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Free Podcasts

My_latest_gadget_edirol_r09_mp3_re Anyone who knows me knows I have to keep busy - and busy I have been lately...

My latest project... Free Podcasts!

I've been frantically learning how to create and upload MP3's over the last few days in order to podcast articles from my website (reason for this = to attract new visitors, to make my site more accessible to existing visitors... and to hear my own voice (only kidding! ;))!

What this has also meant is a whole new blog; so meet my new baby - http://breastfeedingmums.typepad.com/podcasts.

Have a listen and let me know what you think...

(All my podcasts are recorded on an amazing little machine, the one and only Edirol R-09 Wave/MP3 Recorder - available here from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk!)


Weaned?

After 25 months of breastfeeding it looks like Jack has finally weaned. We've gone three days and nights now without any breastfeeding at all and although emotionally both of us have found it difficult, the worst seems to be over.

We've been gradually weaning for several months now, but in the end I just had to stop abruptly. Last week I felt so drained and physically exhausted that I made up my mind. My skin had broken out in spots, I was short-tempered with everyone and the lack of any rest was killing me. I realised that I was suffering health-wise and it simply wasn't fair on anyone in the family. Jack is a good, strong, healthy little boy now but his mummy was anything but strong and healthy.

After visiting my sister-in-law who has just had a new baby girl, I suddenly saw Jack as no longer a little baby. Yes he's still my little baby but I have two other children to care for too. I made up my mind that it was time to get started on some strong vitamin pills and to enjoy the time we all have together. And that was it. No more breastfeeds...

Jack has been remarkably good about it and although on several occasions he has got a bit upset and whispered, "Mama Juice" to me, I have just had to stick to my guns. Occasionally he tries to nuzzle his way towards a feed but I can't give in. I'm trying really hard to be strong about this decision and it just wouldn't be fair on either of us, not to mention confusing for him.

It's important, I feel, to only continue breastfeeding for as long as you are able to and for as long as both of you want to. I didn't particularly want to quit yet but to be honest I don't know if there's ever a perfect time; this was about as close as I could get to one.

So we've reached the end of this particular journey.

I wonder if it's something I'll ever experience again?

If not, I'm pleased that in one of the countries with the lowest incidences of breastfeeding in the world, Ireland, I've breastfed for so long. And I will do so again if we do add to our family - although that isn't really on the cards!!

Now, how do I get him to stay in his own bed at night? :)


Breastfeeding Stories Shared: Breastfeeding and Allergies

Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from allergies and I'll happily admit that for me this was one of the many reasons that I chose to breastfeed.

Every year I am plagued with hayfever and using certain cleansing products has been known to bring me out in a rash of angry red hives. As there's also a family history of psoriasis and asthma in both my own and my husband's family the beneficial effects of breastfeeding in order to lessen my childrens chances of suffering from any of these illnesses/ allergic reactions was paramount to me.

Here's an interesting story I received recently concerning that very topic:

Breastfeeding and Allergies

by http://PigInTheKitchen.blogspot.com/

I have four children (8 yrs to 2yrs), all of whom were breastfed. My youngest has allergies to dairy products, eggs and some nuts. Because my eldest child also has allergies, I was on the alert for them in my youngest, and when feeding her dairy products produced hives around her mouth, I immediately stopped. Up until the point where I started weaning her, she had some eczema.

It became obvious that the milk allergy was a bit nasty; if one of her siblings kissed her with buttery lips, she would come up in hives. After getting various non-committal answers from GP'S, I decided that as she couldn't tolerate any cow's milk, I would carry on breastfeeding, but cut from my diet all the things to which she was allergic. It was not a miracle cure, but after about 3 months you wouldn't know she had eczema. When she would finally take a special hypo-allergenic milk by the age of one, I could stop breastfeeding. As soon as she was on that milk, any trace of eczema disappeared and has not returned.

She still has all her allergies, but my point is that if a child is known to have allergies, then if the breastfeeding mother eats those allergens, they will be passed on through the milk, at least that is my experience. No GP or Consultant that I saw would agree with me; they just nodded at my interesting theory.

