Friday, 6 May 2011

Things get better and better

From my earlier blogs, you'll know that Alfie and I struggled to develop a successful breastfeeding relationship and since he was about 10days old I was expressing and bottle feeding him. It was a difficult decision to make but Alfie was loosing weight, we were both becoming frustrated and I was in quite a lot of pain so it seemed like the right thing to do. Finding out Alfie has a tongue tie eased the guilt I felt at not being able to feed him properly, and we quickly settled into a routine of expressing every time he had a nap, and as much as I could in the night or if someone was here & could hold him for 20 mins.

A couple of weeks ago, he'd had his night feed and wasn't settling so I decided to try him on my breast to see if that calmed him. To my surprise, he latched on straight away, fed happily for ten mins, pulled away and fell asleep. Perfect. The best thing, is that it wasn't a fluke. I started giving Alfie less in a bottle so that he would want breast afterwards. By giving him something to eat first, it meant that if it took a little while to latch, he wasn't getting frustrated and upset. I slowly reduced the amount of bottles he was having during the day, always making sure he had at least one at some point so he would still take a bottle if OH was doing a feed or someone else was watching him.

It's amazing that we've had such a turn around, but I love it. I'm really enjoying breastfeeding and feel so much closer to him. I lie him down on his side and as soon as he hears my bra snap, he gives me the most adorable gummy smile and gurgles. He rests his hand on me everytime, as if he's hugging my boob and usually drifts off for a little while. It makes me feel so relaxed that I usually drift off too, especially if we're having a feed lying side by side in bed. Night feeds are quick and easy ow without having to worry about a bottle - although I usually use on of the night feeds as a bottle feed coz he seems to take it more easily then. During the day he's a bit more fussy.

We went to OH's dads wedding on sunday and although I took a supply of bottles with me as I wasn't sure how confident I felt to breastfeed in public quite yet - I ended up breastfeeding him almost all day. He had half a bottle during the meal as it wasn't long since i'd given him a feed so I knew he wouldn't be satisfied. I ended up feeding him in a cafe while we all ate breakfast, twice in church, a couple of times in the garden of the reception, once at the dinner table and twice sat in a rocking chair conveniently in the ladies toilets. I was so very proud of myself. The only pictures I have from the day have got OH in, so I can't post them, but I know the professional photographer took a few of me and Alfie so I'll post them up once we've got copies. He looked so smart in his little pinstripe trousers and waistcoat and his little blue shirt and shoes. OH looked very handsome in his morning suit. I was very proud of both of my boys :)

I've also started donating my breastmilk as I overproduce and have a constant supply in the freezer. A lady in Leeds collects it to supplement her own supply, and drops some off to another lady near her who has breast cancer and can't feed her child. Its such a good feeling to know that I'm helping other mums and babies continue with a breastfeeding relationship instead of giving their babies formula. Last time she came I gave her 130oz and I now have 250oz waiting in the freezer for her. I'm running out of space!!

All my hard work has been paying off though as Alfie is gaining weight wonderfully and at my post-partum check up this week (8weeks after Alfie was born) I was weighed and am now back to the same weight I was when I was 8 weeks pregnant. I'm obviously thrilled!! I think the combination of breastfeeding (and expressing) baby-wearing and walking as much as I can (wearing Reebok EasyTone shoes) has definitely helped because in all honesty, I really don't eat that healthily. I still snack on chocolate or cake as its a quick fix to keep me going. Usually OH cooks us a proper meal each evening but he's been working double shifts this week so I've been fending for myself. Quite often the food he cooks is full of butter anyway - tastes amazing but probably isn't all that healthy. I need to start eating better, for both of us, although I do take extra vitamins every day to make sure Alfie is getting everything he needs.

He seems to have settled himself into a nice routine. He wakes up about 8ish for a feed and then lies in bed with OH until he gets up for work. He usually has a nap about 10.30 for an hour, then a feed. Often a nap around lunch time, then a feed. I can normally get him to nap in the afternoon any time between 3 and 6 depending on what we've been doing in the day. I usually lie down with him and we'll nap and nurse together for a couple of hours. Bath time is at 7pm and hes usually asleep by 8.30. Most nights he sleeps 8 hours before waking up for a feed which is great :) I still get up once maybe twice in the night to express as its too uncomfortable for me to go that long. I know that if I just expressed a little bit and then went back to sleep, after a few days my body would regulate itself but I don't mind pumping the extra. It doesn't take long and its for a good cause - and its clearly helping me with my weight loss!!

OH sent me this picture the other day - I had no idea it had been taken, but it turns out THIS is the first ever picture taken of our son, moments after he had been born, just after OH had cut his cord. The next one after that was the picture of him in the weighing scales which I think I posted in an earlier blog, I thought that was the first picture but apparently not. The hands in this one belong to Maxine, our wonderful student midwife :)

I plan on taking some tentative steps back into academics this week. I proof read one of Michaelas essays earlier in the week and it made me realise just how much I miss doing my work. One of corse mates has sent me his annual review to proof read which I'm hoping to start this weekend. I had a supervision last month - more so more supervisor could meet Alfie than to discuss work - but we did talk about the ethics training that I need to do too. I'm going to look at that once I've read through my friends annual review and then in a couple of weeks I might start getting mum to watch Alfie for one afternoon a week so I can get some work done. I can also try and do bits when OH has the day off coz he can obviously do feeds and keep Alfie entertained while I work. It's going to be tough finding the time to do things while Alfie is still so young and needs almost constant contact when he's awake, but where theres a will theres a way, and we all know theres no way I'm not going back to uni. Its almost as important to me as my son!!

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