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Interview 27

Age at interview: 32
Brief Outline: Nursing strikes with her son. Daughter required heart surgery after birth. Expressed breastmilk for her and also provided some for the milk bank. Working and breastfeeding.
Background: At the time of interview, this 32 year old, white woman was breastfeeding her 11 month old daughter. She also had a 2 year old son whom she had breastfed. An IT consultant, she was married to a further education teacher in special needs.

More about me...

This woman spent some of her childhood in Japan, where her mother still lives. She says that travelling by aeroplane with a breastfed baby is easy because you don't have anything to sterilise and latching the baby onto the breast for take-off and landing is the perfect way to deal with “ears popping” due to changes in cabin pressure. She has a degree in mathematics and Japanese and works for a large multi-national corporation where she and her supportive supervisor have been instrumental in developing company policy with respect to breastfeeding employees who wish to continue breastfeeding on return to work. She is also politically active in supporting campaigns and organisations that are aimed at protecting breastfeeding such as the Nestle boycott (for the “bad” marketing of breastmilk substitutes) and Baby Milk Action (a non-profit organisation that aims to save lives and to end the avoidable suffering caused by inappropriate infant feeding and marketing of infant formula). She has been very forthright in asking for what she wants with respect to breastfeeding, particularly skin-to-skin contact after her son was born by caesarean section and breastfeeding (or the provision of breastmilk) for her seriously ill newborn daughter who required heart surgery. She says that “I knew that the only thing I could do for her was to express, so I did it, I expressed and expressed and expressed and expressed, gallons of it”. 

 

She insisted on skin-to-skin contact with her baby immediately after her caesarean section delivery.

She insisted on skin-to-skin contact with her baby immediately after her caesarean section delivery.

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I was clued up that it was the only option as far as I was concerned. I was clued up about a lot of the mechanics and I was clued up about some of the things to bully staff about, like my son was born by emergency c-section and when we were going into theatre I said, “I want skin-to-skin straight after delivery” and they said, “There won’t be room.” I said, “There will be room, I’ll make room” they said “Oh no there won’t be room behind the curtain” I said “Oh yes there will be, I’m having skin-to-skin straight after the delivery” and I did have skin-to-skin straight after the delivery and he suckled in the Delivery Suite and I think the midwife was quite impressed with how bolshie I was being about it but to me it was just the most important thing in the world.
 
How did the surgeon take it?                                                                       
 
I don’t know [laughs] because I was saying all that to the midwife not to the surgeon. I think they were just more concentrating on sewing me up to be honest [laughs].
 
So, he was born and put straight…
 
Straight to the breast.
 
…on to your chest, straight to the breast?
 
and, and, and he suckled pretty much straight away.
 
 
 

She talks about breastfeeding on an international aeroplane and how it helped her baby to cope...

She talks about breastfeeding on an international aeroplane and how it helped her baby to cope...

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How was that travelling on your own with a breastfed baby?

Great, nothing to sterilise on the aeroplane, perfect, it's the perfect remedy for popping ears and it was so comfortable and when he cried.

What do you mean it's the perfect remedy?

Well because he's sucking when he's feeding and so that stops the ears popping with the change of the cabin pressure when you're going up and down so.

So did you make a point of latching him on to the breast on take off and landing?

Absolutely, take off and landing and then I had a short hop flight when I got there and that take off he wouldn't latch on because he'd only been fed, you know, an hour ago so at that point we used a dummy and then landing from that flight again. And when he cried I fed him and it was great, by that time I had started to wean him a little bit earlier than I'd wanted to with some solids, more because I didn't want to be doing that as soon as I went back to work and I also didn't want to be doing it under my mother's beady eye, abroad, on my own without my husband, so I did it slightly earlier than one might, I wanted to do that first bit, and he was obviously showing interest and stuff so there wasn't a problem with it and we didn't give him very much at all, it was just the odd banana and the odd baby rice mixed with breastmilk, nothing exciting, the odd bit of Japanese food when we were out there [laughs].

