Saturday, June 30, 2012

Inspiration to Nurture Naturally- Part 1

Inspiration to nurture naturally
Breastfeeding is not something I thought I'd ever write about on the blog. It's a topic that screams controversy, opinions and judgment. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, damned how you do! I promised myself it was something I'd steer clear of in written form.

But... here I am. Pregnant and typing about breastfeeding, because honestly... It has been on my mind A LOT.

From around 8 weeks along in our journey I have been dreaming regularly of our baby. I dream of holding her and feeding her. Sometimes I dream that there is some kind of physical boundary stopping me from feeding her, other times its just me and her; nursing and feeding. Every week since we found out our exciting news, I have had these dreams. I don't doubt that these dreams are reflective of my inner turmoil over failure to feed in the past and a deep longing desire to feed my baby. Even the image of a mother and baby nursing on television can bring me to a sobbing mess of emotions.

I didn't breastfeed Stella. A fact which although I rarely dare to admit or express; saddens me deeply. And something I'll talk about in more depth soon.

Last week, I very nervously waddled off to a private appointment with a Lactation Consultant. Getting the appointment itself was a challenge, although we are lucky enough to be offered these free and incredibly supportive services in our health system sometimes getting the necessary referrals and actual appointment dates written on paper is like pulling teeth. I had to practice my assertion and determination, which isn't something I feel confident and comfortable doing, but it got me the results I was looking for.

By the time I walked the hospital corridors and found reception I was puffed out and flushed. Not knowing what to expect and feeling intensely vulnerable only added to my breathless nerves. Would I have to strip off? Would the consultant be young? Old fashioned? Judgmental? Would I leave feeling relieved? Or stressed? Earlier that day I had assured Nick that I would be fine to go to the appointment on my own and wouldn't need him to leave work, but I found myself wishing I'd admitted how nervous I really was and asked him to come with me.

The woman who met with me was warm and encouraging. She spoke with kindness and could very obviously tell how nervous I was, she did her best to help me relax and feel at ease. We started by talking about why I was there. Why, when pregnant with my second child would I need the help of a lactation consultant? I should be a seasoned nurser by now, yes? That's the way I feel many midwives view my situation, they assume that because I am a second time mother, I am also a second time feeder and wont need much or any assistance with breastfeeding. In reality, I am a much like a first time feeder. Although, I would fight to say that this time around I am even more nervous and unexpecting. Perhaps something to do with that 'self-fulfilling prophecy' we tend to become victim to.

The most valuable thing I learnt from my 60 minute chat, is a message I will never forget. Feeding with Stella wasn't a failure. My inability to feed was caused by a domino tower of variables, all of which took it's toll on both me and my newborn emotionally, physically and mentally. This down-to-earth and sweet woman who is a mother herself injected me with more inspiration and determination that I ever felt possible in such a short and simple amount of time. She made me believe in myself, my abilities and made me feel proud regardless of my breastfeeding history.

I thought that within time I would share with you some of the obstacles we uncovered with my breastfeeding past, and how we are working to avoid these from happening the second time around. Many of these were not things I was even aware of at the time, and it is only with reflection and the follow up of numerous notes by midwives that I am able to distinguish what went wrong and why.

I cannot begin to describe how empowering that is, to have the knowledge of what caused certain feeding problems and what can be done about them in the future.

Seeing a lactation consultant antenatally has been the very best thing I have done. To any mama experiencing nerves, concerns or doubts...don't hesitate to push for that appointment. If you are discouraged by some midwives telling you to wait, trust your instinct and get a booking anyway. It could be the chat that inspires you for a positive feeding relationship with your new baby, and washes that guilt and regret away completely.

Stay reading over the next week for part II of my Inspiration to Nurture Naturally series, sharing with you my obstacles of the past.

Plenty of love, 
winterlove blog natalie


  1. I am so glad you got an awesome lactation consultant! I had a lovely one but it was still impossible. So sorry I haven't emailed you back, I will do it tomorrow when I'm on my own computer :)

  2. Glad you finally got to see a consultant :)

  3. Perfect timing for me to read this - for various reasons I didn't make it past week one when I tried breast feeding Oscar and this time round I'm determined to be more successful!