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Breastfeeding week was from the 1st to the 7th of August and it brought back memories of when I had just had Miss T.
Experiences are completely different, even if it appears we are telling the same story. Different because the babies are different and different because the mummies are different.
I don’t quite remember if I had read up on breastfeeding before then. I had seen my mum, sisters and aunts do it and it looked simple enough. I mean, how hard could it be? We had gone to an antenatal class and got a few pointers there as well so I thought I was ready. My boobs were also full so I really felt full of milk and super ready.
I had an emergency C-Section with Miss T so truth be told, I was not completely ready, mentally or otherwise. But at the time, I believed I had prepared enough and would be okay. How wrong I was. The C did not quite go as planned and did not recover well from the surgery and I spent the night in ICU. This meant I did not get an opportunity to kangaroo the baby soon after birth and did not start putting the baby to my breast immediately. The baby was brought to me in ICU, but with tubes all over me, I could not hold the baby.
My friend who had given birth in the same hospital 4 months before told me that they had an amazing lactation specialist who was super helpful. She said that this was how she had been able to successfully breastfeed her baby. Maybe she could see that I could not do anything, but when she arrived, she looked like she had better places to be. I couldn’t wait for her to leave, the nurses were super helpful though. I could not hold the baby and they helped hold the baby for me while I attempted to breastfeed. I had gotten the latching right and minus the fact that I couldn’t hold the baby without being in too much pain, we were good.
I got home and I was so stressed that I thought of quitting and feeding the baby formula. I felt like I was such a failure. I had so badly wanted to breastfeed and I thought I couldn’t.
Fortunately my husband rallied behind me and said, ‘Let’s try something else before we go the formula route.’
We got a pump and sure enough, there was milk. I started expressing a little by little and that not only helped my supply, but it also meant that my husband could feed the baby at night.
I had been so worried about not having enough milk that I started overfeeding the baby. Yep, there is such as thing as overfeeding a breast fed baby. Even when the paed mentioned that we need to cut back on feeding the baby, I ignored. Probably because I thought I was an expert on babies after 1 week of antenatal classes and he also did not offer more advise other than to refer me to a clinic to go pay someone else money in addition to what I was already paying him. I honestly did not believe  he had my best interest at heart. Which is why we changed paeds (story for another day). All in all, it worked out well and the baby stopped gaining too much weight eventually.
With Mr T, I really had breastfeeding down to a t :-). It was a scheduled C and it went well. I could carry the baby without any help as soon as I came out of recovery and the nurses and lactation specialist this time around were amazing with advise and tips on what to do to improve my breastfeeding experience. Even when the paed (different from Miss T) mentioned he was gaining too much too quickly I did not stress or see it as an attack on my mothering skills. I listened to his advise and we are doing super well feedwise. Now I am even a bit wiser and I know that you can eat certain foods to increase your milk. I believe that different things work for different people, but one thing for sure, pumping helps. It’s also a lot of work because you also have to clean and sterilise the pump and bottles, but it is worth it.
I will be going back to work in a few months, but I have started pumping and freezing the milk for when I am at work, that way if anything happens to affect my supply, at least I would have a little stockpile.

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