As I sit here and think about how it all started 9 months ago I can’t help but smile and feel grateful for my experience. Sometime during my pregnancy I decided that I was going to have a natural birth without interventions and that I was going to breastfeed.
I was very careful to who I spoke to and what I read as I did not want my thoughts to be clouded and fear based. I did not know anything about giving birth or breastfeeding until it was time to do it. I did not see the point in reading up on it if I could not practice or possibly imagine how it felt, as it was my first time for everything. I am a very hands on, visual learner so I knew it would all work out once my little angel was born (or so I hoped).
On Friday April 8th, 2011 at 8:54pm, after 18 hours of painless labour (with the help of my wonderful husband, amazing teacher/doula Ilona Fritsch, and HypnoBirthing classes) my beautiful daughter Tessia Riti was born.
At first and for a couple of hours afterwards, she did not want the breast. I guess she was just so relaxed and comfortable that she just wanted to be cuddled in mommy’s arms. After 2-3 hours of not eating the nurses suggested that I try again and if she was still not interested we would have to express the colostrum and give it to her manually. My first thought was “express” what does that mean? (Remember I did not read anything on breastfeeding beforehand).
Babies are the real breastfeeding pros!
I tried nursing the best I knew how using my common sense and she still did not want the breast. She was not interested and very sleepy (as I would be too if I travelled down the same path she just did!). The nurse showed me how to express and it worked. My daughter took the colostrum manually and fell fast asleep.
As we all know and experienced there are many different nurses involved during the 44 hours stay in the hospital. Some are good, some are not, some are caring/loving, and some are not. I got a mixture of both and I am happy to say that overall I had a very good experience with everyone at Cité de la Santé Hospital in Laval.
I only gave one feeding manually and then Tessia latched on and drank like a champ! I guess she needed time to adjust to her new surroundings. The nurses came in every 3 hours to remind me to breastfeed and she did every time. Every nurse had their own opinion, 15 minutes each breast, only feed from one breast, wake her up to eat, don’t wake her up to eat… Let’s just say I was counting down the hours to our departure. I wanted to get home and start my new life with my new family.
Here is the moment where I would like to give a BIG BIG thank you to my amazing friend Laura Conforti. If it wasn’t for her and all of her advice and support I can’t imagine where I would be right now. She gave me tips and reassured me when I thought things were bigger and far worse than they actually were (THANK YOU LAURA ). As she advised, I started drinking the milkmaid tea and applying the nipple cream after every feeding. My nipples got sore but hardly cracked or bled (maybe only for a couple of days). I am one of the lucky ones, I know.
Now home, my amazing supportive husband was very helpful. Tessia slept and ate every 3 hours. We co-slept for the first 4 months and then she got too big for the bassinet. At around 5 months she started waking up more often to eat, every hour or so. I was exhausted and felt like a machine.
After speaking to other wonderful mothers, I found out that maybe my milk was not fatty enough (more water than milk) which would explain the frequent feedings. The watery milk would get digested faster. So, again, my amazing friend Laura suggested healthier, fattier foods to thicken my milk and it worked! She went back to feeding every three hours.
Nine months later and my little one continues to breastfeed twice during the day for naps and every three hours at night. We have our good nights and we have our interesting “let’s stay up all night” nights. I am tired, I am sleep deprived. Sometimes I get moody but when I see her big shiny eyes and beautiful smile it’s all worth it. I am grateful for this once in a lifetime experience and I am happy to share it with you.