Did he take to that?

Yeah he did, he still likes it, so that, that was obviously a good thing. Coming home was a bit more interesting because he screamed a lot more, and I think it was a time difference thing, going out it was a night time flight and so I fed him, put him down and he slept, full stop, coming back it was a daytime flight, much, much harder, he wanted to stand on my knees a lot of the way which was exhausting, thirteen hour flight and he wanted to scream the rest of the time and wouldn't latch on, and I think it's because he thought, you know, 'it's daytime surely I should be outside playing'.

Was that hard for you, a screaming baby on an aeroplane?

It was and it wasn't because I knew there was an end, I knew, you know, oh there's ten hours to go, there's eight hours to go, or whatever it was, you know, I knew, and we did, I got bits of peace and he slept for about five hours in the middle, so, it wasn't as bad as it could've been. And I was coming back to my lovely family so, you know, what was the problem [laughs]?
 

She knew that breastfeeding was the most important thing that she could do for her baby in...

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She knew that breastfeeding was the most important thing that she could do for her baby in...

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What would you like to say to a pregnant woman who found herself in a similar situation to you?

Get a hold of the book 'Breastfeeding Special Care Babies'*, borrow it from La Leche League, get to know your La Leche League Leaders, or other feeding consultants, know what you're about before the time comes, have a plan in place, yes you may have to change the plan but have a plan in place, know that you're going to breastfeed, don't think that you're going to breastfeed, know that you're going to breastfeed, and what tips you're going to use to make it work, if at all possible speak to anyone in charge, I mean we had a Cardiac Liaison Nurse who I could speak to before who knew how important it was to me and if you have someone similar speak to them, tell them how important it is to breastfeed. I wish I'd been able to get that book onto the ward and to the ward staff before I went through it and that might be an idea. And speak to anyone who's been through anything similar, if you can get hold of anyone through any of the heart charities, or I suppose charities with other babies with problems, but know in yourself that it is, both the hardest and the most important thing you can ever do for your child, forget the right school, forget living in the right area, forget anything like that, the most important thing you could do, especially for a special care baby is to breastfeed them.

*Footnote' The book that this woman refers to is 'Breastfeeding Special Care Babies (Second Edition)' written by Sandra Lang and published by Elsevier Health Sciences in 2002. 

 

She knew that the only thing she could do for her daughter was to provide breast milk. She...

She knew that the only thing she could do for her daughter was to provide breast milk. She...

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I went for my normal antenatal scan and they said, “Mm-mm, mm-mm, mm-mm need a couple of more pictures can you come back again?” And so I said, “Yeah okay”, so we went back again and the second time unfortunately my husband couldn't be with me and they said, “There's a problem, there's a problem with the heart”, they couldn't diagnose the problem, my local hospital isn't enough of a specialist, so they sent me up to the local tertiary centre for cardiology, and I was seen by a couple of consultants who both, oh gosh they're all so fantastic and they diagnosed coarctation of the aorta at twenty-two week scan. Which is basically a narrowing of the main aorta coming out of the heart, it doesn't affect the baby in the womb because there's a duct that keeps the blood flowing but at about day three the duct would close and the baby would then turn blue and die if they don't do anything about it.

How did you feel when you heard that?

Devastated. I guess I'd always known, I have this friend, the same friend who fell pregnant after having been breastfeeding a three month old, and she had a child who was very poorly when he was born, he was very premie, and I went straight back to some of the letters they'd written us actually, and how they'd been so happy that he was himself and that it was still a very precious life and they were so grateful for the NHS and all this sort of thing and that was really how I felt, yes I was devastated, I was very upset that she wasn't going to be my perfect baby, but very grateful that I knew I would get the care I needed, very grateful that I knew she was still special, she was still precious and, this thing about, 'Well it doesn't matter whether it's a boy or a girl as long as it's healthy', well no even that actually at the end of the day it doesn't really, really matter what matters is that that's your child. And I fairly quickly came to terms with it, I think.