In response to my daughter's allergies I have created a recipe blog, everything is egg-free, dairy-free, soya-free, mainly gluten-free, and yummy! Do drop by and have a look: http://piginthekitchen.blogspot.com/

If you'd like to share your pregnancy and/ or breastfeeding story and gain some extra visibility for your website or blog or just some personal recognition for yourself, email it to me and I'll select the best to publish both here and on www.BreastFeedingMums.com!


Breastfeeding Mother?

I mentioned in a previous post that we'd just returned from a family holiday to Co Clare on the West Coast of Ireland. Well, here's a story I brought back with me that I thought may interest all you breastfeeding mothers!

On the second day of our holiday we were all feeling a little peckish after inhaling the fresh sea breeze and dallying along the shore for a short while. As we wandered aimlessly up the hill towards town, we decided to pop in for a quick (it's always quick when you have three children in tow!) bite to eat in a quirky little cafe we'd noticed on our way.

As we found some seats, another couple and their beautiful little baby sat behind us. Now Jack, our two year old, is going through a clean phase, which I'm sure won't last for long, and he was busily rubbing his hands together and repeating, "Wash hands, wash hands" as he tried to get the sand off them! Well as you can imagine this caught the attention of the other family and it wasn't long before we got chatting. We discovered that, like us, this family was also on a rather rainy holiday with their five month old daughter, a very alert and pretty little girl who was taking a great interest in her pram toy and who Jack was rather taken with!

After chatting briefly about where we came from and places to visit, our food was served.

As we proceeded to eat, out of the corner of my eye I noticed the baby next to us getting a little restless. "Hmm," I pondered, "I wonder if she's a breastfed baby..." but I refrained from asking as I didn't want to be nosey!

Funnily enough it wasn't just the baby's behaviour that made me think this but also the reaction of her parents. As the mum of three breastfed babies I've always noticed how they got restless the moment I even thought about eating! And as a breastfeeding mother whose babies often wanted fed in places where I didn't feel particularly comfortable about feeding, such as in a cramped and packed tourist cafe, I instinctively felt that perhaps I was right!

However, what happened next really gave the game away... the baby's parents began speaking to one another in rather urgent hushed tones and I got the impression they were just waiting for the baby to start howling. And since I've been in that very same situation oh-so-many-times myself I couldn't help but feel sincere empathy for them both.

In the same situation I often found myself swinging between thoughts of paying for the untouched food and dashing for the privacy of my car to feed my hungry baby or gulping down the food whilst trying to hold off the battle-cry with any and every implement of distraction at hand!

Even in a packed public place like the one we were in, I often felt very much alone as I wrestled with my conscience over what was the right thing to do - should I just go ahead and breastfeed knowing probably no-one would notice and even if they did, so what? Or should I just try to get out of the place and feed somewhere more private and less intimidating for me and my baby?

Ironically as I sat there relating to our new friends, Jack was displaying his own breastfed baby behaviour - tugging at my tea-shirt, breathlessly pleading for "Mama Juice" whilst my husband and I both tried our own distraction techniques - "Look at the wee baby, Jack... Aww isn't she lovely?" "Mama Juice, Mama Juice..."

These days, because of Jack's age however, I rarely dare to feed in public anymore - partly because I've never really felt entirely at ease doing so, partly because we're in serious weaning mode right now (which is not going down too well with him!), but mostly because I realise for Jack breastfeeding has really become more habit/ comfort than actual hunger or thirst (ie, he often polishes off his dinner, downs a glass of water and then sidles up to me with an adorably cute smile on his face and whispers his favourite words!)

When we'd finished our meal and got up to leave, I turned to say goodbye to the family and we got chatting again. As I was telling the mother of the baby how I'd had an early start with Sarah waking me at 5.45am demanding breakfast and that Jack had been up a few times too, she questioned why Jack had been up. As I proceeded to confide that Jack was still breastfeeding her eyes lit up as she too confided that her baby was was also breastfed and that was what had been wrong with her during the meal. We both laughed as I told her of my suspicions that her baby wanted a breastfeed and we joked how easy it must be if you could just have a bottle at the ready for those awkward moments!!

When I mentioned that I ran a breastfeeding website and gave her my card she exclaimed with amazement that she'd already come across it... What a truly small world we live in!

