Breastfeeding, tongue tie and Nursing Aversion

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We are often led to believe breastfeeding is easy. Its the best for baby and most natural thing they can have. However we are told very little before hand and given very little support afterwards.

Breastfeeding is hard and can come with many problems that have you reaching for a bottle.

Our journey started well with a little support latching him on which was handy seen as I had a million things attached to my arms and hand post birth. Baby fed for an hour then every 3-4 hours after that! The first week went well but then my issues started.

Whenever baby fed it tickled to the point I had to often stop feeds for a few minutes and after 2 weeks baby was on 1 bottle of expressed milk in the night to give me a break.

The problems worsened as I would alternate with toe curling pain, hand clenching tickling and constant cluster feeding. Asking my midwife for help I saw a feeding counsellor who helped me achieve a pain and tickle free feed!!

The worse feeling was the agitation and how strongly I felt that nursing was almost unnatural! I came across D-MER but this was the feeling at let down (that tingly sensation when your breasts tighten) and mine was during the whole feed!

After that I came across nursing aversion thinking this was my issue and I would have to put up with it. My midwife had already ruled out tongue tie and I was at the end of my teather. I hated breastfeeding and dreaded baby needing feeding which led to me refusing to cluster feed by placating baby with a soother or handing to someone who didn’t smell of milk. Sometimes this worked as baby wanted to sleep and not eat for hunger but often it didn’t.

Once each feed was over the feeling left me and although I dreaded each feed that was more the fear of not knowing if it would hurt or tickle. Each time I would be left with a crease down my nipple and it would look flattened and often purple. I would also have stinging pain especially if I put my top back over them.

Endless posts on facebook came back to same thing check for tongue tie! So I asked my midwife to refer us to be doubly sure. At least point baby was 5 weeks old and we were due to be discharged at 6 weeks at which point it would have been much harder to seek referral.

The shape and colour of my nipple during feeding was contributed to nipple blanching  and the pain vasospasm.

At this point I had my 6 week check with my GP and she decided it must be thrush affecting us despite the baby showing no signs.

Finally our appointment came at 7 weeks of  pain, agitation, frustration, tears, and overwhelming urge to quit because it was simple too much. They confirmed he had tongue tie and it was cut right then and there. They laid him in a blanket and swaddle him which made him super angry. He’s a strong baby  though and got his hand free!

The snip was so fast we didn’t realise it had been done and I gave baby a feed straight after. It felt so weird, different but better.

He fed almost non stop for 24 hours to help himself heal, relieve his pain and practise his new skills. However pain started to creep in for me and it was worse than before. For about a week I was in the most pain I’d been our entire journey and I could have cried thinking why did we snip his tongue for nothing!

I reasoned he’d had an extra week he may not have got if we hadn’t tried. But as every stubborn woman will tell you quitting just isn’t an option. So we kept going. I finally started having the odd pain free feeds only for few minutes but it happened.

We are now at 3 months breastfeeding (bronze boobies) and every feed is great. We are pain free, mastered lie down feeding and hes had no bottles for nearly a week now! The nipple blanching still happens but without the pain. This is due to approx 11 weeks of trauma as the last week is the first time it’s been completely painless.

Never be afraid to seek support and help wherever you can access it.

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Brothers

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Sometimes brothers are great…. L reading to R even though L can’t read yet.

Sometimes there is love…

……..Hugs…….

…….. and fun!

Sometimes they unite and look darn cute doing it.

Sometimes there’s a bit of rivalry (look at me R… NOooo look at ME!!!)

But at end of the day we like to be apart because we all hate each other, we don’t want to share and the only nice brother we have is a baby.

How deceptive are pictures. My day with a 9 year old, 4 year old and nearly 10 week old consists of moods from the pre teen, screams from the preschooler and the odd moan from the baby because he got woken up again.

Daylight is reserved for noise and nighttime is reserved for tiredly staring at the TV.

Late nights just to get some peace and early mornings because weekends are same as any other days.

The oddest part I keep adding kids … voluntarily and I don’t even drink!!