I had fantastic support from friends, family, the church and, real fabulous supportive network around me. My husband obviously, and to a certain extent we just had to get on with it, and there was nothing we could do at that point.

So she ended up back in Intensive Care, back on a ventilator and I'd actually never seen the milk flow so fast, everyone thought it would stop but it didn't, I think the adrenalin forced it out, and I knew it was the only thing I could do for her was to express and so I did, I expressed and expressed and expressed and expressed, gallons of it [laughs] every time I went down to see her they were like, “More milk?” stashing it away in their freezer ready for when she could take it, and it was very noticeable that when they were on the ward round discussing her feeds and when she was on the electrolyte salts, this sort of clear fluid, that doesn't look like food to me, [laughs] looked horrible, they were talking, “Oh maybe we can start her on some milk tomorrow?” And the nurse would say, “We've got EBM and mother's EBM in the fridge”, “Oh we could give some of that today”, and so it was obvious that they would start with expressed breastmilk much earlier than they would with formula and the consultants were very pleased that she had my milk, and by this stage we had so much stashed in the freezer the milk bank was long ago not needed. And so she started off getting that through the tube and then I kept on bullying I said, “I want to feed her, I want to feed her, I want to feed her”, and eventually they let me, they were worried that she'd tire herself out because, which is often a problem with heart babies, but they let me and it was a magic moment. I guess, finally I've got my daughter back, it was just so

 

Her daughter received milk from the milk bank so she expressed and donated to the milk bank...

Her daughter received milk from the milk bank so she expressed and donated to the milk bank...

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She moved up from Intensive Care to the Cardiology Unit and they have a couple of side rooms where there's enough room for a mother and a child so we moved in there, I couldn't have gone there to start with because they had no midwifery care in there but, by that point they could house me in there, so we had our own little room, with our own little kettle, and our own little sink, and I could shut the door and express in peace if I wanted to, and I was still expressing because I knew that when I left it was all going to the milk bank so I just carried on, well there wasn't much else to do apart from gaze at my daughter, so might as well and so I did and it kept the milk flow going. And we moved in that little room that was fantastic, we had a bit of privacy, and space for all my thousands of visitors to come and see me, I had to send the flowers home because there were too many and they didn't fit in the room and half the chocolates got left with the staff because there were just too many, hot drinks is the thing to take with you, tea bags and real hot chocolate and things because hospital tea is just so disgusting, so I took gallons of things like that and then we came home I guess.

How old was she at this stage?

She was a month. And just before leaving the ward I handed the Lactation Consultant a carrier bag full of frozen milk for the milk bank, far more than we'd used, so that, and that felt really good, really, really good. Because I used milk bank milk when she was born, and I wanted to re-stock and I could, so we did.

How does that work, the milk bank thing?

You express it obviously being extra careful with hygiene because it's going to very sick premie babies and you freeze it, you get it to the milk bank, they mix different batches together, they pasteurize it and then they re-freeze it.

Do you have to take it to the milk bank or do they come and pick it up?

The last time I took it because we were going up for a check-up for my daughter anyway, but one of the cardiac nurses who has looked after my daughter comes down regularly to our local hospital and has said that in the future she'll transport milk back if I want her to, so.

And this is purely voluntary?

Purely voluntary.

No payment?

No payment, no nothing, warm fuzzy feeling in one's heart, knowing that as they say, 'If all premie babies were given human milk then we'd save a hundred lives a year in Britain alone', and just knowing that by doing that I could be saving someone's life, just like donating blood I guess, and it's free and I get very little now actually when I'm expressing and I'm not donating at the moment because I haven't got enough for my daughter if I do, but, when it was gushing might as well. What harm is there in it now? None whatsoever, and I say I used it, so the least I can do is give some back. 

 

Her baby required surgery immediately after birth for a heart condition. Being separated was...

