With my first son (now 2) quite simply I could not have breast fed without support. I had no idea what to do, either did he. On top of the norm he also had a tongue tie. But feeding was essential for me after a traumatic birth where I was under a general for an emergency section.
For the first six weeks feeding was horrifically painful and my nipples were so cracked I seriously thought they might fall off. I mean they were practically hanging off. I scrabbled for support wherever I could get it, desperate to keep feeding, to somehow prove to myself I could at least do something right.
I used the local NCT support (even though I’m not a member) she was wonderful, came straight away and sat in my living room, just me and her. She did help. Temporarily. Gave me hope that I could get positions right. But soon enough I was back to horrific feeding. I tried my local children’s centre but didn’t feel comfortable. I tried La Leche League (a feeding support network with a posh name) and although a local leader was helpful I didn’t feel comfortable going to people’s houses. Then at my six week check up at hospital I asked for some feeding support. The midwife talked to me and examined the pob and low and behold he had a tongue tie. Why they didn’t cut it at birth I will never know. Once I knew what was causing the problems it was like a red rag to a bull. I had to get it sorted so I could really try and feed him. You can get it snipped privately but it costs from £75 – £200. I was lucky enough to get a referral through my GP and it just so happens a local hospital is one of two in the country who sort it out. A meer tiny snip to the skin on the underside of the tongue. But I was mega desperate and wanted it sorted now. That’s how I came across what was to be my saviour for feeding. Pam. She was suggested to me as someone who might do it privately. She actually doesn’t do it but she did run an NHS support group and offered me so much advice over the phone. At this point i was distraught, sobbing on the phone to strangers. Any one to help.
We had the snip. I wanted it to be better, to breathe a sigh of relief. It was better but I still hadn’t mastered feeding. Pam had asked me to come along to her group and I felt compelled to do so after her support on the phone, if only to thank her. This group turned out to be my saviour. Even though I had to struggle to get there on a train, up and down steps, after a c section, I went week after week. At times I looked forward to going so I could have one painfree feed. I loved Pam’s no nonsense attitude. Straight talking. From then on we were ok. But only because I had found a support group that suited me. I needed support when the pob was too big to rugby ball, to be taught how to sit him on my lap. I needed support when I was so exhausted after six months and everyone else’s child was sleeping through, when I could barely remember my name. When I just needed people around who understood how I felt, who understood why giving a bottle wasn’t the answer, who were in the same position as me. I really think if I hadn’t had this support group I would not have fed the pob past eight weeks, certainly not to 16 months and I would probably have struggled to bond or have confidence in myself as a result.
You can get support through your local children’s centre, your health visitor, the NCT, La Leche League, your friends, online communities or your family. What’s important is you have the support that is right for you so that you feel comfortable and have confidence in yourself to feed your baby.
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