We’ve all had a case of the sads here the last few days. It’s a terrible cycle really, when you are a tight knit family and things aren’t going so well. Negativity feeds negativity and as soon as one person is a little off, you can be sure others will follow.
Pixie and I have been having the battle of the breast every few hours, which has become steadily worse. Suffice it to say it is me who set our little family into the downward spiral since the weekend, that much I will admit!
It got to the point where Pix was wanting to feed, crying as I began to lean her towards the breast, screaming by the time she got there, and latching on and off and on and off for about three to five minutes before we both called it quits. I would keep trying to offer her more but it only upset us both more. Then she would cry for an hour or so and generally be unsettled before it was time to try the whole thing again.
The last two days have been the worst, with both of us ending up in tears numerous times.
After spending the weekend emailing back and forth with a breastfeeding counsellor from the Australian Breastfeeding Association, I took their advice and today went to the ABA centre in Dandenong, Melbourne. When I looked them up last night I saw they have an open session every Wednesday where you can turn up and get support from a lactation consultant.
The drive to get there really put me off, even though I had my sister volunteer to come along and entertain the biggest, plus provide support to any criers along the journey! I wasn’t sure if they would be able to help us as I had convinced myself she had reflux and what could they do to help me then? I felt hopeless and helpless and annoyed at myself. I’m a second time mum and have done all this before, why couldn’t I get it right? Why couldn’t I do the most basic thing a mother is meant to do for her baby and feed her? I just haven’t been able to figure it out and honestly didn’t know what to do next. But I knew I had to do something. Although Pixie still had wet nappies, I was beginning to feel a real sense of urgency that this get sorted out ASAP.
After reviewing a few options, I am just so glad I bit the bullet and went. I spent two hours sitting with a lactation consultant who listened to my story and before long had me and my baby topless and skin to skin. I was really sceptical, thinking that my kid hated breastfeeding and that this wasn’t going to work for us, other people – maybe – but not us… Within moments of me placing Pixie on my chest, she rooted around, moved herself straight for the breast (this was really amazing to watch) and latched on. Feeding! No crying, no on and off and on and off.
Apparently, she just wasn’t into my style! Apparently, my style is ‘mother led attachment’, where I was guiding her head onto the breast. She wasn’t too keen on this. The lactation consultant taught me ‘baby lead attachment’ which is just like what you are encouraged to do after your baby is born. Basically, we went right back to basics and tried to start fresh. We are going to hang out at home and do it this way for a whole week to establish a new pattern.
Three feeds later I still feel shocked. My baby, who at her worst was feeding for three to five minutes, ten-ish if we were having an awesome time, has fed for up to an hour at each sitting today. Turns out she is super excited about breastfeeding! We just weren’t working too well together as a team. A result of all her crying she was gulping lots of air, and then drinking milk on top was creating a lot of wind, resulting in an upset tummy and a really cranky kid. I was then thinking she’d had enough and would pace around with her to no avail, because she was still hungry and really just wanted to be fed! I feel awful that I didn’t figure this out myself but also thrilled that I went out and got the help we really needed.
We spoke about how our lives are so busy, so instead of really focussing on her I had been thinking, ok well you’re done, what do I have to do next? And on our day would go juggling baby and toddler. I was trying to feed her really sporadically and just all the time basically, when I thought she must be hungry, rather than following her cues. We just got ourselves into a real tangle and I needed the support of someone external to give me more ideas and get us back on track.
We are lying on my bed now as I type this, skin to skin, and she is sound asleep. She’s been asleep on my chest for a few hours and words can’t describe what I am getting out of having this time with her.
Calm and soft and full bellied and warm and happy.