Pen Pal: "I Scream, You Scream...."
Being a first time mum is daunting. We can all relate to the overwhelming feeling of questioning our own mama instincts. That's why Rachael's tale really appealed to us. She has captured the uncertainty of those first few days nursing a mini with tongue tie.
My husband held my hand as I screamed outload every time I shoved my screaming baby, full force, at my swollen breast with lacerated nipple. "This can't be normal, surely?" he asked. I had been told it might hurt but to plough on and layer the lansinoh on until you toughen up! "I guess it must be" was all I could muster with a wimper.
At the hospital I had requested midwives watch me feed, I had asked why it hurt so much? Why he had not stopped feeding since the minute he was born? Why the skin from my nipple stuck to his dry little lips? Why my nipples were misshapen and bleeding? The answers were: Latch seems fine, don't shape the breast, do shape the breast, they feed lots for the milk to come in and do you want a bottle of formula? I assumed they were bored of me asking for help.
Just as we were about to leave the hospital with our first born I was accosted by the matron who demanded me to "feed this baby". She showed me to an office chair with wheels. Your baby has dry lips (my nipple skin stuck to them, but she failed to notice). He's dehydrated, I want to see you feed. Emotional and exhausted I fed my boy; only to be told, what I was doing was, yet again, wrong. Don't cuddle whilst feeding, sit up straight and hold baby high with one arm. Wait for his mouth to be wide open (screaming), then put him to the breast. I literally slammed the poor kid at my breast so his mouth was packed. I went home on what should have been a most joyous occasion frightened and sobbing.
Fast forward through a week of no weight gain, my breast being prodded, squeezed and shoved by numerous folk. Finally, a lovely midwife stopped and looked at me and my boy. She saw it, she saved us! My boys tongue tie was so severe he could barely get his tongue to touch his lips. It took a further two hideous weeks before he had the very quick and simple snip. And off we went to learn how to feed properly.
Whilst I'm not entirely sure how I coped, all was well in the end for us. I think it was the determination and hard work my boy put in that got me through it. If I could change one thing for postnatal wards it would be to include a TT check and the snipping process before you're sent home. At the very least I think it's high time REAL information on the good, bad and ugly points of breastfeeding are given to prenatal Mama's
Thank you Rachael for sharing this with us. Once all our tongue tie tales are told, we will collate the tips for teats and tits alike. In the meantime if you have any words of wisdom on the tip of your tongue, then we would love to hear Your Voice.