Jacob was a caesar baby and as explained by the Paediatrician he had to chuck up the fluid on his lungs before he would be interested in feeding. He was put to the breast the same night he was born but I felt from the start that something wasn't right.
By day 3 he up and refused to "get on" at all - I believe he was frustrated with the "midwife hold" (hand on the back of his neck to force him onto breast). Also, I had the baby blues by day 2 so my emotions were not much help either. There were 2 days of the bloody midwives squeezing the hell out of my breasts and trying to force him on.
I knew from the start that he wasn't getting enough from me and the nurses kept asking "are your breasts rock hard, are you feeling a tingling sensation/let down, are you feeling heat from the breasts" - to which all questions were answered with NO!!!!!!!!
By day 3 I asked "can I give him something because I know he's not getting enough from me" - he had successfully taken the cholostrum only with me hand expressing and a nurse sucking it up off the nipple with a syringe. (I am grateful that he at least got the good stuff). He also had a problem with latching on correctly as well.
After asking three times to the same nurse if I could supplement him each time she would say "oh are you really sure you want to do that" - "YES!!" - apparently the hospital that I attended MATER MOTHERS PRIVATE IN BRISBANE - has a policy of not being allowed to mention formula at all or recommend the use of it unless it comes from the mother.
So Jacob was supplemented right from the word go after my asking several times - I tried breast feeding and giving him expressed breast milk for about six weeks but I was still having to supplement with S26. I was racked with guilt over this for weeks and felt like an utter failure! My husband was a great support for me with this but even so I still felt like a failure! But surprisingly I spoke to several other mothers who attended the same hospital and experienced exactly the same as me - one lady telling me "the midwives had me in tears over breast feeding" and this lady put her baby on formula when she got home and hasn't looked back since.
I even so much as told my Obstetricican "how many of your ladies tell you the midwifery ethics at the MMPH suck!!!!!!!" - he agreed with me - told me very nicely to enjoy my baby and not fret over breast feeding. I too could only express 20-30ml of breast milk on a good day - a bad day would equate to about 5ml. So yes I was not a "good cow" either.
Yes I agree "breast is best" but these hospitals public or private should also get with the times and move into this era and acknowledge and understand that "NOT ALL WOMEN CAN SUCCESSFULLY BREAST FEED!" - despite being told several times in my classes "there is no reason that a woman cannot breast feed with correct positioning and attachment" - well the next bloody time I hear these words uttered from a midwife - she had better be prepared for an earful. Because in my experience its not just positioning and attachment that make for good breast feeding.
It is amazing the number of women out there in the world who for some reason or another could not successfully breast feed. I gave it a good go and can at least be pleased with myself that I gave it a good try for Jacob.
I also wondered whether if his birth was a vaginal delivery and he was put to the breast as soon as he came out if that would have made a big difference.
But I have learnt now that I have a beatiful baby who is happy and healthy and thriving on S26 and has nearly doubled is birth weight of 9"1' (4.1kg) in three months. He has his fathers height genes - he was very long when born.
I also received a nasty comment from a woman at work "oh with the size of your breasts I thought you'd be able to feed easy".
WRONG! - another false perception about breast size - just cause you have big ones doesn't mean you can breast feed properly.
When the next times comes for baby Number 2 - and if I experience the same "resentment" from the nurses at that hospital - I now what my response will be "unless you are giving me drugs and taking my temperature - bugger off and leave me alone to enjoy my baby".
I know these midwives have a job to do but they really need to understand that breast feeding is just not possible for every woman.
Unfortunately the stigma attached to the great debate of vaginal Vs caesaran also seems to be perpetuated onto breast Vs bottle and its by the "mean midwives" (my husband calls them this!).
I unfortunately had to have a caesaran due to the fact that Jacob had too big a head to delivery normally. If I had tried to labour I would have ended up with an emergency caesar.
Don't get me wrong I'm in favour of normal delivery too but due to medical reasons I couldn't and this stems to breast feeding - which is something that needs to be realised by midwives.
Thank you for listening to my "moaning" about this subject and if I've offended anyone - I'm sorry but this was my story and experiences with the pressure associated with breast feeding.
My advice is if you find yourself in this situation - yes you will feel guilty but don't let that stop you from enjoying and loving your baby - once I got through the guilt I and Jacob have never looked back and I just love being his mum and not fretting over my inability to breast feed.
Best of luck and blessings for successful Breast feeding.