Anna is a new mom of two girls: Marie (almost 2 years old) and Nicole (5 months old).
Being a first-time mom surely comes hand in hand with a number of fears, most of which develop early on in our pregnacy. For me at least that was certainly true, especially because of my "heavy" history with miscarriage during the 2nd trimester with my first little angel (I will try to tell that story in due time, in short thrombophilia was to blame). "Is my baby going to be ok?", "Am I going to be ok?", "Is my delivery going to be the way I planned it?' are only some of the issues moms-to-be dream of, hope and think almost all day long! Having said that, and given my fear for losing yet another baby, my focus was wrongly placed on seeing the pregnancy through, as if I could control the result!
I hadn't spent one minute thinking what I would do when the baby came!
When I reached week 38, my doctor's assistant midwife asked me the all-too reasonable question: "Are you planning on breastfeeding?" Well, needless to say I immediately answered "Yes", though little did I know of what that answer entailed. I might have known everything there was about pregnacy, reading pregnancy-related books, sitting in pre-natal classes, even reading about mental and emotional development of children BUT NOT ONE MINUTE was spent thinking about the choice 'to breastfeed or not to breastfeed'. My choice of Yes was not an informed one, I could tell you that.
The delivery plan that didn't go as planned.
Because of my thrombophilia condition my doc and I agreed on no surprises (anticoagulant meds and anesthesia don't mix well!) and decided on induction at 40 weeks. Unfortunately, my Marie had another opinion and refused to leave the premises even after 8 long hours of being fully dilated. So, caesarian it was! Perfectly fine with it as well, since I was exhausted from the whole procedure and really just wanted a happy ending.
And there she was!
Beautiful, sweet, noisy and, did I mention, beautiful... No amount of words can describe the feeling of the first moment I saw her and I 'm sure every parent can vouch for that as well. I was left for a little while to recover and transfered to my room, when a few moments later she was brought to me ready for her first feed. Eeeeh, say what now?
The nurse quickly showed me how to place her on my breast, a spot which, somehow, I immediately lost, resulting in her sucking my nipples almost 40 minutes, in the wrong way. 2 days later, with no additional advice (to be fair, I didn't ask for any at the time) and my breasts were in so much pain, I couldn't think straight or do anything for that matter. Why you may ask...
Let me make a list of all the things that went wrong:
- As I mentioned above, the baby was in a wrong position for long periods of time, resulting in a massive irritation of the nipples. On day 2 Marie was sucking more blood than milk!
- Although I specifically instructed the hospital staff NOT to feed the baby with formula, they went and fed her anyway. When she was brought to me for feeding, she had already been fed, so my breasts were not adequately drained. She was happy using them as a pacifier though!
- Not properly drained means that all the produced milk stays blocked, breasts get engorged causing unimaginable (for my case) pain. In a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the most painful, I would give the surgery pain a 5 and my breast pain a 20! I was dangerously flirting with mastitis at that point.
- My doctor's midwife, even though she visited me during my hospital stay, she didn't give me any proper advice, except using a pump, which I ended up using exclusively for 3,5 months.
- Noone, and I mean noone, told me that this great pain would subside eventually, just by continuing to breastfeed/pump. Someone could rightfully ask: Why didn't you inform on breastfeeding by yourself? Well, it is very simple. I was in so much pain that my head could not think of anything and everyone was very eager to estabish the alternative easy choice: formula.
At some point, I remember letting go and giving into tears, my face all sad, pleading to my husband "I just want the pain to stop..."
To this day, I cannot pinpoint exactly why Marie did not breastfeed.
I am pretty sure, though, that if someone had given me some solid advice and support, the outcome would be very different. Marie is now a 22 month old happy, bright, energetic and inquisitive toddler. She has just started to synthesize whole sentences and expressing her thoughts.The fact that she did not have the chance to breastfeed surely is not an issue that eats me up, nor do I think about it every day. I do regret it though. Apart from the nutrient side of the matter, I regret that we did not have a chance to bond that way...
My second baby, Nicole, is luckier I suppose. She is now 4,5 months old, exclusively breastfeeding, happy and healthy as her sister. I feel I lost that with my firstborn. I actually feel robbed of that amazing experience. If I could, I would do it all over again with her as well.
What was your experience?
Check some breastfeeding positions I found useful...
- Positions and tips for making breastfeeding work | BabyCenter
Here are some time-tested positions to try, plus tips to make nursing go smoothly.
- Thrombophilias in Pregnancy: Background, Pathophysiology, Epidemiology
According to the Center for Disease Control’s National Pregnancy Registry Surveillance System, between 1991 and 1999, pulmonary embolism (PE) was the leading cause of maternal mortality. Twenty percent of maternal deaths in the United States during t
- Mastitis | BabyCenter
Find out what causes painful inflammation (mastitis) in your breasts, how to tell if you have a breast infection and what you can do to ease the pain.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2016 Anna Bei
Anna Bei (author) from Thessaloniki, Greece on August 23, 2016:
Indeed, this is a common misunderstanding about the correlation of breast size with milk quantity, it still exists and I actually have heard it myself a lot of times. Information is key always.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on August 22, 2016:
ahh... you are not alone my dear.
When I gave birth to my baby boy, I also told the nurse that I wanted to breastfeed my baby and not to give him formula milk.
Nurse take turn to care for the babies, so they don't communicat with each other.
Therefore, the nurse in charge, gave formula to my baby too.
In addition, I do not know how to latch my baby to my breast, he was having an irritating time with me.
I only had ONE chance to breast feed my baby.
thereafter, I never had the chance to breastfeed him because my mother in law gave him formula milk too.
She thinks that my breast are too small to produce milk!