So if you're reading this Mary, I trust Isabel is keeping well and that the breastfeeding continues to go wonderfully for both of you! Who knows - perhaps we'll bump into one another again somewhere a bit warmer and drier next year!! And maybe Isabel will still be breastfeeding and you'll be another breastfeeding mum with an uncanny ability to pinpoint all the breastfeeding families around you!


August Carnival of Breastfeeding: Learning to Let Go

Togetherness

Welcome to the ninth Carnival of Breastfeeding, the theme of which is Learning to Let Go.

As usual, there are many great posts from both our regular participants as well as those from our guests! These are listed below and will be updated throughout the day!

Here's my post:

Can't, Shan't, Won't... but Must!

Learning to Let Go? I'm not sure I have yet!

Yes, I've had three adorable children and you'd think I'd be better at it by now - but I'm not. It's not me! In fact, so rarely do I let anyone else take care of of my children it causes much mirth amongst all their doting grandparents, aunts and uncles!

I used to be an independent sort of girl but upon the birth of my first baby that all changed. In fact, I can vividly recall how after her birth I literally cried at the thought of returning to work realising that I would no longer be solely responsible for feeding her!

How on earth could I allow anyone else to take over my role and how on earth would she cope with drinking from a bottle? And although I did return to teaching, it was only on condition that my parents or my husband's parents look after her and that I only work part-time!

This arrangement worked quite well for a time and I admit I did adapt and shock horror even enjoyed having some time away from home and in the company of other adults; but it all changed when my second daughter arrived three years later and I realised at that point I simply couldn't do things that way anymore! I just felt I had missed out on too much precious time with my eldest daughter.

And now, two years after my son's birth I still haven't returned to outside employment, instead preferring to work at home for myself and in close and comforting proximity to my little clan!

Would I do things differently in hindsight? No! Why did I take the path I chose? Simple... One day, during my second pregnancy I listened to other mothers who were also teachers in the school where I taught saying they wished they had taken career breaks when their kids were small and that it was something they wished they could change. They lamented how quickly their children had grown up, how time had slipped quickly by almost unnoticed and how they would do it oh-so-differently given the chance again.

At that point I clearly understood that I would never again be able to miss out on those precious first years of my children's childhood.

The teaching job I loved and had studied so hard for could wait. I'm quite sure there will always be a need for teachers in the future!! And if I so choose, then that's possibly what I'll do again when I'll return to working outside my home.

Of course my husband and I missed the extra income, but we simply adapted our lifestyle to manage. We've never really been much into foreign or even not-so-foreign holidays and we stopped going out so often but if it meant I could stay at home then that was what was important.

Now don't get me wrong... I'm not saying this arrangement would suit everyone, nor am I saying mothers who work shouldn't. All I'm saying is it wasn't for me. Letting go was and still is something I'm not quite ready for yet.

Of course I've had to learn to let go some of the time! For example, my eldest daughter goes to school and I can't be by her side (although I'm always there to meet her at the school gates). She occasionally goes on school trips and I can't be by her side. She likes to go and stay the night witth her grandparents and I can't be by her side! My second daughter is just about to start nursery in the next couple of weeks and my son is just stopping breastfeeding.

I happily acknowledge that my children need to learn independence and I can't possibly always be there. After all, I need to learn how to become independent again too!

Learning to Let Go? It's a bit like finding the courage to step onto that spinning fairground ride and then holding on ever so tightly as it begins to move. Then as it nears its end and it's time to get off you're not sure you want to yet! You might just have another go instead...

Learning to Let Go? I'm trying!

Thanks to this month's contributors for the following posts (remember to check back often as posts will be listed as they arrive!)

  • Tanya at Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog discusses leaving her son with her husband as she returned to work and how the Mommy Wars are a conspiracy to keep moms from demanding better maternity leave.
  • Andi at Mama Knows Breast needs a Pause button.
  • Angela at Breastfeeding 123 suggests some wonderfully useful alternatives to babysitters for breastfeeding families.
  • Colleen at My Baby and More writes a touching poem about giving her son his first bottle and about trusting your instincts as a mother.
  • Rebekah at Momma's Angel shares how it's important not to rush things when learning to let go.
  • Jessica from Hepatitis-Epi shares how she went from dreading leaving her baby with someone else to enjoying the use of the lactation room at her workplace to becoming a breastmilk donor!
  • Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess tells the truth, the whole truth about the difficulties of being away from a baby who only wants to be held by her mom.
  • Laura at The Joyful Mom posts about toddler-led weaning and the joy of looking forward to breastfeeding again when her new baby is born.

