Friday, 13 January 2012

Damn! Take a look at those breasts!

As you may have come to realise, I'm still trying to decide whether to go for breastfeeding or not.  My hopes that the Prenatal class would cover the topic  before I pop were met yesterday.  Instead of getting more answers that would encourage me to give it a shot though, I came across more potential issues.  Issues I won't know whether I'll encounter until they actually happen.

This is where you should close the tab/window if you don't want to hear about my boobs.  Just sayin'.

Size does matter
It turns out that small breasted women have an easier time when it comes to the whole deal.  Not only does their upper back not suffer as much due to increased breast weight throughout the pregnancy and breastfeeding process - but they don't face as many issues with latching as we uber-boobed women.

There is also the matter of your standard cradling position not being the most adequate position when your boobs are almost your belly button's neighbours.  This means that it will take more experimentation with different positions until you figure out what works for you.  Laying down on your side is recommended - however my question remains "What about public places?!"

When I asked the question I was assured that by the time I'm out and about with Creature, s/he will have learnt to latch on properly and I will have found a position that works for me.  To be perfectly honest, this did fuckall to put my mind at rest - if anything I found it more depressing to think that it may be a few months until I'm out in public with him/her.  The truth is, I probably will not venture out for a few months anyway - however I like having an answer as to how to deal with it if I want to face the outside world.

Not to mention that a good nursing bra is important more than ever when your bosoms are ample.  It means facing the nightmare of trying to shop around for a bra that fits.  You have no idea how difficult that can be - unless you're One Of Us.

Flat and/or Inverted Nipples
OK, this might confuse you.  I know it confused me at first until I figured out what on earth they were going on about.  The best way to explain it to you is by being graphical.

Yes - not everyone has the 'classical' nipple that we are all familiar with thanks to movies.  Just like boobs themselves come in all shapes and sizes, so do nipples and areolas.

When it comes to flat and/or inverted nipples it can be harder for a baby to latch on.  Larger areolas can also make it more daunting.

Oh, if you're not sure what an areola is, it'd be the dark circle around the nipple itself.  They can be as big as saucers at times! During pregnancy they have a habit of trying to 'swallow' your boob and expand in size - or darken in colour which makes them more pronounced.  Unsurprisingly, a lot of women don't like it.

The most common advice would be to use a breast pump before feeding to 'draw' out the nipple.  Ouch.

Now, when you have bigger breasts, most breast pumps won't be appropriate for you as the funnel bit of them would be too small.  As with the vast majority of items aimed at covering and/or providing some sort of 'service' for breasts, the smaller sizes are more commonly catered for.You're lucky if you manage to find a place willing to order something especially for you - and although the internet can be very helpful, it basically means that to buy - for example - a simple bra, you have to plan ahead and be denied the opportunity to try it on before purchase.  It is a pain in the arse, i tell ye!

"What has insomnia got to do with it?!" you're probably asking me right now.  Alas, it has a lot to do with it - potentially.

One of the things that is emphasised is that you must be well-rested and well-fed to be able to breastfeed successfully.

As people tend to realise after knowing me for a short while is that I'm a chronic insomniac who tends to forget to eat due to exhaustion.  I frequently have to decide whether I should cook and eat, or try for the millionth time to sleep.  This is partially to blame/thank for my yo-yoing weight.

When you're breastfeeding a baby, s/he relies entirely on you to get the nutrients they need.  Unlike the placenta, breastmilk will be much more limiting to what nutrients are passed on to Baby.  So if you're not eating right, your breastmilk will betray that factor as it will be lacking in nutrients.

On the other hand, if you're not getting enough rest, this may very well decrease milk production.  When I voiced my concern about this, I was greeted with a "For all you know your sleeping patterns might improve once Baby is born."

Heh. Wishful thinking. Highly unlikely though.  If anything, I probably will be even more stressed, thus getting even less sleep if that is even possible.  Being a Single Parent doesn't help reducing the stress as I have to be alert pretty much all the time.  I will pretty much have to sleep with one eye open as there will be no one else I can rely on waking up should something arise.

Whilst trying to find some information online, I stumbled upon this website
, and the following jumped out of the screen at me:

"Dangerously sleep deprived? Consider occasional bottle-feeding.

Great advice for people who are simply sleep deprived - not so much for Insomniacs, I'm afraid.

The one thing all three issues have in common is the following advice: Speak to a Lactation Consultant.

Locally, there is the Breastfeeding Walk-in Clinic available, which usually involves having an appointment set up with shortly after giving birth - however they also deal with walk-ins.  You're able to visit them without an appointment should you need.  Upon looking up information about the clinic, I found the following information which is correct to date]:

The breast feeding walk- in clinic is a clinic run by midwives to help new mothers with breastfeeding. This clinic is led by head midwife Ms. Helen Borg. The clinic is found on the first floor of the Outpatients Department. Mothers may drop in on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8am and 1 pm, and between 3.30pm and 6pm, no appointments are necessary during these days. On other days, mothers are asked to call 2545 4445 or 2545 4447 to make an appointment so a midwife can assist the mother. The midwives in this clinic also visit the Obstetric Wards, to offer support to new mothers with breast feeding and also to discuss any difficulties that these mothers may have.

Mothers may attend this clinic without a referral, however there are occasions where this team of midwives may be called by staff from the Obstetric Wards or by private clinics.

Taking the above into consideration, I still have not decided whether to go for it or not.  The fact that I will return back to work about 3 and a half months after giving birth means that I will have to introduce bottle feeding.  Whether the bottle feeding will contain formula milk or breast milk is yet to be seen.

I'll keep you posted with my decision, whatever it may be.

Further reading:
Nursing Tips for Large Breasted Women
Helping Large Breasted Mothers
Breastfeeding with Flat or Inverted Nipples
Breastfeeding: Flat & Inverted Nipples Advice

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