By Sarah Lockie
Breastfeeding my second baby has been…easy. When my obstetrician came to see me in hospital when she was a few days old, I said, “It’s so easy it doesn’t seem real, you don’t hear women talk about this kind of breastfeeding experience.” He replied, “It feels unkind to talk about it, doesn’t it? When so many women struggle.” (Did I mention my obstetrician is an amazing human?)
And so I thought about whether telling this story was kind, or reasonable, but I thought about another piece of advice which came from a midwife friend: the bad birth stories are the ones you hear, because those women need to talk – but seek out the good birth stories, because that’s what you need to focus on during pregnancy. So I’m offering my ‘good’ breastfeeding story, because it’s good to hear these stories too.
My daughter’s birth wasn’t easy, but compared to her brother’s it was a freaking triumph. Premature rupture of membranes, 19 hours of induced labour on an uncooperative cervix, an emergency Caesar due to failure to progress, haemorrhage. But it resulted in 3.715kg of healthy full-term baby, literally 3kg heavier than her brother. Lying on the operating table while they stitched me up, the midwife balanced Vivienne on my chest and she immediately started rooting around for a nipple. In surgical recovery I was still bleeding too heavily, and the midwife handed me Vivienne, saying “If she wants to feed, put her on the breast, it will help stop the bleeding”. She latched straight away, and fed on and off for the hour it took for my bleeding to come under control.
Back on the ward the midwives took her for the night – there was no way I could manage her after no sleep for 36 hours, no food for 24, hopped up on Endone with the spinal still wearing off. They brought her in a couple times to feed during the night, and she did. No drama.
She just kept going. She lost about 8% of her body weight post birth, and then regained almost to birth weight by the time we were discharged. My issues were of oversupply – giant, inflated boobs that required me to heavily squash above the nipple so she could latch. She’s 12 weeks old now, and we’re still going strongly and easily. She never causes me pain, she burps extremely easily and she sleeps easily, deeply and long.
Some well-meaning people have told me I ‘deserved’ an easy baby this time around. That is, of course, a logical fallacy, because if I ‘deserve’ the easy journey this time, then I must necessarily have ‘deserved’ the much more difficult journey last time. But I smile – I know what they mean. Sometimes the juxtaposition is grimly amusing, like when Euan demands “Euan drink milk from Mummy’s boobs”, and Alex and I make eye contact and give tight lipped smiles. I’ve had to ask several friends still feeding toddlers not to feed in our house so that he accepts our explanation of “that’s only for little babies.”
The “You had your chance” is silent.
So, this is my #blessed second go at feeding a baby from my boobs. It can be super easy. Again, I’d like to reiterate this is not a moral victory, just luck.
Sarah is a neuroscience researcher, mum to Vivienne and two-and-a-half year old Euan. Euan was born at 27 weeks, weighing 720 grams, and needing to be fed via a naso-gastric tube. You can read more about his story here.
She lives in Melbourne with Vivienne and Euan’s Dad, and spends her spare time (ha!) mountain biking and exploring the outdoors.
Read more feeding stories from The Full Bottle Project here.
If you have a stoy you’d like to share get in touch with The Full Bottle Project.