Family Vacation to County Clare and an End to Breastfeeding?

Old_milk_urnsWe decided last week to finally take a family vacation - a very last minute holiday which meant we were quite restricted in terms of availability of family accommodation anywhere in Ireland! But, after a lot of frantic online searching (thank God for the internet!) we finally found a house to rent for a week in Lahinch, Co Clare on the West Coast of Ireland, and off we went!

Funny_fishWe had a great week and did lots of fun things with the children. We trudged through the Aillwee Caves, explored Moher Hill Open Farm, made our way around Bunratty Castle (where I caught a ghost in the Dungeon on my camera!) and folkpark, played on the beautiful and blustery Lahinch beach, marvelled at the weird and wonderful sea creatures in Lahinch Seaworld Aquarium and drove through the wild and barren Burren!

Burren_landscapeWe deliberately gave the amazing Cliffs of Moher a miss - neither of us fancied taking three children under the age of eight up there thank you very much!

In the top right hand corner you might just see a Bunratty ghost!The children thoroughly enjoyed themselves, especially Bunratty Castle which our seven year old cried leaving as she was fascinated by all the little old houses dotted around the grounds and the burning turf fires within!

Although this holiday wasn't quite as wonderful as the holiday we took in Donegal last year, I put that down to the last minute accommodation which was a little bit lacking and the fact that the heavens opened all week moreso than the place itself! Plus Donegal also is in my blood as my maternal grandmother and her father came from that part of the land!

RainbowPretty_flowerWe returned home on Saturday and were all exhausted after the arduous 6 hour journey. Then just to top off our lovely week away, I woke up in the middle of the night with aching knees and the shivers. Within a short time I couldn't move my body at all because every single bone ached and I mean every bone, fingers, toes, everything. I felt like I'd been in a terrible accident and had to spend the entire day in bed!

I think it was the flu which I've never had before because the last few days of our holiday I felt a bit shivery. Now I know that the flu is not just a bad cold! Thankfully the aches didn't happen until we got home though or I can't imagine what we would have done.

Anyway, because I was in such extreme pain I couldn't let Jack breastfeed at all yesterday and as paracetamol was having no real impact on the pain, I was taking co-codamol which I had left over from breaking my ribs a few months back. Co-codamol contains codeine and I was happy to take it and continue breastfeeding when I broke my ribs because apparently it was safe to do so.

However, yesterday I came across this story about codeine and breastfeeding showing that perhaps it's not so safe to take codeine medication and breastfeed after all!

And although I'm not too concerned as I've taken it safely in the past, the fact is that Jack is obviously an older breastfed child so drugs wouldn't have just the same impact on him as on a tiny baby.

But since I've been trying to wean for a while now perhaps this is the answer! I'm in pain, I'm taking medication for it and  I've been feeling a bit run down for a while now. Since he is now 25 months old I think the time may be right to finally end breastfeeding as planned. And as Jack isn't really responding to the whole gradual weaning as well as I'd hoped, I think I'll just try to keep distracting him and see how that goes.

Considering we've now been stopped for a whole day and night it may even happen this time around! (Or maybe not?)


Pregnancy Stories Shared: Pregnancy and Weight Gain

Here's a story many pregnant mums will relate to! (And remember if you'd like to share your story here and on my website, www.BreastFeedingMums.com, please email it to me including your details and any links you'd like included!)

Pregnancy and Weight Gain

by Tara from FuzzyNotions.wordpress.com

When I found out I was pregnant with River it was quite a surprise. It wasn't that I didn't want to be pregnant, I did! But more because I didn't expect to get pregnant within a month and half after stopping birth control pills.

