. Or sometimes he would open his mouth but not suck because he was too sleepy. When he wouldn't feed, the midwife would hand expressed and feed the milk (colostrum to be exact) to him using a syringe.

On mummy's end, I had to learn how to hold him at a comfortable and correct angle. I also had to learn how to hold my breast to make it easier for him. I had to ensure I sat comfortably so that I didn't hurt my back or arms. Having had stitches 'down there', it was really painful to move about, to even sit and get into a 'comfortable' position. I remember in the middle of the night, all the babies in the ward would cry for a feed at about the same time. The midwives must have somehow secretly programmed the babies. Sometimes it startled me and I would try as quickly as I could to attend to my crying baby but with the stitches it was hard to get off those silly hospital beds that are so high above the ground.

To be continued..Part 2: The attachment

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