Thursday, 24 March 2011


Alfie is two weeks old today - time goes so fast. It seems like only minutes ago I was on all fours on my sofa trying to push him out!

Generally, having him here is wonderful. He's very content, sleeps a lot, loves cuddles with his mummy and only really cries if theres something majorly wrong. He hates having his nappy changed, thats inevitable crying, but the minute you start buttoning up his clothes again he stops wailing and makes this little bleating, wimpering noise which is just adorable. We gave him a bath last week & he was not impressed with that. The next time, I'm going to take him in the bath with me and get OH to help and hopefully that'll make it less traumatising for the little man. I think he just doesn't like to be naked which is a shame really coz I'd love to have more skin to skin contact with him when he's feeding or having cuddles.

We've got into a good routine now of feeds every 3-4 hours. He has his nappy changed first while the bottle is warming up and then he goes to sleep after hes been 'burped'. Its great as it means I'm getting regular sleep, if we need to go anywhere we can time it so he's back home for the next feed and OH can help out when he's back from work. Alfie seems to have a restless period from about 4-8 each evening when he wont settle after his feed and just seems to want more very hour or so. OH usually comes back from work to find Alfie having a bit of a cry & being difficult but is very good at settling him, even though he doesn't have the patience and wants the baby to be asleep within 10 minutes.

The big challenge has been breastfeeding. I've had numerous nurses and midwifes and specialists help me with positioning and getting him latched on etc but it only seems to work for 1 or 2 feeds then he goes back to his default behaviour. This involves spending 10-15 minutes trying to latch on, a lot of the time he does (which hurts a little bit but thats normal) and then spits my nipple out and has another go so after about 10 mins I'm feeling pretty uncomfortable and a bit frustrated that he's not doing it properly. He's of course getting more agitated because he's hungry. When he does eventually latch on, he'll take 10-20 big mouthfuls, where you can hear him swallowing the milk, and then drift off to sleep, sucking occasionally, especially if I try to pull away from him. The specialist said that you should always wait for him to take himself off the breast because then you know baby is finished. Well, Alfie might take himself off after 20 minutes, or after 4 hours. or he might come off so I can burp him and then want to go back on again immediately or maybe half an hour later if I'm lucky. It's very annoying because I obviously can't do anything - eat, have a drink, go to the loo, do any chores, I'm just sat stuck holding this limpet that won't feed properly and won't let me go.

OH came home from work on sunday to find Alfie crying and me in absolute bits. He'd been feeding on and off since 9am and by this point it was nearly 7pm. The only break I got was when OH's mum drove us back home as we'd been staying with her - and he cried the whole way. I was exhausted as I'd been up in the night with him and he'd been playing around for ages too, I was starving hungry as I'd not had chance to go to the shop let alone make any food. With us being away for the week we had nothing in the house. I was desperate for a wee and was generally feeling very miserable.

I told Him that I felt like a failure because I wasn't able to give birth to him properly and now I was struggling to feed him properly and it made me feel like a useless mother. He of course tried to say nice things to make me feel better but as he rarely displays any kind of emotion or sentimentality it made me cry even more. He told me I did an amazing job when I was in labour and he was incredibly proud of me and that if he could feed Alfie himself then he would. He took the baby for long enough to allow me to express, so we could feed him and finally get him to sleep. I decided at that moment that I was going to express every 3-4 hours and Alfie would be bottle fed. He's obviously happy having the bottle as we've had no problems with it so far, and it means he's getting a proper feed, regularly, and proper sleep and I'm not getting myself all worked up. I've been feeding him and then expressing after each feed since sunday night and we're both so much happier. I know its not ideal, because it is a bit time consuming having to express and then waiting for the milk to warm up, but it's working for us. I'm so much more relaxed, I' enjoying spending time with him, OH can feed him too so we can share the responsibility and I'm not spending all my time trying to feed a baby that's clearly just paying around.

I think that because I've found breast feeding so difficult, I've got a bit of a negative attitude towards it which obviously won't help the situation, especially since Alfie can pick up on my discomfort which upsets him too. I was talking with my mum about it and I came to the conclusion that I just don't like it. It makes me feel uncomfortable - even on the few feeds that have gone well, I've felt awkward and wanted it to be over. The idea of doing it for half an hour several times a day makes me feel a bit weird - not sick or anything that drastic, but I found myself willing him to sleep longer between feeds so I wouldn't have to do it quite so often.

I do feel like I'm letting him down, especially since when he was born it was quite a while before I got to hold him, so I feel like the bond between us is already tainted somehow and my not feeding him is bound to make that worse because we don't have the closeness you get when you're breastfeeding. The most important thing though, is that he is happy, he's getting fed regularly and he's gaining weight. The midwife is on her way round now so fingers crossed he's back up to his birth weight which will prove that I've been doing the right thing. The fact that both the 'breakdowns' I've had since he was born have been breastfeeding related says something really - and as he gets older, we'll have plenty of time to bond, he does stay at home all day with me after all, and likes cuddles with mummy better than cuddles with daddy!!

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