I like big boobs and I cannot lie! – AKA my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard – AKA the milking shed – AKA pumping – AKA breastfeeding.
The first time I fully expressed milk with an electric pump, and I cleaned the equipment and sterilised it and labeled and stored the milk I thought this is good, tiring, but good. The one physical thing I can do for our boys.
Then you do it for the 784th time (yup I calculated) and you think how the hell have I kept doing this?
I pump at home, at friends houses, in the milking shed at the Hospital (yup, we line up like cows waiting for a pump). Oliver has 70L of frozen breast milk in the chest freezer. Enough milk to get him through till he’s 21 (this is mostly a joke….). But I keep pumping.
I’ve talked to a lot of mums about breastfeeding. What else should we do in the pump room in between moaning about nurses, flow, tubes and tiredness?
We all have one goal.
One day our baby will latch on to our breast, look into our eyes and start drinking. – and then hopefully stay awake long enough to continue drinking, or fight the lower oesophageal sphincter pressure caused by long term nasogastric tubes that results in all that precious milk being vomited back out again…
Feeding is a tough, tiring job for all mums (and dads!)
But I stopped to reflect on it today, as I was asked to write a short passage about breastfeeding for an app that the midland health network is developing for women.
The more I thought about it, the more I decided that expressing breast milk isn’t breastfeeding for me. I know it’ll be different for all mums. My baby gets my breast milk down a tube into his stomach, but he’s not breastfeeding, not to me.
He started breastfeeding the day I was allowed to let him physically be at my breast. And for me personally he will be a breastfeeding baby when we no longer have that NG tube taped to his little nose.
That doesn’t make what I’m doing any less important, it’s the goal we are aiming for and this is the way we get there.
It seems almost fitting in a way that I am only able to really start teaching him to breastfeed now. Up until this point there were other things to focus on: breathing, mostly breathing. And now, now that he is past his due date and his breathing is generally somewhat settled, I am starting to teach him to feed. In a different way to a new mum with a full term baby, but at the same ‘time’, which feels weirdly good.
It took us 17 weeks to get here. But Oliver is one week old today.
We have not had the first week of our babies life in the way we had planned.
We haven’t had skin to skin at birth, immediate breastfeeding initiation, snuggles at home, the boys in their bedroom.
We miss our Charlie. And we wish we were starting the struggle of tandem feeding (we wish it so badly). But he joined us this week; I picked up his casts from the amazing Jen from Angel Casts and they are beautiful. His little feet can go tramping with his dad and he can watch over Oliver’s bedroom and keep his brother safe.
So although it’s full of the thoughts of things we missed out on, here we are, with our one week old. Starting to learn to breastfeed.