Friday, 25 January 2013

Trials of a 3rd time mum

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In my opening blog post I suggested that some of my posts would perhaps be a cathartic experience for me and this is definitely one such post. As the title states, this post delves into my experience of my 3rd child's first 12 days of life, most notably, the experience of breast feeding for the third time.

People automatically assume that the birth of a baby brings nothing but joy and ultimately for me this is true, however there have been so many ups and downs, even in such a short space of time it made me think about the journey I have already taken since the birth. 

Arwen Winter Hodge was born 13.1.13 at 2:23am, much to my delight, as she was only 2 days from her due date and I had been waiting, albeit impatiently, to finally meet my 3rd child, whom we did not know the sex of (one of the only surprises I like!). It was beautiful, as all my children's births have been, and peaceful, with it being that time of the night especially. When you finally get to hold your new born baby in your arms it honestly is the most amazing thing, time stands still! I would never have described myself as maternal, I am not and have never been one of those women who go goo goo over babies, even my own nieces and nephews, but my own children on the other hand... well I guess that's good thing!

Since Arwen's birth, cliche I know, but I have been on a roller coaster of emotions, as expected, but more so than I remember with my other two. Firstly I have a 4 year old and a 3 year old to continue to look after (plus a husband!), a house to keep up, and the thought that I don't have the luxury of 9 months maternity leave to avail of! That being said, whilst being offered an extra night in the 'Home from Home' unit, I wanted nothing more than to go home. The first few days at home, regardless of tiredness and the physical pain of having given birth, there is a feeling of elation. When reality hits, it can all be a little daunting to say the least! From my point of view, having already had two children people assume you can just get on with it, especially some health professionals. My main reason for saying this is because of my experience this time round with my decision to breast feed again. I was never under any illusions that it would be simple and with my first it took a heck of a lot of perseverance, through a heck of a lot of pain. Of course you could just assume that it should be a very natural thing but alas the difficulties faced by willing breast feeding mothers sometimes breaks them and they turn to the bottle, milk bottle that is! Second time around I certainly felt less daunted and thankfully breast feeding was 'easy'. However third time certainly hasn't been a charm and has been the cause of many a soggy tissue and scream through gritted teeth!

In the first few days I felt fine, latching may not have been perfect but it was early days, and we, Arwen and myself, (babies don't necessarily know what to do either) would learn together. That is, of course, the ideal, however by day 4 it was becoming excruciating; latching, let down and pretty much the whole feed. In my stubbornness, I chose to battle on and said nothing to the midwife. The pain was toe curling and my screams at the beginning of each feed blood curdling! The problem with breast feeding is that you can't hide, baby will probably not feed as well as they should and this will obviously show in their weight gain. After several nights of tears and trauma I decided to ask advice from the midwife, after spending days convincing myself I could do it on my own. This was on day 8, and after much chatting, and helpful suggestions, I immediately felt better. It's amazing the difference a knowledgeable, non-patronising and most of all friendly person makes to your mood, and for 2 days the suggestions I took on board worked, much to my delight! However life has a way of making sure you never get too comfortable and at the end of day 10 I coud feel a knot in my left breast and pretty severe pain when feeding leaving me extremely tender afterwards...great, a plugged duct with the possibility of mastitis, just what I needed!

So here we are at day 12, it is agony, I am grimacing through each feed on my left breast, now I know many would say it can't be worth the pain, but I believe it is. I am, by no means, a lactivist or breastfeeding advocate, I can only go by my own experiences. Looking back now I am so glad I chose to give it a go with my first and vowed to make no difference with my second and third so I will persevere. 

Kathryn xxx

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