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the land of milk and honey

Originally posted on November 23rd 2016

The midwife had no sooner left the house when I felt this strange, unfamiliar tingling. I consulted Dr Google who suggested it was probably my milk coming in. Hooray!
My little piranha seemed as relieved as I was at this new development; so much so that he pretty much fed every 2 hours, sometimes every hour just to be sure. Over the next few days the pain and discomfort eased and I found it really helpful to count back from 10 to 1 after the initial latch to distract myself from the feeling. Each feed, by the time I got to 1, the pain had subsided and Starfish fed happily for anywhere from 15-40 minutes at a time.
The next midwife visit around 3 days later was a much happier occasion. Starfish had gained weight, 1 oz per day to be exact. And so it has continued since. Each time he gets on the scales we beam with pride to hear his new weight.

I have to confess, one night in week 2 I was completely knackered and Starfish wanted to feed constantly. In a stupor I relented and let hubby make up a bottle of formula. Starfish was none too pleased and literally looked like he was being poisoned but eventually gave in and drank it. Let’s just say, with the rancid smell of his nappies the next day we vowed (much to Starfish’s delight) that formula would never again pass his lips and the tub was unceremoniously dumped. Not only that but trying to pacify a hungry baby for the eternity it takes to make up a formula bottle (the boiling and cooling, mixing and testing) completely defeats the purpose as far from giving me a rest, it just stressed out all 3 of us.

 After just 2 weeks I was really enjoying each feed and was totally pain free. It is an amazing way to bond with Starfish, especially as there are some things that I was unable to do for him without help, especially in the first few weeks following the c section. I feel like Supermum when he gets grizzly but instantly settles when he starts to feed. I’m even more chuffed when he feeds and drifts off into a peaceful sleep! Get this, at just 8 weeks he was sleeping through the night! A full, blissful 8 hours (that’s 7 more than I was getting when I was pregnant!)

Everyone who meets Starfish comments that he has beautiful skin. He’s thankfully not had a cough, cold or any sickness so far; he’s tipping the scales at well over 14lbs now and has grown a staggering 12.5cm in length since birth. All this thanks to Momma Milk. No words can describe the sense of pride and accomplishment that gives me. Not only that but my milk adapts in content and temperature automatically to be EXACTLY what Starfish needs at any given moment, no notice required. (How cool is that?)

It’s not all about Starfish either. Despite having developed the appetite of a hippo (a common side effect of breastfeeding it seems) I am actually lighter now than before I got pregnant! Yes, you read that correctly; I’ve not just lost all my “baby weight” within a few weeks of having Starfish but I’ve lost more besides. And that’s not to mention the pounds we’ve saved not having to buy formula.

Fast forward 13 weeks and I got a call I never in a million years expected. SureStart asking Starfish and I to come in and speak to an ante natal group about breastfeeding. Even more shockingly, I readily accepted the invitation and spoke with gushing enthusiasm about the benefits of the magic milk. (Did you know that a little dab of it cures everything from sticky eye to nappy rash?) We finished our talk saying “If someone had told me 13 weeks ago that we’d be hear tonight speaking to you all, I’d have laughed in their face” and Starfish giggled right on cue!

We still had some challenges to overcome, not least feeding in public and when in my wheelchair out and about. I wasn’t feeling at all brave about either of these things. Starfish, much like his mum, is prone to quite vocal outbursts when he gets hangry (hungry and angry) and the last thing I wanted was a public meltdown if I couldn’t get us both positioned properly to feed in the chair. To get around this I expressed milk before going out and hubby fed Starfish from a bottle when out. This was necessary because Starfish is no fool; he knows if I try to give him a bottle that I have the original ‘equipment’ for feeding and refuses the bottle from me. This solution is not without its drawbacks; gone are the days when we could take spontaneous trips because expressing enough needs about 2 days notice; but at least it saved any tantrums from either Starfish or me!

This routine continued until a few weeks ago when we were on one of our trips out with our trusty bottles as normal. However Starfish is teething and began to cry inconsolably and refused the bottle from even his Dad as his little mouth was so sore. Seeing him in such a state I had to do something; I took the proverbial bull by the horns (or in this case the Starfish by the waist) and attempted to feed him in my chair. He cried for a few more seconds, then realised where he was, latched on and fed like a pro! He stopped crying almost straight away, (Momma Milk has natural pain relieving properties; the stuff is truly magic) fed for about 10 minutes then (I kid you not) looked up at me and smiled! It was almost as if he realised the milestone we had reached together and we were sharing a proud moment.

Hooray for Starfish and Wheelie Momma, there’ll be no stopping us now! xx