I had expected it to take a while to regain my fertility after being on the Pill for almost 4 years. So when I decided to stop taking it mid-October I anticipated getting pregnant in 6 months to a year. I thought I would have a little time to adjust myself to the idea of being pregnant.

When the nausea and fatigue started sneaking up on me in late December I just attributed it stress from the holiday season and thought that I might have some sort of virus. About mid-January when I was still feeling like dog shit everyday I thought something must be wrong. I hadn't had a period (other than slight spotting mid-November) so I planned on calling and making an appointment with my OB/Gyn because I thought something was wrong with my cycle.

I thought I better just take a pregnancy test before I called because I figured the first question they would ask was whether I was pregnant and I wanted to be able to give them a firm no. So I bought a pregnancy test while I was on my lunch at work. When I got back to the office I went into the bathroom and peed on the stick. When I saw two lines I about fainted.

So after about 5 other pregnancy tests (just to make sure!) I called my OB/Gyn for a whole different reason. I went in about a week later for my first appointment where I was told I was about 8 weeks pregnant. My doctor was a little brusque and out of the blue informed that if I were for some reason to start miscarrying there was nothing he could and to just wait it out.

From that point on my life changed. I became a nervous wreck. I worried about anything and everything involving that baby that was growing inside my belly. I started off worrying because they didn't find a heartbeat with the doppler which progressed to me worrying about miscarrying. Once they found River's wondrous little heartbeat I felt better for awhile.

Then I started reading different articles on the internet (vicious internet). The articles filled my head with worst case scenarios and dread. I chased my tail in a circle of worry. I went from worrying about miscarriage, to premature labor and then finally to still birth.

What all of this anxiety and worry added up to was a very crazy, very hormonal pregnant woman. So I ate. And I ate. And I ate. Looking back on it now I realize the eating was the only thing that took my mind off the (completely unwarranted) worrying. I was pretty much medicating myself with food.

I ate cereal by the boxful, ice cream by the carton and chips by the bag. Before I was pregnant I was good about eating my fruits and vegetables but by my 20th week of pregnancy I was eschewing broccoli for a load baked potato and fruit for bagels and donuts. When I was at a restaurant if there were strawberries on top my pancakes, oh no that certainly wouldn't do; I needed extra butter and maple syrup please and thank you. I loved food like well, a fat kid loves cake.

I started out the pregnancy weighing in at 145 and ended up weighing 215 pounds the week that I delivered River. So let's see here, that adds up to a 70 pound weight gain. WOW, that is a lot of weight to gain, but I enjoyed every bite.

I delivered River (I was induced) at 39 weeks gestation. I had a very long labor, 19 hours total with 3 hours of pushing, but was able to deliver vaginally with the help of a vacuum. He was born August 16, 2006 weighing in at 7 lbs. 14 oz. and was 19.5" long. I was ecstatic. All that anxiety that I carried around with me my entire pregnancy was gone the minute I pushed (or pulled) River out. It vanished into thin air and was replaced with the deepest, most instinctive primal love I have ever known.

After it was all said and done I was left with a precious baby boy and an extra 35 pounds. Thankfully I didn't suffer from postpartum depression. I was the complete opposite of depressed; I had never been happier in my life. Breastfeeding was hard at first (but that is a whole different story) and I felt fat. Both of those things worked out in the end though. I'm still breastfeeding and I am back at my pre-pregnancy weight of 145 pounds. It has been a long arduous journey to get where I am at now but I couldn't be happier! Life is good.

Visit Tara's blog, FuzzyNotions.wordpress.com, to read more Musings on Life and Motherhood!


Breastfeeding Stories Shared: Breastfeeding Through Recurrent Mastitis

I received this lovely story some time ago and it reminded me how I refused to give up breastfeeding after recurrent bouts of Mastitis! If you feel inspired to share your story, email me and I'll get back to you as soon as I get a chance! You can find a few pointers on my homepage.

Breastfeeding Through Recurrent Mastitis

I did not think much about breastfeeding before my first son was born; I knew I had been breastfed as a child, and that my mum had wanted to feed my older sister but had been told by the hospital that she couldn't because she was too fair-skinned. (She was told her to take drugs to take away her milk, and that was the end of that!)