DIY Breastfeeding Vest

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I am a Cub Leader (Cub Scouts) and wear a shirt weekly.

My youngest attends (10 weeks) and feeding in a shirt revels a little too much so i set about making my own feeding vest to go underneath

You will need 2 vests of same style, elastic, tape measure, scissors, pins and sewing machine.

First determine where the top section reaches under your bust. Mark with pins ensuring the vest is flat and smooth. You need to add 2 inches below that point then cut it. Set aside.

Measure the cut off piece to determine how much vest you just removed. Mine was 10.5 inches.

Add on 4 inches and measuring from hem off your second vest cut along. You will now have a top of a vest and the bottom separate. Don’t mix them up with discarded sections.

On both sections fold under 0.5 inch then another 0.5 so the raw cut edge is encased and pin in place.

Using a zigzag stitch you will be sewing on elastic to the front section of each part. You will be securing the hem and elastic at same time. I cut my elastic 3 inches shorter than width of top. You will need to pull gently as you sew. Don’t pull too much as you only want a gentle puckering.

On your back section repeat but continue the zig zag stitch without elastic around the back section, or you could use a long straight stitch to secure.

Place lower section inside upper and over lap at side seams by at least 1-2 inches. Pin and sew along existing seam to secure.

Work your way around the back (unelasticated section) and overlap by same amount you overlapped sides. Pin then zigzag stitch in place.

Your vest is now done and unlike a lot of feeding vest for under clothes you don’t have to reveal too much.

Easy access with minimal exposure.

Sewing the back down creates a smoother finish.

The extra 4 inches added to lower section ensures post partum tum says under wraps.

This was my first go and would like to make one from scratch in future. This project cost me approx. £5.50.

Rainbow Pregnancy

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I have been through 2 rainbow pregnancies. These are new pregnancies that follow a loss.

My first was L, we’d been trying for over a year got pregnant and by 5 weeks confirmed I was having an early miscarriage.

Two months later I was pregnant again but I didn’t find out till I was 6/7 weeks along partly due to my fear of knowing. I reasoned if I was to lose baby then I was better not knowing beforehand.

I ended up paying for a reassurance scan at 9 weeks and there was my lovely rainbow!

The anxiety never stopped and I often thought baby had died. As we both grew and I felt him more the anxiety never really faded but i could reason he was probably ok.

Four years later another rainbow but this time I had experienced a stillbirth at nearly 7 months of pregnancy and then 10 months later I woke from emergency surgery after a ruptured ectopic losing one tube plus what was to be our rainbow.

This new pregnancy was scary! Not only did I have the fear of another ectopic but I had the fear of a stillbirth of which could occur any time up till baby was in my arms.

My pregnancy was filled with fear and anxiety but also guilt. Would my daughter think I had replaced her, what if I didn’t love this baby because it wasn’t my daughter.

I wrote a post about trying for a rainbow being hard and how those pregnant seem to think they are experiencing worse. I wrote that post over a year ago and looking back I never once felt worse off.

Often I felt regret at conceiving because I felt I couldn’t cope but I remember feeling so so lucky i achieved what I longed for and what so many were still struggling to gain. Why would I think that so much harder than not having it.

My pregnancy between rainbows however was my worse. My anxiety was through the roof, I felt so sure I would lose this baby. That feeling increased when I find out she was our first girl our one and only daughter forever.

R’s Birth Story

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R is our 2nd rainbow baby after having a stillbirth at 27 weeks then ruptured ectopic 10 months after.

He is understandably very special after an anxious pregnancy full of confusion, grief, happiness, fear and worry. Much more than L’s pregnancy.

I developed gestational diabetes also so they wanted to not allow me passed 40 weeks. However due to my overwhelming anxiety they agreed to induce me at 38 weeks.

We went on Sunday for the first stage. We arrived at 10 but didn’t get seen till 11. I had to have half hour monitoring and a cervix check then the first pessary went in. This was called propess and had to go in for 24 hours.

