A-Z

Interview 07

Age at interview: 37
Brief Outline: Attended antenatal classes, enjoying demand breastfeeding which has been convenient and easy apart from one bout of mastitis. Pregnant again and thinking about weaning at one year.
Background: At the time of interview, this 37 year old, White British woman was breastfeeding her 11 month old son. A pharmacist/university lecturer, she was married to a pharmacist.

More about me...

This woman says that she got off to a good start with breastfeeding because her son knew what to do rather than her. He fed straight after the birth and seemed happy so that gave her confidence. One particular nurse spent time with her in the middle of the night, encouraging and instructing on a one-to-one basis. That, she thinks, cemented her breastfeeding relationship and may have contributed to its longevity. Keen to breastfeed because of the benefits for her baby and herself, she demand fed exclusively before introducing solids at six months. Her son did not sleep as much as she expected a newborn to but he was contented. She discusses growth charts, mastitis, pressure from well meaning friends and relatives to introduce a bottle, the pros and cons of mixed breast and bottle/formula feeding, feeding in public and in front of older male relatives, introducing solids and gradual weaning. When she became pregnant again she was concerned about continued breastfeeding leading to a miscarriage or the pregnancy causing the milk to dry up but neither happened. So, now she is intending to complete weaning her son when he is one year old. She thinks it is really important for a new mother to find somebody who has breastfed to support her and for health professionals to encourage women to breastfeed but to be supportive of the mother whatever she chooses.

 

She attended antenatal classes run by the NCT which included a demonstration, a video and...

Text only
Read below

She attended antenatal classes run by the NCT which included a demonstration, a video and...

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I went to a series of ante-natal classes with the National Childbirth Trust and again they are very big proponents of breastfeeding and they'd talk to us about, you know, the importance of trying to get the baby onto the breast as soon as possible, even to the mums who knew they were going to have caesareans because they were particularly concerned.

What else did you learn at those classes in terms of breastfeeding? Was it just talking? Did you have demonstrations?

We did actually have a demonstration, one of the classes was held at the teacher's house, every other class was held at a GP's surgery and she had a video about breastfeeding, so it was very much things about positioning the baby, you know, so that, you know they're sort of looking up at the nipple and so it did give you some confidence, it just went through the basics. She also had a baby doll there and so, you know, she let us all have a go at, you know, just trying to get the baby into the right position, because she was trying to dispel one of the myths that people said about not having enough milk and was saying that often it's because the positioning is wrong, you know, it's, it would very, very rarely be that you don't have enough milk, it's just, you know, having yourself and baby in a very comfortable position.

 

She fed her baby on demand every one and a half to two hours in the beginning. He took one breast...

She fed her baby on demand every one and a half to two hours in the beginning. He took one breast...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Yes I think it's funny I have memories [laughs] of when I came home of certain music that was playing at the time, there are a couple of CDs that I really can't listen [laughs] to now, and it's because I suppose those first few days are hard, you know, the baby needs frequent feeding, especially when they are breastfeeding as I understand it, so every one and a half to two hours Michael was needing a feed. And it didn't last a long time, it wasn't a long drawn out affair and he was only taking from one breast at a time, so I was having to remember which one it was last time so [laughs] I remembered to put him on the right one the next time. I remember the night being the hardest part, my husband is probably the greatest advocate of breastfeeding because he never had to do a night feed [laughs]. So he thought it was the best thing since sliced bread and certainly in the, in the first few nights Michael was next to the bed in his little crib and my other half slept elsewhere just so that he could, you know, keep compos mentis, as long as one of us could, because I was up and down, you know, sometimes I didn't know what time of day it was, but it was a good investment and Michael seemed happy, Michael never, he didn't sleep an awful lot, you know, we'd, sort of in all the classes before we had the babies they were saying, 'Oh newborn babies sleep for sixteen hours a day'. And all the rest of it, and Michael was more like eight to twelve if we were lucky, and, and so he was quite demanding and, you know, he was just trying to, I just remember feeling very sorry for him because sort of thinking this, you know, you, you're in this bright light, you know, world, you don't really know whether it's day or night and that was one of the important things that we were grappling with in those first few days that, he didn't know, you know, it was just a twenty-four hour cycle for him. So it was just, you know, keeping those things in the front of your mind sort of, you know, and just knowing that it wasn't going to go on forever like that, that things would start to stretch a bit more as he started to get, a bit more, nutrition then, you know, it made it worthwhile, but they were hard those first few days.

How did you know when to feed him?

Well it was feed on demand, that's what I'd always been told so he would [laughs] well actually when I think about it, that was quite a good question, I mean he would, he would certainly make a dive, you know, he knew what [laughs] he was looking for, he would dive for that area [laughs]. I suppose it, it's a process of elimination I seem to remember it being, it was, okay he's crying, why is he crying? You know, what are the possibilities? Is it that his nappy's dirty? You know, when did he last have a feed? But we'll try him anyway so it was, you know, looking at the different possibilities, I seem to remember that feeding was always the first one unless there was a very obvious smell [laughs], and then after that it was just seeing whether, you know, and in the end whether it was just boredom, or just needed a hug so it, it was a process of elimination but I expected it to be frequent so, and yes just on demand.