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Her baby required surgery immediately after birth for a heart condition. Being separated was...

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I went for my normal antenatal scan and they said “Mm-mm, mm-mm, mm-mm need a couple more pictures can you come back again?” and so I said “Yeah okay” so we went back again and the second time unfortunately my husband couldn't be with me, and they said “There's a problem, there's a problem with the heart”. They couldn't diagnose the problem, my local hospital isn't enough of a specialist, so they sent me up to the local tertiary centre for cardiology, and I was seen by a couple of consultants, Oh gosh they're all so fantastic [laughs], and they diagnosed coarctation of the aorta at my twenty-two week scan which is basically a narrowing of the main aorta coming out of the heart. It doesn't affect the baby in the womb because there's a duct that keeps the blood flowing but at about day three the duct would close and the baby would then turn blue and die if they don't do anything about it.

How did you feel when you heard that?

Devastated. I have this friend, the same friend who fell pregnant while breastfeeding a three month old, and she had a child who was very poorly when he was born, he was very premie, and, I went straight back to some of the letters they'd written us actually, and how they'd been so happy that he was himself and that it was still a very precious life and they were so grateful for the NHS and all this sort of thing and that was really how I felt, yes I was devastated, I was very upset that she wasn't going to be my perfect baby, but very grateful that I knew I would get the care I needed, very grateful that I knew she was still special, she was still precious and, this thing about 'well it doesn't matter whether it's a boy or a girl as long as it's healthy' well no even that actually at the end of the day it doesn't really, really matter. What matters is that that's your child. I fairly quickly came to terms with it, I think. And one of the reasons I came to terms with it was because they told us it was a girl and they had to because, initially we hadn't wanted to know, and we didn't know with my son, but there's a genetic condition linked to the coarctation which she was liable to have because it only concerns girls and not boys. They had to tell us it was a girl, they had to tell us that she could possibly have something called Turner Syndrome [a genetic condition caused by a missing x chromosome that occurs only in females] which she actually doesn't have because they had to offer us the opportunity to have a termination if we wanted. We were like “Why would we possibly want that?” So that idea went straight out the window but I guess knowing that she was a girl, partly I was happy because let's face it I wanted a little girl, partly I could choose a name, I could talk to her and I felt I could start to build a relationship which I hadn't needed to do up until then, but because of the diagnosis it really helped me in coming to terms with this. With the first diagnose when locally they said “There's something wrong but we don't know what” I remember ringing up my friend and she said “Put your phone to your belly” and I put my phone to my belly and I could hear my friend shouting down the phone at my daughter [laughs] “You're going to repair that heart, you get strong young lady” [laughs] whatever it was she was saying and that had a real cathartic effect [laughs]. I had fantastic support from friends, family, the church and real fabulous supportive network around me and my husband obviously. To a certain extent we just had to get on with it, and there was nothing we could do at that point. There were certain decisions to be made, where I was going to give birth, and they wanted me initially to give birth locally and then move up to the tertiary centre so that I could go into labour naturally. I was ver

 

With the first breastfeed, she suddenly felt fulfilled. It was a spiritual experience for her.

With the first breastfeed, she suddenly felt fulfilled. It was a spiritual experience for her.

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I want to go, just a step back to that first breastfeed when, when your son was put on the breast and you were still being stitched up. I gather'

Mm-hm.

'from what you were saying it sounded like a magic moment?

Absolutely.

Can you explain, describe it to me?

No [laughs] I can't describe it at all, life.

Is that because we don't have words for it?

Yeah. Life clicked suddenly my purpose was fulfilled, suddenly the creature that had been sort of almost surreal inside me was real and suckling and drinking and I was nourishing and yeah it, it was very magic, it was special, it was spiritual, it was incredible, absolutely mind-blowing.

 

She got a good breast pump for double pumping when she went back to full-time shift work, pumped...

She got a good breast pump for double pumping when she went back to full-time shift work, pumped...

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Yes I went off to work full-time.

