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Inigo with his cousin Ella 23.12.07

Warning – boring baby issues!

If you’re still with me, you’re probably interested, but I am mainly documenting this for my own interest. I don’t have time to do a baby book (yet), but I can blog a little.

The weekend before last, I came to the realisation that the feeding wasn’t going well. Inigo was putting on weight, but I was dreading every feed, and crying through a lot of them. I’d heard stories of women with cracked and bleeding nipples, so I knew that other people were much worse off than me…

And then I decided not to be a martyr. I know that I am at increased risk of post natal depression because of my history with depression, so I was better off asking for help before things got out of control. So I did.

I spent the weekend expressing and bottle feeding, to give the boobs a rest. Then on monday, I started afresh, concentrating on trying to get proper attachment without the nipple shields. I also sent a long email to the ABA, knowing that a phone call would be wasted – I’d just burst into tears trying to explain what was going on.

On monday afternoon I got a phonecall from a dear friend, who suggested that I might have PND. Though I appreciate her concern, I really do think that I am just upset in the face of a difficult (and painful) situation. It wouldn’t be normal to be chirpy all the time when dealing with something like this. And I am pretty chirpy – as long as I don’t think about “the war”.

Wednesday I got a reply from the ABA, suggesting I see a lactation consultant. My problems are beyond the scope of what the ABA is able to deal with.

On thursday I went to Granville Baby Health Clinic, and explained the situation to Lynne, the lovely nurse there. Apparently, she’s a lactation consultant, so after we weighed in, I waited for her to finish her last appointment, and she watched me do a feed. From what she could tell, I was doing everything right, but it wasn’t working, and each feed was progressively damaging my nipples more. We made an appointment for her to come for a home visit today, and I agreed to keep going in the meantime.

On friday Tresillian rang to see if I could come in on Monday, as they had a cancellation. I spent six hours at Tresillian at Nepean Hospital on Monday, and Julie (the Tresillian nurse) watched me do two feeds, and also tied to help getting Inigo to sleep. Apparently if a baby doesn’t sleep properly, they won’t feed properly, and if they don’t feed properly, they can’t sleep properly. It was worse than I thought.

I left Tresillian in a positive frame of mind, ready to tackle the problem, and hopeful that it could be resolved.

Monday night Inigo refused to sleep, despite the best efforts of me, Mark, mum, and dad – he continued to fuss and grumble and scream for hours. Of course, the feeding didn’t go well, and I felt like I was back to square one.

Yesterday was another rough day. By the afternoon, I was unable to face another feed, so mum gave him a bottle (expressed breast milk) while I expressed. Inigo went to bed at about 7pm, and mum watched him while Mark and I went out for dinner. I even had a glass of wine!

He had bottle feeds through the night, to give me a bit of a break, and we started again this morning. The first feed seemed to go OK, but not well, and when Lyn arrived to see his 11am feed he was very hungry. While Lyn was here, I managed OK, and am now feeling like I might be able to cope with the 3pm feed without tears.

Tomorrow we have an appointment with a new paediatrician (who can check his mouth for tongue tie, and assess his high palate), then back to Tresillian in the afternoon. I have another appointment with Tresillian next week. And if it’s still not working then – I can do a weeks residential stay at Tresillian, where they will watch every feed for five days and four nights.

So I am getting the best help available, I am expressing when it gets too painful, and Inigo is still exclusively breast fed, even if it is from a bottle sometimes. And I plan on contacting my local ABA group today to try to get to a meeting, and hopefully get some positive reinforcement.

I know there is no shame in formula feeding, and I don’t judge anyone who makes that decision. It’s just that I need to exhaust every avenue before I take that step. In the meantime, Inigo is doing really well, and I am doing what I can to look after myself in a difficult situation.

And I must say, a smile is a great reward.

8 thoughts on “Feeding”

  1. I’m_so_pleased_you’re_getting_support._It_is_out_there,_it’s _often_just_a_matter_of_having_the_energy_to_seek_it_out._S o_good_on_you._(My_space_bar_seems _to_be_away_for_a_summer_break.)