I had a few niggles but nothing major and by following morning we knew it was looking at long process. After more monitoring and another pessary I wanted again. My partner at this point went home.

The second pessary was a gel that only lasted 6 hours as soon as it was in I felt a burning sensation which continued. I went off for walks and bounced on a ball to keep the waves coming which they did!!

4 hours in it all stopped. I had cramps but nothing else no amount of walking was bringing them back on. I reluctantly agreed to a second pessary after asking for a csection. It was choice of try it or wait the night out without so i agreed.

They took me to a private room to get a breather but turns out it was the post care room i had stayed with Elva so i went back to the ward

Come morning after getting no sleep with pain through my hips and noisy ward sharers i was more insistent on either getting a section or going home. By now it was Tuesday and my 3rd day there.

. Again I insisted I needed to be home so a consultant came and agreed a 3rd pessary would do no good and we would try to break my waters then go on a drip. He noticed my previous stillbirth on my notes and in 3 days was only one to acknowledge the effect that was having on me…. I cried ….. a lot!!!

I was again checked and was now a 2-3 cm so the pains did something!!

Waters broken i had 4 hours to show progress or they’d pop me on the drip to really crank it up. By this point my partner was back and I felt calmer that we were being proactive.

Still though contractions weren’t cranking up so on the drip I went. That was pushed up twice and still not a lot was happening then we lost the trace on his heart.

He had done a big kick so assumed he had moved. After them checking and making me lie down to find it again they suspected we hadn’t lost it due to movement and he infact had a rather dramatic heart rate dip.

I was checked again and a hand not a head was felt. Baby wasn’t pushing his head down so no wonder nothing was happening. The consultants felt it best to go ahead with the csection at which he apologised after persuading me to go ahead with breaking my waters and the induction process.

They spotted my cannula for the drip had blown up my hand and I think contributed to it not working properly. At this point for whatever reasons the signs were there labour couldn’t happen and things like baby’s hand in the way and drip not working were stopping it going full flow.

Off we traipsed to the operating theatre. They gave me a spinal block that worked better in one side than other so was slight delay getting started.

As they cut through i was breathing deep to overcome the sicky sensation the tugging about gave me. I felt baby lifted out and they said he was fine and just needed a clean.

All of a sudden a little cry sounded out and I burst into tears. My partner was beaming and because they wanted to check his apgar scores I was shown a picture of his face.

As he consultant had read my birth plan he allowed the cut to be left long so my partner could still cut the cord, i was also allowed skin to skin.

I then got to hold him and the feeling of holding a breathing baby after years of grieving a stillborn one was amazing. He instantly calmed when he was put on me.

He was born at 5:08pm so i only went and missed my dinner!!! I was looking forward to that strawberry mousse.

L’s Birth Story

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L is my second born and he followed an early miscarriage so is classed as a rainbow baby (baby born after a loss).

I wanted a homebirth with him also despite suffering severe PGP (pelvic girdle pain) I felt I could do it. Around 28 weeks he was confirmed head down and healthy.

By 32 weeks he was transverse (laying sideways). At this stage it wasn’t an issue we had time and we had a plan. Some exercises from spinning babies (see useful links page) and we were confident. By 36 weeks baby had done a full 360 but was still not head down again.

My midwife at this point realised I had excess water but needed a scan to confirm both babies position and the amount of water present. My scan was booked for Monday.

All day Saturday I had awful back ache which I suspected was early labour but by 9pm it fizzled out. I woke around 6am to a weird pop then I wet myself!!! My waters had gone…. well some of it.

As baby was transverse it’s considered risky as cord would come before baby and risk babies life and as I am only driver in household we had to ring an ambulance.

Now we lived 2 minutes away, you could see the hospital from the window but still we needed help. They arrived and essentially laughed at me telling me it was ok to be upright. I found out 4 years on its really not ok!

We arrived around 7am and a midwife checked where baby was laying. Still transverse.

A scan was ordered so a plan could be formed. 8am a scan showed baby had turned head down finally so the plan for vaginal birth was going ahead. I was no longer allowed my home birth due to risk of baby moving again.