How did you manage that?

With difficulty, in fact when I first went out, back to work after having him I went back on shift, an early shift started at half past five in the morning, a late shift finished at ten past ten to midnight, in the evening, and that was hard work, that was really hard work. 

Did you set up a routine of any sort?

To a certain extent I pumped, because I work in a factory, every two hours is a forced break if you like, the bell rings and we all go out to break and so every break I was pumping. And, I was pumping at home as well, there are several things that I wish I'd known when I started and I found doing the same when I went back to work with my daughter much easier because I knew these things, I knew to express in that first morning feed so you feed on one side, you express on the other at once.

Because?

Because each one stimulates the milk production in the other and he had much, much more and I wish I'd done that with my son but I didn't, and I think I would've struggled a lot less. I wish I'd have bought my expensive breast pump earlier, I bought it about half way through my son's feeding during the day when I was back at work.

What advantage does your expensive breast pump have over an inexpensive one?

It's a double.

So?

So again you're stimulating both, each side is stimulating the other, my cheap electric one, is great, it works, but it's one, and it's just one side.

So it's more time-consuming?

It's more time-consuming and I was finding it very hard to stimulate let-down, very, very hard to get let-down, in fact I almost always wasn't and I was just getting dribbles all the time and not adding up to what he needed, and as soon as I phoned La Leche League and they said, “I think you need an expensive double breast pump” and I got it, and bingo, let-down.

How did you know?

Because the quantity of milk tripled [laughs] quite simply.

Could you feel the let-down happening?

No I couldn't.

Could you visually see the increase in milk flow?

Yes, yes I could definitely see that. But I didn't feel it, I did the second time around as I say with my daughter then it was, in, in some ways I think I was more aware with her so I was looking out for can I feel let down coming, and so I could.

And what did it feel like?

Tingly, like that tingling down the back of your spine when you, someone you love is giving you a massage.

A frisson?

Yeah, yeah rather nice [laughs].

And a tightening in the chest?

No, no, just a tingling that, I knew what was going on.

So, so I just want to get this, this going back to work routine straight, you fed in the morning on one side, pumped on the other, every two hours at work during the day…
 

 

She and her baby required specialist care after birth and were separated. Her baby was cared for...

She and her baby required specialist care after birth and were separated. Her baby was cared for...

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And she was put straight on my chest and she suckled in delivery I'd been very clear about that, when the initial diagnosis [of the baby's heart trouble] had been made I'd said, “What about breastfeeding and delivery?” it was almost my first question and they said, “Oh yeah no problem, no problem at all”, they needed to fit a drip to her within the first hour of delivery but plenty of time to feed at the breast, and the consultants were very keen that I should, very supportive and, yeah I'd made it quite clear to the midwives [laughs] and so, out and on, straight on and yes she suckled straightaway.

Another magic moment?

Absolutely, another magic moment, pure magic. Tainted a bit by the knowledge that she was soon to be taken away but still magic. So then she was taken away, checked over, brought back quickly.

She suckled okay?

Oh yeah, she suckled fine.

So she suckled okay at that first feed?

