How could this be described as a monster?

How could this be described as a monster?

I have blogged before about the shock of becoming a parent, but the Royal Birth brings it all flooding back. especially as she looked so calm and beautiful standing outside the Lindo wing a mere 24 hours later. In contrast I still hadn’t managed to get dressed for the first three days, let alone have the confidence to hand small baby over to hubby in the glare of public spotlight. We never did that without ensuring there was a soft landing underneath for the inevitable slippage that we envisaged during the first weeks.
For the first one, I came home on Day Four feeling physically OK. Shellshocked. But OK. And brand new babies (really really new) still sleep lots so I was in what I would later realise was the initial week to ten days of a honeymoon period.
The next day I woke up and thought “Who the fuck put these boiling hot boulders in my bra?”. I looked down to see what the text books say is the milk coming in. What they don’t tell you is how bloody painful it is. Until then baby had been feeding on the protein-rich colostrum that we produce before milk starts up. But now the milk was well and truly in. I was lucky with being able to feed relatively easily, but the downside was that it seemed constant. I would let him feed until he fell off, bloated like a tick. Whereupon he would be so overstuffed he would throw up and want to start again an hour later. It was a nightmare circle that I seemed unable to get out of without my husband helpfully taking him off me and walking about with him.
I was delusional about what ‘demand feeding’ means and was gripped by the fear of him crying, my not feeding him enough and basically being an all round shit mother.

It is an exhausting and crazy time after you have your first. Especially if you are used to being in control. Suddenly this 8 pound monster is dictating your every move. So I give new mothers my

Top Ten Tips for “Feeding on Demand”

  1. Get comfortable. The best way to increase milk production and all round satisfaction is to relax. Hahaha. Easier said than done when one is as tense and stressed as its possible to be. Use pillows to prop yourself up, lay the baby on them on your lap. Whatever it takes to try to be comfortable.
  2. Stick your nipple in till you think you’ll choke them. They work the milk in to the nipple by squeezing the ducts around it rather than the nipple itself so they need to get a good gobful. You won’t smother them with the rest of your boob as they’ll roll their head back and let go if they can’t breathe. They’d have to be trapped for their to be any problem.
  3. Keep them chomping at one boob for at least 10 minutes so they get the benefit of the ‘hindmilk’ which is fattier and more satisfying than the initial milk produced which is a thirstquencher.
  4. Every squeak doesn’t mean they need feeding. Despite what all the baby books say, every time they cry doesn’t automatically mean they need feeding. It’s the only real noise they can make after all, so it’s used for everything. For hunger yes, but also for cold, heat, damp, need a poo, poked my own eye, just feeling grumpy, feeling tired, didn’t want to wake up yet, what’s happenin, and fancy a cuddle.
  5. Demand feeding allows you to make demands on the baby too – it’s not all about them having total control. So you can decide that you won’t feed more often than two hourly. Or three hourly. Or four. And that way when you do feed them they will be hungrier, suck harder, get more hindmilk and be more satisfied so sleep for longer between feeds.
  6. Some babies will always suck when given the chance. It doesn’t always mean they are hungry. they might be ‘comfort sucking’ – the equivalent of thumbsucking. they’re not interested in the milk as food, just the nipple, the warmth and the cuddle as a rather enjoyable experience. And who could blame them?
  7. Watching pap TV with your feet up and a cup of tea is actually working when you are breastfeeding as it increases milk production. The more you run around the less milk you make hence why babies are often most satisfied by their first feed of the day as it’s had  great hindmilk production overnight. Come late afternoon and mum is ragged from running about the milk is less gold top and more UHT. So don’t give yourself a hard time for watching daytime TV or reading crappy magazines – it helps.
  8. Don’t just pull baby off the breast – they have created a vacuum by sucking so hard and it will hurt like fuck if you do. So stick your finger in their mouth to ‘break the seal’ and then pull baby off.
  9. It does get easier. Sometimes my boobs would feel like they were literally going to burst and the relief of feeding was indescribable. These wild ups and downs of production do calm down with time.
  10. Getting up in the night is hard hard soul destroying stuff. Especially if, like me, you seem unable to put him back down in the cot without him bawling.  I had to learn point 4 the hard way – that every time he cried didn’t mean I had to pick him up and start again. It meant he’d rather liked where he was and didn’t fancy being on his own in the cot. Give him a few minutes with a hand on him and he would go off. Or hand him to hubby who would somehow make it miraculously happen.
  11. Don’t beat yourself up about your inadequacies. You’re tired and emotional. It’s bloody hard work. It’s relentless. But in a few weeks it will seem less poleaxing and things will start falling in to place and feeding will get easier and you will realise not having to sterilise bottles and all that crap is actually a blessing. Obviously if you have decided not to breast feed don’t beat yourself up over that either.
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