We were sent to a ward to allow labour to come on. 10am and not a lot had happened and baby was checked and well.

Around 7pm that night we had seen noone all day not been checked over and labour wasn’t really going anywhere. I then started shivering. We were given a blanket and left to it again.

Around 9pm I’d had enough of being on a noisy ward and ignored. I said I was in pain and wanted more pain relief. They took us to delivery suite to be assessed.

As I had lied they soon said you’re not in active labour so will need to transfer you back. I asked for heart check as hadn’t had one in 12 hours.

I was put on a trace and asked to press when baby moved. They didn’t believe I wasn’t feeling him until the trace showed signs of distress. At this point a doctor was called in to examine me and more water went.

A senior midwife appeared next and spotted my shivering I said I was freezing. She said you’re burning up and may have infection.

I was moved to a delivery room and put on paracetamol to lower my temperature. Due to lack of progress in 10 hours it was suggested I have a section. I agreed.

L was born silently at 2:35 am which was scary. I was convinced he had died after a few minutes we heard him scream and I cried harder!

He then silently surveyed his environment from his dads arms which is only time he’s been quiet in 4 years!!

J’s Birth Story

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J is my first baby and was something of a shock. I knew early on I wanted a home birth as I was scared of being in a hospital environment.

I mentioned it to my midwife around 28 weeks after swapping midwives and meeting a new one. She was all for it and so the plan began.

I collected shower curtains for my floors, found old beach towels to lay on top. I was so sure of this plan I didn’t pack a hospital bag (I wasn’t that cocky again)

At 38 weeks the midwife brought round a homebirth box and tank of gas and air in preparation. I was given a list of on call community midwives to ring should I go into labour.

At 38 weeks and 4 days my midwife spotted my blood pressure was up. It was agreed I would get it checked next day and if still up I’d need assessing at the hospital.

Next day, Tuesday, it was still up so an appointment was booked for me for the Friday.

That night I experienced bleeding and clots with a few cramps. I went to hospital to be checked but was left waiting nearly an hour to be seen. Once i was seen a cervix check was done plus palpitation (manually feeling a womans stomach).

They requested 24 hour monitoring but I went to say I refused I didn’t want to stay in or I wouldn’t have opted for a home birth.

They informed me, not asked, that I was being induced!! Instantly I said no you’re not. A doctor was sent to see me and requested i lay flat she half heartedly felt my bump then towered over me insisting I was risking my baby’s life. I asked why I was being induced they said because we don’t know whats going on.

I felt that wasn’t good enough and we assumed we were being pushed as she felt us too young to make the right choice. I was 22 but looked a lot younger.

We went home but agreed to come in following day for another check up. By now I was 38 weeks and 6 days and it was. A doctor that day agreed to scan to rule out placenta abruption and confirmed baby was well and she felt I didn’t need inducing.

We went home only to wake around 3 am and i was uncomfortable so I had a bath. By 6am i knew it was labour time. As it was early we waited till 8am to ring and chance had it our on call midwife that day was my antenatal midwife!!

By 11am I was only 3cm so my midwife left. I don’t remember when she came back but it took another 13 hours to start feeling the pushing urge.

I had spent most my labour on all fours or hanging over my ball.

As I started pushing he was getting lower and lower till I was finally pushing him out. At this point my waters hadn’t gone and the midwife could see the waters. 2 more pushes and they popped they could then see baby had his hand by his face and was the reason he kept bobbing back.

The midwife pushed his hand back in and he started to crown. I pushed for around 45 minutes and he was born with a scream 2:45am on Friday meaning on my living room floor.

We waited for cord to stop pulsing which in turn made the placenta arrive and my partner cut the cord. He then did skin to skin, helped weigh and dress baby.

By 5am everyone left and as first time parents we were petrified and lost.

I went through 3 canisters of gas and air but I did it relatively drug free because gas and air only serves to make you giddy.

My shower curtains were used as were the towels and best part the midwives cleaned everything up.