She suckled fine you wouldn't have known anything was wrong she looked quite normal, the SCBU nurses took her away, took her into SCBU where she was three times the size of any other child because she was born eight pound ten, and boy did she need, need every ounce of it, they fitted the drip and then because SCBU was full she moved up into the Cardiac Ward, the Paediatric Cardiology Ward. I on the other hand was waiting to be sewn up, because I had this huge third degree tear, and so picture this if you will I was laying on the bed, I was expressing on the one side by hand, the midwife was expressing on the other side [laughs] and trying to suck off the colostrum with a syringe [laughs] desperate to give my baby what she needed expressing colostrum is the hardest thing I have ever done, it's just so hard, it just doesn't come, it's not made to be expressed. And we got about one ml, no, one ounce out I think, over about an hour and a half, it was incredibly hard work but we chatted and we laughed and, the anaesthetic worked [laughs] but it was quite clear that I wasn't going to be able to express enough for her, she couldn't come back out of the Cardiology Ward and because I'd had an epidural they weren't prepared to release me from being checked over regularly by a midwife until all my bits and pieces were working properly, quite rightly. And so that's when I requested milk bank milk for her and initially I don't think SCBU were very keen, I think it's a very tightly controlled supply they don't have enough. And they relented and gave it to her and I was very grateful and I think the next couple of nights she had milk bank milk and during the day I would get wheeled over because part of the problem was I was in a different building, I was in the Maternity Ward because I was still recovering after, you know, a trauma, a very traumatic birth and she was in the Cardiology Ward, I long for the days when one can have a specialist mother and baby unit where we could both have been looked after in the same ward, I understand the difficulties with that but that would be lovely. So I'd get wheeled over in a wheelchair, and I'd feed her, except the first time I went over I couldn't do it, I physically couldn't hold her, I was too exhausted to hold her up. Thinking back on it now I should've said I need a bed, and I should've taken her into the dayroom, wires attached, and I'm sure they would've done it actually, and laid down to feed her, or insisted that someone came to held, hold her but, you know, they're busy and whatever, the problem is I was exhausted, I didn't think of it, and they're paediatric nurses not neo-natal nurses, so they're not trained in breastfeeding either. They were immensely supportive but

 

She and her family supported the Nestl' Boycott and later campaigns a) against infant formula...

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Quite a lot, my family have boycotted Nestle since I can remember.

Why, what's that all about?

It's all to do with bad marketing of breastmilk substitutes especially in the developing world but also over, over here and mothers thinking that, a real mother gives a formula substitute and therefore children, especially in the developing world, they're dying from diarrhoea and infection and all these sort of things and Nestle are not the only bad player in this market but they are by far and away the worst and the World Health Organization implemented a boycott against them many years ago and my family have followed that from time immemorial as far as I can tell so I grew up knowing that, 'Breast is best' and that formula milk just isn't the same and yeah it's, it's there if it should become necessary but one should do absolutely everything possible to avoid having to use it. I was already a member of Baby Milk Action so I got information from them as well.

How did you get involved with them?

The Nestle Boycott thing and I just thought well if I really support it then let's support publicising it which is joining the charity so, I did.

And did you go online to get that sort of information?

No I can't remember.

No?

They may have been around at University, that's quite possible, or I may have gone online, either is an option, a possibility, I really can't remember.

Are you still a member of'

Yeah.

'Baby Milk Action?

Absolutely.

And what do they do, what sort of things do you get from them?

I get regular mailings about the campaigns against formula marketing and advertising. Baby Milk Action recognises there is sometimes a need for artificial breastmilk substitutes but that it, that it shouldn't be advertised in such a way to try and persuade mothers to use it, and we get regular updates on various campaigns, campaigns against Nestle, campaigns against other companies there's been a big push in the U.K. to get the British Government to change the way they help poor mothers because it's always been milk tokens that poor mothers could then change in for baby milk and I believe fairly recently Baby Milk Action were successful in changing the Government's views on this so they now give them tokens which can be used either for formula milk or for cow's milk or, and vegetables for the mother to eat which is great, so the mother no longer feels that the only way to feed their baby if they're poor is formula milk, so it's all that sort of thing.

Other than joining Baby Milk Action and knowing what they're doing is there anything else you do politically along these lines?

Well apart from boring all my friends to tears about breastfeeding I don't think so, they all groan when I start to mention it if I'm not careful because I can go on a bit, I don't think I do anything politically. I always intended to write to [name] my MP, when she campaigned for breastfeeding to be allowed in the Houses of Parliament, I'm afraid I'm guilty of not writing that letter but'

But you were behind her [laughs] in spirit.

'I was behind her in spirit and I didn't, but I didn't, yeah I didn't put pen to paper but I was quite interested in that and followed that
 

She exercised her right to express breast milk and work and then attempted to change company...

