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Interview 23

Age at interview: 33
Brief Outline: Good milk supply, used nipple shields with first baby, introduced hungry baby formula for last feed at night. Second baby exclusively breastfed, just beginning solids.
Background: At the time of interview, this 33 year old, White British woman was breastfeeding her 6 month old daughter. She also had a 3 year old daughter whom she had breastfed. She was a married, full-time mum.

More about me...

This woman says that she and her husband have 'never been good in terms of routine' and so breastfeeding, which she has found easy after the first few days, fits well with their lifestyle, particularly in terms of demand feeding, allowing the baby to sleep when she is tired and always having the baby's food source with them wherever they are. She says that their daughters have changed their lives in a positive way and they have had to become a little more disciplined, however, in not being able to leave the house on a whim without nappie's for example. One routine they did introduce early with their first child, though, was to make a definite distinction between night and day. At night they made a point of putting the baby into her babygro, keeping the lighting in the nursery subdued and the interaction with the baby, including nappy changes, minimal so as not to fully waken her. It is completely different with their second daughter who sleeps in her parent's bed and feeds without any disturbance. This woman used to be a heavy sleeper until she had children. Now she says that she is aware of her baby and wakes when the baby does. The best advice that she can give a new mother is to 'go with the flow' and 'follow your instincts'.

 

She saw a video of someone breastfeeding at her antenatal class but she was too focused on the...

She saw a video of someone breastfeeding at her antenatal class but she was too focused on the...

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While I was pregnant, there was a little bit of help from the antenatal classes it was really a series of, I just did four classes, so they did a little section on breastfeeding and I think they put, I think they showed us a video clip of someone. Again I think I just, seeing the video clip I think I just assumed that it would come very, very naturally and didn't really, as they wouldn't, they wouldn't, they didn't really highlight the fact that a lot of people get soreness and that it's to do with the position and, again until you've actually experienced it you don't really sort of fully comprehend what they're talking about. And also I think in the ante-natal classes they were so focused towards the actual birth and I think my mind is probably more thinking about labour and the hospital and that side of things that, yeah I, I didn't really, probably give enough thought to breastfeeding.

 

She would not sun bathe topless but breastfeeding in public has been no problem except for one...

She would not sun bathe topless but breastfeeding in public has been no problem except for one...

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Yeah I've always fed in public. I've always been very self-conscious, I would never, I've never ever sunbathed topless, but breastfeeding children no problems at all [laughs] but I think, you know, you can do it very discreetly, people don't need to know. I suppose with Abby again, my first, I was a little bit, you know, those first few outings and the first time you breastfeed in public is, you do get a little bit anxious about it and I was and I used to wear shawls, you know, they had all those big pashminas which were fantastic and I would just feed her and I'd just pop a shawl over her and give her a feed there and then.

Did you ever get any looks or comments?

Once, I've had one, there's one, once it was down at, I was in a tea shop, and I was feeding her, it was one of these set ups where you have a couple of little booths. And we were in a booth and there were two tables per booth and I was in there with my mother and I was feeding Abby and a family came and sat down, you know, we, so we were already established and I was already feeding her, and I think only once they sat down they realised what I was doing and they made a real point of turning their backs to us and putting the menu up and, and that I think it was the only time I've had any negative.

So that putting the menu up was by way of their protection or yours? Were they trying to preserve your privacy or they'd just'

No.

'disapproved?

They disapproved, they were, it was very, they had two children with them I think, their children must have been early teens maybe, but it was very much a turn, turn their backs to us, which.

How did that make you feel?

Cross actually, I was a bit, no firstly we were there [laughs] we were there first and, you know, it had obviously not been that obvious for them to be able to come and sit down at the table and take their place there. so it was, you know, and especially having children themselves I thought 'Well that's a bit unusual' but that's as I say, I mean I've, readily breastfed in public and that's the only time I've had a problem, but I wouldn't have expected a problem to be from a family so that was quite a shock really.

 

Her first baby slept in the nursery but her second slept in the family bed which she says was a...

Her first baby slept in the nursery but her second slept in the family bed which she says was a...

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And again as soon as we got into the night time feeding she was in the babygrow, we stopped really talking to her and stimulating her and that would be a case of just picking her up, putting her to the breast, feeding her rather than sort of talking and playing and, and stimulating her.

A lot of people have talked to me about that idea where do you think you got that idea from to keep the night time slightly different from

The day time?

'the daytime, quieter and more subdued?

I think it was just talking to friends, and really I think it was just something, it just seemed to make sense, you talk about just trying to calm, calm children in the evening and, and as I say keep the lighting subdued, a top tip that a friend had given us is, in the nursery always put on a dimmer switch, it's a small job to do but put on a dimmer switch to make sure that if you are going to put on lights it's very low lighting, very soft lighting and as I say just walking in and just quietly feeding the baby and then putting her down which we did and, so I'd say that's really the only routine we stuck to was trying to modify the way we fed during the day and night which as I say then, then turned into.

