Long time no speak! What a whirlwind the past few weeks have been! But then I guess life with a newborn is anything but! It’s safe to say that life with two bambinos has definitely taken a little while to adapt to but I feel as though the past couple of weeks something has just clicked and we’re much more settled – mainly because we have turned a huge corner after a testing and stressful start surrounding feeding – Jessica suffering with Tongue Tie and Reflux, to be more specific. Those stressful struggles combined with Joseph being off of pre school for the 6 weeks holiday – lets just say its been pretty intense. Of course it’s been lovely having more time with Joseph but it has been hard I’m not gonna lie, but ill leave that for another time.
Since documenting my feeding struggles on my Instagram Stories, I have had so much interest and messages from other Mum’s in the same position, or wondering if their baby has tongue tie too, so I figured the best thing I can do is document it on here and hope that it may help to shed some light for other Parent’s that are in the same position that we were.
So let me start from the beginning.
When it came to feeding Jessica I always knew that I would Breastfeed. Each to their own and a totally personal choice ( I don’t really understand why people get their knickers in a twist about the method to which other people want to feed their baby? Maybe I’m just too self involved but I couldn’t give two shits on how other people want to do things with their babies?!) ANYWAY, this was the road I wanted to go down, and it was the same when I had Joseph. I lasted 3 months with him, and to be honest even with him I had a tough old time and its only now that we are wondering whether Joseph has tongue tie too – let me explain; when Jessica was born she latched on straight away and we didn’t think anything was going to be an issue, because she latched on.. surely if there was any problem she wouldn’t have latched on? What was to come the next two weeks were just so difficult, it actually makes me really sad to think about it looking back. As anyone who has Breastfed will know, it can hurt to begin with, but after a few days once your milk has come in and your nipples are adapting, it does get easier with each passing day – so I am told anyway as I never experienced this myself. As with Joseph, when Jessica would try to latch on it would hurt like hell – I’m talking toe curling, hysterically crying in pain hell and she would never be satisfied. For the first few days, she would want to constantly feed and be so unsettled and crying pretty much on and off day and night. I wasn’t really sure what was wrong, but just assumed that maybe after a few days she would just settle a little more – even then I thought the fact that my nipples were cracked and bleeding was ‘normal’ – on day 4 we had to take Jessica to the hospital just so that they could check her for Jaundice. When there I asked one of the midwife/nurses if it was normal what was happening to my nipples and she said it was, so I still didn’t think anything untoward. That evening it got so bad that when Jessica was feeding, blood was coming out. I wrote on one of the Breastfeeding Groups on Facebook, asking for reassurance if that was normal and so many people assured me that it wasn’t and that it sounded like Jessica could have tongue tie – which in turn is stopping her from latching properly, meaning that she is hardly getting any milk out hence why she is feeding for so long and still always hungry. The next day I had my Midwife come out and she confirmed that Jessica had tongue tie – to have it divided on the NHS, we would have to take her to a ‘Breastfeeding Café’ so that they could confirm it is tongue tie and then be referred to have it done on the NHS which could take up to 3 weeks. The other option was to have it done privately at a cost! The very fact that we was expected to wait that long left me in tears. Especially being the height of summer, I was worried she would get dehydrated! By this point, I was so tired and was in quite a bad place because I felt like I was letting Jessica down, but I was just so determined to try to stick Breastfeeding out. That evening we decided that we would have it done privately because we just couldn’t wait that long. In the meantime, to give my poor nipples a break I would take it in turns to feed using nipple shields and then express using an electric pump. We found a tongue tie Practitioner who had availability 2 days later, and I cant tell you how excited I was. Of course, nervous of the procedure but I so desperately just wanted to see Jessica settled and happy. Also, I just wanted us to start enjoying eachother more. The fact that she was so unsettled was breaking my heart, and equally I felt like I was losing my mind. If I wasn’t trying to feed her, I would then be pumping straight after – it was a constant cycle. In hindsight, of course it would have been easier to give her formula but as I said, I just really wanted to make it work for us both, and I’m prettttty stubborn at times. What felt like two very long days, the time came for Jessica to have the procedure. I’m not going to lie, of course it wasn’t pleasant but it was no different to the feeling of them having their vaccinations done. It was done in the comfort of our own home and was over very quickly – it was much harder on us let me tell you! We were told that some babies just latch on straight away, whereas other babies have to learn to, which can take a little while. I noticed a difference with Jessica’s latch straight away but it still took her a good few weeks to adapt to it. What really made me cry was after the procedure, Jessica could poke out her tongue and move it around! The practitioner said that she had 100% tongue tie and was so surprised I had been able to feed her at all. Over the next few weeks, Jessica was feeding better but I think she had got so used to feeding so frequently, she continued to do so – which would be fine if I only had her to think about but by this point Joseph had started his Summer holidays and it was becoming really really difficult. She was wanting to feed pretty much every hour and a half day and night and I really felt like I was a walking zombie. Whilst Joseph was at pre school, I could nap with Jessica in the day but obviously that wasn’t an option so being awake 6am – 7pm with Joseph and then knowing I was in for a night of being up every hour and half, it was killing me and really getting me down. Jessica was then diagnosed with reflux which I have since learned is very common for babies who have had tongue tie. I’m going to save that for a separate follow on blog post because that’s something I want to go into separately. Two weeks ago, it got to the point where I wasn’t really in a good place with it all. I was getting a little resentful about having to feed all of the time (as much as I do enjoy and treasure it, the nights were proving too much for me) and the guilt on Joseph was very much real. I wasn’t being the fun mum I usually try to be because I just didn’t have the time or energy to give to him. After a long hard think, I decided to atleast try to combination feed (again I will dedicate a separate blog post to that) I felt like we had been on such a journey with feeding, I wanted to give it one last go to see if I could get this to work and if not then I would pack it in. Honest to god, it was like the heavens had opened guys. We started to give her a bottle at around 10pm and she slept for 4 hours – I could have cried from happiness, infact I did – shock haha. Also, she was like a different baby. She started to put weight on (having been told she was losing it 1 week before) she was so much more happier and settled – I was getting more sleep and as a result, Joseph was getting the best version of me! Since then, she is pretty much being formula fed, however I still Bfeed her in the night and morning – but the past couple of nights we have dreamfed her at 10/11 and she has been sleeping until 7am! I cant believe it. There are two sayings that are so cliché but so so true and that’s ‘fed is best’ and ‘happy mum happy baby.
When I think of our breastfeeding journey, I’ll be honest.. I could break down in tears. I so wanted to make it work for us as when we got it right I just enjoyed it so much but in the end it was all just too much to bear. Now Ad can get involved which is a great help and in turn we get to take it in turns to bath Joseph, story time etc. I know so many of you are suffering as I was – honestly you really need to do what is best for you. In hindsight I kind of wish we had introduced formula earlier on because it would have saved a lot of stress and sadness but its all worked out for the best now and we have turned such a huge corner, as a family we are so happy and settled. I do think, in general with a newborn the first two months are always a little up in the air but I promise you that it does get better and easier! That’s me done for now but I will follow this up with a Reflux and Combination Feeding post because there is so much I have to talk about with you!