When people asked me, "How long are you planning to breastfeed?", I would say, "Oh, I don't know - perhaps four months". The culture here in Ireland is very pro-formula and anti-breastfeeding; it seems to be seen as "dirty" or somehow shameful - especially feeding beyond 6 months, and particularly in public.

So, after a 20 hour labour with pethidine and the stitch-up from hell (1 1/4 hours of stitching with a local anaesthetic that didn't work, and no epidural available because it was "out of hours" - women in that situation are not seen as a high priority for pain relief!) during which I screamed the whole time, my newborn baby son was not in the mood for feeding. He had also swallowed a lot of fluids during the birth and spent the first two days vomiting them up again.

Every time we tried to latch on, he screamed and refused the nipple. He did not latch on for three days, became jaundiced and was on the verge of being threatened with "The Bottle" - but we held out and on about day 4, when the milk had arrived with a vengeance, he latched on and fed for about half an hour. I hardly dared breathe in case he came off again and would not go back on, but he did, and he got better at it.

The midwives were extremely supportive but because my stitches became infected I had to stay in for 6 days. So I made use of the support while I was in the hospital. The engorgement was really painful but settled after a few weeks. I was not prepared for how painful breastfeeding would be; it felt like I was being stabbed with a kitchen knife whenever he latched on and I was on heavy painkillers just to cope.

I always fed lying down because I could not sit down (perineal carnage) which is great because you need the rest, and can both fall asleep afterwards.

I later found out that the pain was due to nipple thrush, caused by the antibiotics I was on. My baby also had thrush. To cut a very long story short... during the next 8 months I had 9 bouts of severe Group B Strep mastitis (high temperature, vomiting, toxic, extreme breast pain, swelling, hardness, purple areas, thick green pus instead of milk, very emotional, came on very suddenly) requiring me to be hospitalised on several occasions. The first bout occurred the day after my son would not latch on because he had wind. I did not realise so I persevered for 90 minutes and traumatised my nipple badly, allowing the entry of infection.

TOP TIP: If the baby won't latch on but has previously been doing fine (he was 3 months old) it's worth trying to burp him.

The doctors initially thought it was Staph Aureus causing the infection. (I had taken a milk (pus) sample to give to them for bacterial culture but they said they didn't need it as mastitis was always caused by S. Aureus - which it isn't) After about 5 or 6 bouts, the health professionals were telling me to give up breastfeeding, as it was taking it's toll on my health, but I was determined to continue. I was told on some occasions to stop because of the antibiotics I was on, but I rang the Drugs in Breastmilk helpline run by the BFN (Breastfeeding Network) and they told me I could still nurse with that particular drug, but that doctors were largely ill-informed and tended to err on what they would call "the safe side" ie to stop feeding and use formula!

I was also was supported by ringing the La Leche League helpline and the local Sure Start Breastfeeding Support Group (a big thank you to Laura and Bronagh, and the other girls in the group).

I would encourage breastfeeding mums out there to always research and challenge the advice you are given, especially if it involves giving up breastfeeding for illness or pharmaceutical reasons. What about the long term health benefits of breastfeeding for your baby - are they thinking of that? Yes, my baby son got a few extras in his milk for a few weeks, but I still believe that was better in the long run than giving up early.

When my baby was 8 months old I finally came off sick leave and returned to work full time. (I was still sick for another month - went back too early) and I was breastfeeding and really enjoying it. My son weaned at 17 months old when I was 3 months pregnant with my second son. The milk was dwindling and I was too tired to continue working and expressing full-time, breastfeeding and pregnant and very sick with morning sickness. He was also not that bothered, and would only take the occasional feed.

It was emotional stopping but I was glad to do it in our own time and not because of illness or someone else's opinion. I considered tandem nursing but felt that I could not do it this time, maybe next time.

My second baby boy arrived after a brilliant 2 1/2 hour labour, latched on immediately and has never looked back. At the moment he is putting on about a pound a week! (must be a growth spurt). He is now 7 weeks old and so far there has been no sign of mastitis! My nipples were only sore for a week this time and I didn't require any no antibiotics, nor did I get thrush.

People thought I was mad at the time to persevere but it was worth it, and they do say tough times build character!

