So, I am proud to share that Charles and I are almost to the 6-month milestone!! He is just 4 days shy of his half birthday and our 6-month marker for exclusively breastfeeding. We have had our ups and downs during our journey, and it has not always been easy, but I am proud of where we are today. Here in France medical services use midwives in their maternity wards and offer a series of preparative course to women during their pregnancy. However, Charles was a high-risk pregnancy from the 1sttrimester and by our 31st week I was in out of the hospital having contractions (and a dissolving mucus plug), I missed the opportunity to take the classes on breastfeeding. Leaving us to start our journey flying blind…
I was fortunate to have given birth at a private cliniquethat promotes breastfeeding, and from the get-go Charles had problems latching on to my breasts and only preferred the left breast when he did latch correctly (it is my hypothesis that this is because it was the first breast, I offered him). It is all thanks to the midwives that work at Clinique Bouchard who would not let me give up. That I was able to get him to finally latch on consistently, but not before he had lost about a pound in weight and came down with jaundice. They each over the 5 day stay at the clinique gave me their tips of the trade, literally taking my breasts in their hands and putting it in Charles’mouth, showing me how to get him to latch correctly.
They showed me how to hold him during each of his feeding and explained when I should be feeding him, and in fact, we were not discharged until they were confident that I could do it on my own at home. There was even an after-care service wherea midwife came to our house over the following 10 days to monitor the baby’s weight and check on my well-being. It is thanks to that midwife that I learned how to nurse lying down. Which let me tell you was a life saver! Without this position I would have never gotten the sleep needed to be there at 100% for my son. Those first few weeks nothing can prepare you for how tired you will be, and rest is so important for you and baby, with this position baby can eat and you both can rest as needed; to this day it is still his favorite position for nursing.
Just when I thought it was smooth sailing for us at around 4-months old, when Charles started sleeping through the night (and I did not know about pumping during the hours of 12AM-6AM to maintain your supply), I had a major dip in my milk supply, coupled with small storage milk capacity, and I began to worry that I would not be able to continue nursing for the long haul. Being proactive about our predicament I read a book written by an IBCLC called, Making More Milk, and hit the breastfeeding Instagram accounts looking for tips that also might help us. After much research, the right diet/supplements, some handy pumping gadgets, determination, and most importantly patience with myself. I was able to construct a tandem nursing/pumping schedule; that helped me triple my milk supply over the course of 5 weeks!
Since the birth of my son I have had a barrage of women/mothers in my day-to-day come to me with their unsolicited “advice”, about how many times I should feed my son, when I should feed my son, when I should stop breastfeeding Charles, and how I should feed him (i.e. give him formula in a bottle so I can have some free-time…). Thus, breastfeeding Charles has changed from me simply trying to provide him with what I feel is the best nourishment for his growing body, and has turned into me having to defend my right as a mother, my right to choose how I will feed and parent my child. Inadvertently, pushing me into the realm of lactation advocacy, leading me to coin the phrase in protest“my body, my boobies, my choice!” or as we say in le françaismon corps, mes seins, mon choix ! Because we are nursing into toddlerhood for sure.
Shared by Christel Lautel