I am angry. Yes Angry.
Angry that I can’t feed my first born.
Angry at the hospital and midwives for taking the baby away within 8 hours of birth.
Angry at the hospital and midwives for introducing formula to the baby.
I wanted to breastfeed. No, I wasn’t brainwashed by the breastfeeding mafia to do so. Before giving birth, I’d already decided that is what I wanted to do. Never did I know nor any of the parenting classes prepared any first time moms that breastfeeding ain’t easy for some.
I am a first time mom. I had a rather traumatic delivery experience due to lack of care from the hospital I was admitted to. They pushed for intervention from the beginning. I knew that if I gave in, it would be down the slippery slope of intervention ending with a C-section. And I was right. It was a nightmare. The postnatal care was non-existent.
They took my baby away to nursery while I was asleep. Told me that he would be returned to me in an hour after he was there for observations as he vomitted something green. One hour turned into hours. Meanwhile I looked like frankenstein with all sorts of tubes hanging off me and drugged up to my eyeballs. I was incapable of moving much lest walking. I couldn’t see my newborn for best part of a day. This is supposed to be the most important bonding time between mother and her newborn. This time was taken away from me. Before anyone criticise that the hospital was doing it for his benefit, there was nothing wrong with him. They kept me in the dark about this. The main reason he wasn’t returned to me sooner was because the nursery was busy and they didn’t get round to seeing him. His ‘condition’ wasn’t as important nor urgent so they tubed him up, fasted him and kept him for ‘observations’. When I could finally see him, I asked what was wrong with him, no one could tell me.
I asked to breastfeed him or even just to feed him expressed colostrum. The midwife assigned to look after him, flat out said no but she quite happily fed him formula. It was frightening how they took control of my newborn away from me. She even rubbed her face in his and kissed him in the mouth which I thought was highly unhygienic and highly inappropriate. I feel robbed. Robbed of my time with my newborn.
The midwives who were looking after me refused to help me with expressing. Until one who was there for half the day helped me with getting the equipment to my room and told me any colostrum I could express would greatly benefit my newborn. When I took whatever I could express to the nursery, the midwife there wouldn’t even feed it to him. I was frustrated but I was too zonked out on the drugs from the surgery, I didn’t fight back.
When the baby was finally returned to me, it was a fight to feed him. He couldn’t latch. There was no help from the midwives. The one who had helped me earlier one never returned. As such, I kept trying to express whatever I could and fed him whatever I could express. It was very hard but I kept at it. I didn’t really sleep the whole time I was at the hospital. If I wasn’t looking after him (feeding him, settling him, changing him etc) I was expressing then I was washing all the parts after I had expressed. There was no time for much else.
After they finally let us leave (they refused to let us leave as he lost weight. Though it was less than 10% of birth weight and it’s normal, they blamed me for the weight loss), it was an uphill battle to breastfeed him. We engaged the services of a lactation consultant and a lactation consultant GP. The first 2-4 weeks were a huge blur.
We ended up mix feeding. Breastfeed when I could, expressed after and topped up with formula. My days were spent trying to breastfeed him (the lactation consultant GP said the baby wasn’t ‘transferring’ enough, whatever that meant), then expressed when I could so that could be given to him when he couldn’t latch. When all ran out, we gave him formula.
Then one day he refused to breastfeed. He screamed when I tried to feed him.
I feel lost.
I loved breastfeeding my newborn when he could latch. It is a special bond. It is a special relationship that can’t be described. Now that is over.
It feels like it hasn’t really started and it has ended.
I am still expressing every 3 hours every day. The feeding process is pretty much the same, except he no longer feeds from the boob. I express as much as I can to feed him and when that runs out, I feed him formula. Yes formula.
I am writing this during and after one of my expressing sessions.
Another session, so off to bed I go. Be up in another 3 hours.