Hi D Ho and welcome to my pregnancy update for week 35. This week baby is a about one and a half foot long (getting big) and weighs about 5 1/4 pounds – about the size of a honeydew melon. I can really feel just how big baby is now, its like having a sack of potatoes stuck to your tummy that you have to bend over whenever you need to try and reach for anything (like my toes 🙂 but luckily I can still see them! ).
Weight wise I’m still doing well, 16 Lbs less on so far in this pregnancy than in my last pregnancy at 35 weeks. Its great seeing the pay off in the photos now.
This week was my first full week off work but as much as I just needed to spend it in bed most of it was taken up with appointments. I had a hospital check up on Monday, Pregnancy Pilates Monday and Wednesday, Antenatal Class on Tuesday and a Breastfeeding Class on Friday toped off with Mothers Day on Sunday.
You might wonder why I went to a breastfeeding class considering the fact that I am still feeding my Little Man who just turned two. Well, feeding a toddler is a lot different to feeding a new born and I figured I could do with a refresher course. If your considering breastfeeding its really important to learn as much as possible before the baby arrives. Once the baby arrives your main priority is making sure your baby is fed and healthy, if you run into problems its natural to turn to formula if you don’t have the support in place to quickly address those problems and enable you to continue breastfeeding with confidence.
Now before I get too far into this I just want to say that its up to everyone to decide what is best for them and their families, be it breastfeeding or formula feeding. We are all just parents trying to do the best we can for our children and there is no need for judgment on one decision or another. These are just my random musings of my experience with Little Man and I hope that they might be helpful to others in a similar situation.
When Little Man was born I wasn’t determined to be a breastfeeding mum. I’d taken the hospital breastfeeding class and knew about the health benefits to both my baby and I by choosing to breastfeed. I said I’d give it a try and see what happened, but I would have happily switched to formula if breastfeeding didn’t work out for me. Little did I know that this was probably the start of my hippy parenting ways and transformation into Maverick Mammy 🙂
I had a difficult recovery after Little Mans birth and ended up in hospital for 6 nights. This was a tough time but it meant that I had 24 hour real life breastfeeding support for 6 whole days and nights. I had been separated from Little Man for 2.5 hours after his birth and this lead to difficulties getting feeding started, by the time I returned from recovery Little Man was no longer looking to feed, instead he just wanted to sleep. He developed jaundice and ended up in the special care baby unit some of the time. The hospital midwives were great though – never pushing formula, always trying to get little man to take expressed breastmilk from a syringe or a cup.
Breastfeeding can be hard to get the hang of, Little Man had 24 hours where he was just fed formula as I wasn’t well and was worried about his jaundice. I remember at one stage saying to myself I’d give breastfeeding another 24 hours and if it didn’t work I’d switch to formula permanently. That night I met a wonderful kind and patient midwife who sat with me for about an hour at 3 o’clock in the morning working on our technique. Something clicked that night and from that point on breastfeeding became a whole lot easier. While it was tough at the time I really think that if it hadn’t been for our extended hospital stay I wouldn’t have been able to stick with breastfeeding.
Back to this week and I think I was the only woman at the breastfeeding class who had any real life breastfeeding experience. While I did get a good refresher on latching a new born there were so many times that I wanted to stop and interrupt the instructor (and occasionally scream) but I did my best to restrain myself as I know theres a lot to take in when your starting to learn about this for the first time.
One of the biggest things I wanted to add to the class was were to find support on line. There are great real life support groups out there but if you end up like me, living in a rural area with no public transport, an unplanned C-section means you can’t drive or leave the house really for 6 whole weeks. Any real life support groups near me all only operated during the week so I couldn’t get to any of them until my 6 week sentence was up and by that stage I had well and truly got the hang of breastfeeding. What I did find however was great support online.
There are wonderful Facebook groups full of both new and experienced mums who aim to make breastfeeding the norm. They are a great place to learn from other mums and ask questions (this is the place to be a 3am if your worried about your baby – theres always someone else up too) and they promote a great culture of normal term breastfeeding. When I first started breastfeeding I only knew of one other person in real life who had done it so groups like these were invaluable to me for making it normal.
The other two great online resources I found were Kellymom.com and the Dr Jack Newman Videos at www.breastfeedinginc.ca, both of these websites are great for learning about breastfeeding in general and will answer lots of common questions. I think I lived on these websites during the first few weeks with Little Man.
Aside from on line support heres what I would have added to the class if I could:
1. Breastfeeding takes time to get the hang of but it gets easier.
The original class I attended showed a graph of effort required for breastfeeding versus formula feeding over time something like this (sadly this no longer included in the class I attended this week):
This graph really stuck with me during the first few hard days of breastfeeding. I remember being overwhelmed by it all but thinking that if I could just hang in there things might seem a whole lot easier in a weeks time.
2. Don’t be afraid to feed in public.
Most people won’t even notice that your breastfeeding. Breastfeeding means you always have enough milk ready at the right time and the right temperature when ever you need it making breastfed babies extremely portable. Just bring a couple of spare nappies and a change of clothes and your out the door – no giant baby bags needed and it doesn’t matter if you stay out way longer than you had planned! In my two years feeding Little Man out and about we have never had a negative experience.
3. You will get more sleep by breastfeeding.
Yes you may be responsible for all the night feeds but you can safely co-sleep with a breastfed baby and sleep as your baby feeds – see the infographic below showing the 7 steps to safe co-sleeping from the La Leche League. Also you never have to leave your bed in the middle of the night to go downstairs and make a bottle for a crying baby.
4. Be careful who you take your breastfeeding advice from.
Unfortunately we have lost generations of breastfeeding knowledge as very few of our Grandmothers, Mothers, Sisters or friends breastfed. Breastfeeding training for our GPs and Public Health Nurses is often very limited and something that they may have completed many years ago. While everyone will be quick to offer advice its really important to get support from specifically trained professions like lactation consultants and/or experienced breastfeeding mothers. There is a saying that there is a breastfeeding solution for every breastfeeding problem so if you run into a problem you want to make sure that you get the breastfeeding solution.
5. Its so worth it!
Once you’ve both got the hang of it, it makes life so much easier. When you go back to work its a great way to reconnect with your baby when your home. Our early morning feeds everyday before I left for the gym and work at 6am meant that I spent time with my son every day – even on the days where i didn’t get home until midnight because of deadlines at work.
So if you could what breastfeeding information would you want to give to new mums or what would you want to know?
On other non breastfeeding related topics this week was also Mothers Day. Daddy and Little Man were very good and treated Granny and I to afternoon tea at the Hotel Meyrick in Galway.
Little Man loved exploring the hotel and watching the piano player. I think he was feeling a little neglected and unappreciated (the piano player not Little Man) as he did play Jingle Bells at one point – I think he was trying to see if anyone would notice. Overall had a lovely afternoon relaxing in the hotel lounge with our tea and sweet treats.
Anyway, thats my little update from week 35, check back soon for my week 36 update.