So she slept in the nursery and you went through there to feed her at night?

We did with Abby yes, yeah, yeah, we went down to my mother's first of all and she was in the same room with us but we have a little nursery that's just off our bedroom so she was very close, so you could hear her very clearly so.

And did you do that differently with your second child?

Very differently with [laughs] our second child, very differently with the second child again because of the proximity of rooms we've actually had Rosie in bed with us and.

Sleeping all night?

Yes [laughs] absolutely, and.

Did that make the breastfeeding easier?

I wouldn't say it made it easier, well it made a lot easier for me in terms of sleep, because I've been able to just literally just roll over, give her a feed, go back to sleep so really we're both half asleep while we're doing it, there's, there's minimal disruption to either her or myself so yes. But as I say with, with Abby it was, you know, slightly different and we probably, we didn't have the confidence really to have her in bed we were worried that we might roll on her with Abby what we used to do is we'd bring her down in the morning at about five or six o'clock and then she would stay in bed with us until we got up but as I say with, with our second child she's been in bed with us.

Did you notice any difference in their night time feeding patterns or anything between having one in a nursery separate from you and one in the bed with you, with frequency or length of feeding anything like that?

The girls have been very different, Abby was a hungrier baby full stop. She's been, she would feed for longer [pause], I wouldn't say it was a huge amount of difference between the two of them being in the, where they've been sleeping in terms of feeding, Rose, the youngest will, she'll wake up, yeah I suppose I'll give her a feed [pause] no I wouldn't say it's, the number of feeds has really increased maybe for, because I'm there and she knows the milk is close at hand it's maybe given her slight more information to snack but she's not really she's not really done that, maybe a little bit more when she was you
 

She thought she would feed her second baby with ease but she had to learn to position her new...

She thought she would feed her second baby with ease but she had to learn to position her new...

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Well Abby was my first now she was, well in the hospital I started feeding her there obviously she went she straight to the boob, I had a slight struggle with her when I first started a feeding, I thought I had her properly latched on, but I got home and she was, she was, she got quite upset and realised actually I wasn't latching her properly, so I think probably the first couple of days she wasn't getting enough food, and then with a bit of a, the help from the visitor, the health visitors, and I also used a nipple shield for a little while with her just to get the confidence up and for her to really, sort of get the feeling of latching on properly, 'cause that was the problem she wasn't latching on properly, so yes so that was Abby. And then Rosie, having breastfed once before I thought it was going to be, plain sailing and I assumed that you'd almost pick up where you left off 'cause towards the end of breastfeeding you're far more confident and relaxed with it and you can sort of well not quite feed whilst walking round the house but, so I didn't, I assumed it would be very, very easy feeding Rosie but what I'd forgotten is actually with Rosie, oh well, she hadn't breastfed before whilst I'd done it before she hadn't. So she had to learn again, so again, it was about, a health visitor who came around and said, 'Right try changing the angle because you're feeding in a position for feeding an older child, so what you need to do is actually remember she's still very little and, raise her back up to that position for, of the newborn feeding'. So, again, again, as soon as we got that sorted, it's been a, she was, she was fine from there.

Well this is it you think you know, you think if you've done the breastfeeding before and you just assume you'll pick up where you left off, and so having already breastfed one child I assumed that I would, you know, go to hospital, have a second baby and put the baby straight on and off we'd go. And whilst I was more confident the second time round it still wasn't as easy as I had anticipated I had expected it to be, as I say, I'd expected to feed her instantly and she would latch on, but what I was forgetting in the equation is that whilst I'd breastfed before she hadn't and that, the first time round both mother and child are learning to breastfeed, second time round whilst the mother may have confidence in it the child has never fed before so yeah had to really, then had to do a slight, take a step back and I had to reassess my positioning of her I was, I was holding her in a way that I'd, I would have held an older child to feed and actually what the health, the health visitor came round and said, 'No what you need to do is remember she's a smaller child I guess, smaller baby you need to lift her right up onto, and give her more assistance in feeding, you need to position her rather than her find the position' so yeah so that was something that slightly took, not, it was a lot easier feeding the second time round, but as I say, I hadn't expected to have that, just initial hitch where it's like, 'Oh ok'.

How long did it take you to get it right?

Probably three or four days to really, you know, get back into finding the right position and really getting her, held in closer and, it was getting used to, lifting the rest of her body I would say is the main thing and just getting her for the whole, the whole of her raised up. And then once obviously you've done it a few times you then, find a position that's natural to you and the health visitor had suggested trying different positions, maybe trying the, as she called it, 'The rugby ball' position sort of under, which I tried for a little while I, it didn't really work for me I know it works for some people, so I then changed it back again [laughs].
 

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