I intend to feed this baby for about 18 months but I will see how it goes.

All the best girls! You can do it - your body is amazing.


Breastfeeding Stories Shared: Breastfeeding After a Traumatic Birth

Here's another inspirational story about breastfeeding, proving that you needn't necessarily be unable to breastfeed just because you've had a difficult birth experience! If you'd like to share your story email me and I'll get back to you as soon as I can! There are some pointers to help you on my homepage.

Breastfeeding after a Traumatic Birth

Anon

When I discovered I was pregnant I hadn't given much thought to feeding methods apart from knowing that I really wanted to do kangaroo care and latch my baby on in the delivery suite.

Unfortunately even the best laid birth plans don't always work and we ended up with an emergency C section and a very traumatic birth as my little one was distressed and had the cord round his neck 3 times.

When we were eventually united after an hour or so he wasn't particularly interested in breastfeeding and I was terribly frustrated as I was bedridden and was getting different advice from every midwife who I met but by this stage I was pretty determined. Eventually we got things established but unfortunately he became quite unwell and was transferred to the neonatal unit.

During this time I was expressing and to my great horror was only managing to express maybe 20mls every 3 hrs but as J was only getting 5mls an hour via tube this was sufficent. I really believe that it was breast milk that helped J on his road to an almost miraculous recovery.

Unfortunately though, after he returned from the unit, we had to go through the process of trying to breastfeed again and received lots of conflicting advice from lots of well-meaning people.

Ten months on and the most precious time I get to spend with my son is during feeds - he is a typical boy, no time for cuddles or sitting still apart from our very special breastfeeding time!


Breastfeeding Stories Shared: Breastfeeding With Colitis

Over the next few days I've decided to post some of the inspirational breastfeeding and pregnancy stories I recently received to my website, www.BreastFeedingMums.com. If they inspire you to share your own story, them please email me and I'll get back to you as soon as I can! You can find a few pointers on the homepage!

Here's the first story which I felt was extremely important to share as it's not something we often hear about!

Breastfeeding with Colitis

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when I was 14 and after 6 years of getting ill (every 3 months after I stopped smoking) I went onto an immunosuppressant – Imuran.

It is known that this medication is not harmful to the foetus during pregnancy but (understandably) little or no research is available regarding breastfeeding. There are a few case studies of people with kidney transplants on the same meds breastfeeding anyway and the babies being ok but for me a few case studies were just not good enough.

There is also evidence about that breastfeeding helps protect against colitis – I wasn’t breastfed as my mum couldn’t do it due to other meds she was taking and since my dad has colitis (and so there’s a genetic link) I wanted to give ds the best chance that he wouldn’t get it too.

So, at 31 weeks pregnant, I came off my meds only to relapse 3 weeks before my EDD. I was so ill and tired towards the end that I had to have an epidural during the labour as I had no self-control over the contractions. However, ds came out and latched on straight away and sucked for 20 mins each side!

In the hospital a lactation consultant came around and showed me how to get a good latch – brilliant because I was doing it wrong before! However, my right side nipple is very flat and we had A LOT of problems when I got home. Resorted to using shields during the night as I was just so edgy and stressed with it but when ds got a bit older he learnt how to latch perfectly.

I was making too much milk at the start (or it was just coming out too fast) and ds was choking on it – he still does now mainly because he sucks so hard – he drains me in 7-10 minutes and has enough from one side to go 3 hours between feeds. He has only just started sleeping through at night.

We still have days where he screams at my nipples for no reason, days when he takes expressed breast milk from the bottle and not from me, he got a major tummy ache when he was 4 weeks old because I drank citrus and he gets bad skin whenever I do! At the start I was tempted to go to formula as he wasn’t sleeping through (still isn’t really) but the nurses convinced me not to. But I LOVE breast feeding and am really going to miss it when I have to stop when ds is 6 months. I have to stop because I cannot stay off my medication for any longer than this – I have to be on prednisolone in the meantime which long-term can cause my bones to stop forming properly and also is just not as good at preventing me from relapsing.

However, due to the great help with the nurses and support on various websites, I will be able to give ds 6 months of liquid gold and I’m so happy for that!