 

There was a 'nurse', in a one-to-one session in the middle of the night, who taught her how to...

There was a 'nurse', in a one-to-one session in the middle of the night, who taught her how to...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
It's funny because I was still in shock [laughs] and probably coming down from the gas and air to be honest [laughs]. And so, you know, just having him there and that it was all quite wonderful, but it was just very satisfying really to think that he was, you know, he was latched on, I could feel him, you know, you know and his mouth was open in that little sort of way, you know, very wide and I could tell that he was, you know, in a good position and he seemed to be getting something from it. But it was interesting, I probably remember more about the, the next feed that happened because I was kept in overnight, Michael was born at five to ten in the evening and so they put me on to a ward just to keep me overnight, I hadn't had any procedures so we were going to go soon. But there was a nurse on that ward who helped me through the night and I have a feeling that that was one of the things that really just cemented what we were doing and she encouraged me, you know, when she was sort of like saying like, you know, 'It's probably best to put him back on again'. So in the middle of the night when things were really ever so quiet she just took me through on a one-to-one, we just put Michael on again.

What sort of things did she do or tell you that helped?

Well one of the things that she was saying to me was that Michael was a lazy feeder, so he was, he was, you know, he would suck and then he'd have a bit of a pause and, you know, sort of like, and I think she was concerned that my feeds were going to turn into, you know, one hour plus sessions when really you're sort of looking at, well I've been led to leave sort of twenty to thirty minutes perhaps and so she was giving me tips for things like tickling his feet, or tickling, and blowing on his ear while he was feeding so this would just encourage him to actually keep, you know, sucking and making the right moves, so I think that was very helpful because I think otherwise I would've just left him to do at his pace and that could've made things into a very drawn out process and, and who knows it may not have made me want to carry on for as long as I have.

What about the positioning and attachment did she help you with that?

Not as much, she certainly looked at it, she felt that we had pretty good positioning and she looked again at the way that he was attached so she felt that, as I say it was more him than me that, that we had but she did look over that but she was more interested in the way that he was feeding when he actually got on there.

 

She wondered if she could become pregnant while breastfeeding and, if she did, what effect...

She wondered if she could become pregnant while breastfeeding and, if she did, what effect...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Do you remember when you began menstruating again?

Yes, not for a while, it was certainly after six months that I had a period and, so yes, no I didn't see anything for a while which is another bonus [laughs] definitely because I have bad periods so, I wasn't in any rush to get those back again, so, yes.

Did you know you were cycling again? Did you have any idea?

No I've never been very in tune, I've never really known when I was ovulating or anything like that so no it was just when it happened it was a bit of a shock actually, it was coming back from our first holiday, we'd just crossed the Channel [laughs] on the train and yes, and I realised that I was having a period, so yes that was a bit of a shock, but that was the first time.

Anything else?

There was something came into my head as well I'm just trying to think what it was. I suppose there was this issue about whether you could become pregnant again while you were breastfeeding and we've been of the opinion that we, we wanted to, we were not going to use any contraception again, we wanted to have another baby, though, you know, as we weren't bothered how close behind Michael the next baby might come, and we certainly wouldn't have trusted breastfeeding to be a contraceptive in itself even in the early months when he was just breastfeeding all the time. We were warned beforehand and, you know, we were asked, you know, right around the time of birth, one of the first questions that we were asked by the midwife and health visitor, what would be your choice of contraception. So I think that was responsible, to be asking those questions, but for us it wasn't an issue at that time but yeah there are a lot of conflicting messages that go about that even if you a colleague of my husband's at work has had a hidden pregnancy for four months very, she's expecting, she was very well on with her pregnancy by the time that anybody knew about it and she hadn't had a period at all and was breastfeeding, you know, her little one, quite happily so it certainly can happen, we've got a close experience of personal friends who've had it happen so it's not a protection that we had thought it would be.

There was actually one other thing that I was thinking of, the fact that I am pregnant again and it's been interesting as far as breastfeeding's concerned because I've had conflicting advice from, two people with backgrounds in, in health as well and, you know, what, concerns that, and I think both concerns are justified. One that, perhaps if you're breastfeeding it can promote contractions, you know, so that, one was worried about because I had a bit of a rocky start to the pregnancy, whether it might encourage a miscarriage if there was any chance of it happening at all. But then another one saying to me, 'Well actually maybe you've got the bigger risk is that actually your milk might dry up because the other hormones are just going to flood your body because of the pregnancy'. So, neither of which, thankfully, seem to have, you know, come to pass but the end result was well, we're so close to him being twelve months old, he's not on many feeds a day now, let's just push on through, and certainly my midwife said that in her experience, the women that have become pregnant again while they were breastfeeding have generally carried on, so I think again if you become pregnant again then don't let that immediately make you panic and sort of think, 'Right I'm going to have to get the baby off'. I mean in my case it will be nice once Michael reaches twelve months. It gives me a good six months before the next baby arrives.

Previous Page
Next Page