Breastfeeding Stories - Bad Breastfeeding Advice
When I fell pregnant I didn't even have to think about whether I would breastfeed or not, of course I was going to; there was no other choice for me but what was best for my baby.
In my mind I was going to breastfeed for at least 12 months, preferably 2 years and hope she weaned herself. And it was all going to be so easy. And it was, at the start. My beautiful baby girl latched on perfectly first time every time and seemed to feed well and I had very little pain at all.
Then I made the worst mistake and took her to be weighed at the local baby clinic when she was 4 weeks old.
It was a mistake because I took to heart everything the clinic nurse told
me. My daughter had only gained 400grms since being weighed in hospital and
apparently this was not enough. Of course, I know
now that it is plenty for a breastfed baby, but at the time I knew very little about babies and breastfeeding and decided I would listen to all the advice of the heath professionals because, without a doubt, they knew more than me.
After the nurse had decided that she hadn't gained enough she watched me latch my girl on. Upon seeing that she latched perfectly, the nurse told me it was likely to be my milk supply that was the reason for low gain and that I was to weigh her every week until she was gaining adeqate amounts. Also, she told me not to let her feed for more than 10 minutes a side and if I did it would end up cracking my nipples. All this information upset me greatly as life was already stressful enough having just bought our first home, dealing with an unprofessional mortgage solicitor and the fact my father had died from a very long and traumatic illness just 4 weeks before I gave birth, amongst other things.
I had heard of engorgement, blocked ducts, mastitis and everything else but had not once thought that I wouldn't have enough milk. I felt my body was letting my baby down. Week after week she only gained about 90grms a time. The nurse said it just wasn't enough and that she should be gaining at least 150- 200 grms a week.
I tried everything the nurse suggested - I expressed after every feed, even night feeds, I started eating more and drinking whole milk, religiously drinking a minumum of 3 litres of water everyday. I became paranoid and depressed and I was exhausted after months of expressing every 2 hours, but still the most she ever gained was 120grms a time.
When she was 3 months I was told about domperidone. It worked great, my daughter wasn't really gaining much more but I was expressing heaps. After 2 months my doctor suggested I wean off it but a day after I took my last tablet, I was back to being able to only express 10mls a breast after feeding and within days of that I went back to work, which I dreaded but knew I had to.
I worked nights because she slept through and because I didn't trust anyone but my husband or myself to care adequately for my precious baby. And within days of going back to work I could barely express 5mls from both breasts and my daughter was still only gaining what the clinic nurse considered only small amounts. I was devastated that nothing seemed to work,no matter what I did. Then the clinic nurse suggested that I put her on formula. I relented to giving her 50mls after every breastfeed, but I couldn't give up. I was determined to keep going until she was 6 months, which was a far cry from my dream of 2 years.
I was so exhausted and so broken and depressed that the very day she officially turned 6 months old, I stopped breastfeeding her. I felt so relieved, relieved that I no longer had to stress about how much she was getting and I felt so guilty because I felt relieved. And then I felt so sad because my baby who had always been a strong independent girl decided she didn't need me for feeds at all and wouldnt even let me hold her bottle. Within few weeks I realised that she didn't even need mummy to hold her while she had a bottle because she could play with toys and crawl and have a bottle all at once. I missed breastfeeding so much it made me cry! But I didn't miss the stress.
My daughter is now 16 months and is still skinny as a rail and my new doctor has confirmed she's just built like that. My new doctor also says most of what the clinic nurse said is out-dated rubbish - things like my nipples cracking if I feed for more than 10 minutes a breast. My doctor also has confimed my daughter was gaining adequately all along for a breastfed baby. I feel sad to think that I really went through all that agony for nothing, but to be honest, if I had to do it all again I would, without a second thought. Hopefully I won't have to though because next time I will be armed with real information and facts to help me through. My experience hasn't frightened me off breastfeeding, if anything it has made me more determined to enjoy breastfeeding more and to not let myself stress. It has also taught me not to believe everything I'm told, especially not without checking the facts for myself first.
I really look foward to the birth of my next child in December 2006 and sharing that very special mummy-baby bond again!
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