She exercised her right to express breast milk and work and then attempted to change company...

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Right, I want to just look at the company's perspective on this for a little bit, the workplace…

Mm-hm.

…and the breastfeeding mother, what have you got to say about that?        

I'm lucky, I think, I have a female boss, who failed to breastfeed her son and her daughter, but knows how important it is to try and succeed. Also because I work in a large company we have an Occupational Health Department who have rooms, who have fridge's, all the rest. So it was kind of, I said I wanted to do it, and you know I'd read up on it, I knew the, I knew my rights [laughs] and I asked them and they just said, “Oo are you allowed to do that?” and I said, “yes I am” they said, “oo okay then”, and I taught them, and in fact after I did that one of the nurses, after having a baby and going back after maternity leave also expressed at work and told me that she didn't know, she wouldn't have known she could do that unless I had done it.

Has it spread any further, it's a large company you're talking about?

No, one of my things at the moment is I'm trying to persuade them, they send out, when you say you're pregnant they send you out a letter saying, “These are your rights, this is when you, you have to tell us when you're leaving, this is when you have to tell us if you're coming back, this is how long we hold your job open for” that sort of stuff, and I've asked them, and I'm not sure that it's got through to the right person yet, to put a sentence, just one sentence on that, “If you wish to express breast milk for your child when you return to work please contact Occupational Health” that's all it needs, because that then just triggers the thought in the mothers' minds.

They haven't done it [laughs] but I'm pretty sure it hasn't actually got through to the right person yet, because I think it's been the same standard since about nineteen seventy-three so you know, it's just getting through to the right person and then I'll try and get that changed because I think that'll be really good, but yeah we've got a fridge, there are rooms where people go to see nurses and they'd let me have one of those rooms, my boss was very supportive and yeah you need to tell, you take the time.

 

She fed her son frequently after her caesarean section and does not remember her milk coming in....

She fed her son frequently after her caesarean section and does not remember her milk coming in....

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Do you remember when your milk came in?

No.

So you have no idea how many days after the'

No.

'operation?

No, it just, he just fed and fed and fed and he was fine so we were happy.

So you didn't notice a change from?

No.

It wasn't dramatic?

Because he was, he was feeding so well.

How often do you think he was feeding at that stage?

About every two and a half hours, I was trying to write it down and they, you know they're so keen on knowing how long you were feeding for and at what times, and I think if I went back to it again I could forget that throw the piece of paper out the window you know? Go away I know what I'm doing [laughs] I'm a mother, I wouldn't do that now, no way, I did it with my daughter but that's because of the medical problems she had with a normal baby there's no way I'd do that now as long as they're growing properly, it's all you need to know.

 

“Don’t do it for me. Can you help me do it myself, please?” she said.

“Don’t do it for me. Can you help me do it myself, please?” she said.

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There was several things that I made sure I got straight before leaving hospital. One of which was breastfeeding lying down, because I’d been told by my friend who I mentioned earlier that one of the keys she reckoned to breastfeeding successfully was to be able to breastfeed lying down as well as sitting up because it makes the night feeds so much easier. And, bless him, my son cottoned on to that very quickly. And I had a couple of helpful midwives, it was interesting though ‘cause when I said I was having trouble latching him on they would come and latch him on, well that wasn’t what I wanted, what I wanted was pointers on how to do it myself, and eventually I had to say “Look I’m having trouble latching him on, don’t do it for me, can you help me do it myself please?” and then we got there and I don’t think it was lack of willing on their behalf I think it was just busyness, stress. I know they’re understaffed all that sort of thing, and possibly lack of skill because I understand that breastfeeding is still not a compulsory part of the midwifery training, which is absolutely horrendous and I couldn’t believe it when I found out, but I found out from one of the midwives who looked after me my second pregnancy, and, absolutely shocking, so it’s quite possible that some of the midwives I asked actually didn’t know how to help me.
 
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