  2. Hi Lara

    My sympathies are wtih you. DD is nearly 22 but I can remember the difficulties of feeding. I went from hospital to Tresillian [then at Petersham] for a week’s stay. I joined ABA [then NMAA] and the support of other mums was wonderful. Eventually I weaned DD – at 14 months!!

    You are doing everything right and I wish you all the best.


  3. Sounds like you are doing well in trying circumstances. We really got stuck in the no sleep/bad feed cycle due to Darcy’s allergies.
    ABA were the ones who suggested it could be food related not his once a week specialist visits or tresillian equivalent. He failed sleep clinic 3 time before he was 6 months. Most of the other parents got great results.
    It is not a happy mother/baby combo with painful feeds and tired baby.

    I can totally recommend a local ABA group they are really supportive.

    Dont fret about giving my a bottle esp if it is expressed milk. I did the same and plan to do it again, pumps, bottles, BM bags and joining ABA were all high up on #2’s baby list
    I managed 2.5 year of BFlast time but was told to give up at 4-5 months when the allergy diagnosis was confirmed. Then allergy specialist though it was going to be too hard on me.
    I cried when I gave him bottles of the special anti-allergy formula and was secretly pleased when he drank very little of it and didn’t sleep/put on weight during that week. I was glad I pumped the test week so my supply was ok to put him straight back on the breast. With about 3-4 weeks of working at it in conjunction with a lactation consultant and nutritionist it was all sorted. From then on feeding just clicked and I was so sad to give up but it was time as I had a hospital stay planned and he was able to drink fortified soy.

    If it isn’t working for you and you have exhausted every option, it isn’t a relfection on you as a mother. Being a parent sometimes means accepting certain thing just don’t work for you.


  4. Arent we lucky to have so much help accessible to us? What did mothers do “in the jungle” as my GP would often ask which always helped me put things into perspective. My GP still comments that women “in the jungle” didnt have parenting books and mother’s groups or the net to help and guide us. Our ability to consider, assess, evaluate and make appropriate decisions is commonly referred to as womens intuition….you have loads of it. What a wonderful job yourdoing with your litle man. Be proud and stay beautiful.


  5. Tresillian nurses are the best – you’re both going to come back whole new people, good luck.

    Nipples! They cop such a beating when you’re first learning to breastfeed – they do toughen up eventually, but it’s hell in the meantime.

    I know they don’t recommend it, but I found bepanthen ointment very helpful, and the wool fat cream they dish out and the private hospitals (it’s lanolin I believe) is also reputably very good. The book advice of air-drying the nipples and swinging in the breeze didn’t work very well for me.

    Keep going, try not to give up, breastfeeding is the most wonderful thing. But if does get too much, formula feeding isn’t child abuse. Bloody expensive though, and you throw most of it away.

    Love reading about you and you’re experience. It’s the hardest thing, learning to look after a newborn.


  6. Hi. You don’t know me, I have just stumbled upon your blog through a friend’s blog. I thought I would put my two bob in for what it is worth.
    I had very similar breastfeeding problems to you. The pain for EVERY feed was excruciating. At one stage I was feeding my baby more blood than milk because my nipples were such a mess – and like you, I was doing everything I could, and the nurses said I was doing it correctly. I remember washing my boobs in the shower, feeling excruciating pain that went right through me down to my toes, sobbing in agony, and thinking I can’t live like this. I seriously thought I was going to die.
    Do what you can, keep trying (I’m not asking you to throw it in!) but don’t punish yourself if you just can’t do it anymore. I gave up after five weeks – I gave my baby the best start I could, and I no longer carry around the huge guilt that I once did.
    This is an extremely honest comment, and I expect to be hammered for it; Once I stopped breastfeeding, I was able to stop feeling so damn wretched, stopped resenting my baby waking up, and was able to relax and enjoy motherhood for the first time. Yes, I missed out on all that bonding, had the inconvenience and mess of bottlefeeds, and possibly (but doubtfully!) harmed my child’s development by using formula. The sleepless nights were a breeze to cope with when there wasn’t the added stress and anxiety of having to go through “that” again and again.
    I still feel sad that I couldn’t do it. There is something that doesn’t make me sad; My beautiful, smart, athletic, healthy daughter (now 8 years old). Only joy and happiness felt there.
    Joy and happiness to you also!


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