I feel compelled to share my breast feeding experience with the world. Ok, with the three of you who are reading.
Before the Princess was born, like all good aspiring parents we did an ante-natal course. Part of this involved a session with a breast-feeding counsellor. The whole thing was organised by the BCT which is related to the UK childbirth trust. They are very right on in the BCT. They do not believe in infant formula or pain relief. But that was fine then because I was ignorant (forced to admit that I was NEVER going to do the natural birth thing) and didn’t believe that there would be any difficulty.
The breastfeeding counsellor was a Canadian who also teaches yoga. She refuses to use Nestle products because of their general vileness in promoting formula consumption in the third world. I don’t want to sound prejudiced here, but I think this tells you a lot about the type of person she was. I mean, it’s not that I’m in favour of Nestle’s policies or against yoga. I also have nothing against Canadians. No truly, Mr. Waffle was born in Canada and due to their generous citizenship policy has a Canadian passport of which he is very proud. I digress. Anyhow, we all sat around wondering whether we would have to bare our breasts (this was before our first babies were born and we still had a sense of natural modesty). No, but we did have to talk about our breastfeeding history. Was I breastfed? In fact, yes. Mr. Waffle was not breastfed but his siblings were. Ms. BF Counsellor was fascinated “really and is there any difference between how you and your siblings have turned out?” Mr. Waffle, thoughtfully “well, they’re both shorter than me”. Ms. BFC, hissing, “well, I’m sure that that has nothing to do with breastfeeding”. She kind of left us alone after that except to make a number of comments on the famous Irish love of alcohol, which was a little odd and didn’t exactly endear her further to us.
Anyhow, I intended to breastfeed and really didn’t expect to have any problems. And, if I had, hey, I could always give the baby a bottle. The Princess was born and, as you will have noticed, she is the most perfect baby ever created etc. And she was tiny (I know, they’re all tiny) and she was so indignant and kind of miserable to be out in the world where people made her wear scratch mittens. And I was desperate to breastfeed her and comfort her. But we just could not get the hang of it (note how I share the blame here). And she kept losing weight. They wouldn’t let me leave the hospital until she started putting on weight. After 6 days, I was getting desperate. All of the nurses were really supportive and helpful. Except one. She was horrible.? Even her colleagues thought she was horrible. So imagine my horror when I came back to my room after a quick trip out to find this awful nurse feeding my Princess from a bottle. I was gutted. Princess, was loving it though. Let’s remember she was starving. Rotten nurse was very smug. Princess started to put on weight and we were allowed to go home.
I was in a dilemma then. Would I continue feeding my baby from the evil bottle or would I try breast? Fabulous as breast milk was etc., I didn’t want the child to starve. I rang my mother who dispensed lots of advice. She came to Brussels to dispense advice in person. But I just couldn’t get the hang of it. And it was sore? Man, it was sore. This is where the internet becomes a nightmare, it is full of smug sites advising “breastfeeding isn’t supposed to hurt, if it hurts, you are doing it incorrectly and your child is not being properly fed”. So I was in agony and she was starving. We continued on a mostly bottle regime with occasional breast agony. Cabbage leaves are recommended for sore breasts. I tried this out one evening. We went round to the Glam Potter’s for dinner. She has a baby six weeks older than the Princess, so is also in baby mode. Halfway through dinner, her husband said, “where is that awful smell of boiled cabbage coming from?” It was me, the cabbage had cooked on my poor, sore, inflamed breasts. You’d think I’d be mortified, but no, I said “Oh that must be me”, hauled out the cabbage leaves and left them on a side plate. In extenuation, I would point out that GP was having difficulty breast feeding also and, like me, liable to haul our her breasts and baby at the slightest provocation and ask strangers where she was going wrong. If you might take my advice on this, hold off doing that because there are people out there to whom I now regret showing my breasts (this must be what it’s like to be a minor starlet).
So desperate was I that I rang the breast feeding counsellor. She said, “oh it’s too late now – this was about a month in – you’ll never get her to take breast. Why did you give her a bottle in the first place?” I explained about her losing weight, the hospital, the paediatrician’s concerns. She said “you must change your paediatrician to one who supports breast feeding”. This wasn’t really the advice I was looking for. It just made me feel bad. Mr. Waffle suggested I invite her over for a cup of Nestle instant coffee and a kitkat as revenge.
Finally, I found something on the internet. Corky, a very appropriate name in the circumstances, has a free on-line latch on video. And it’s brilliant, it saved my bacon and I finally got the hang of breastfeeding. And despite the fact that my baby had lots and lots of bottles over a two month period, from month 3 on she became an exclusively breastfed baby and I stopped having sore breasts. So, for what it’s worth, these people who say that your baby will never go back to breast after getting a bottle are wrong. So, don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t work out at first. And even if it doesn’t work out at all, I don’t think it really matters that much (although I defy anyone to think that when they are holding their precious new born infant). After all Mr. Waffle was bottle fed and he turned out very tall…
So given my triumph in breastfeeding my baby, I am somewhat reluctant to give up. The WHO guidelines recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months and complementary breastfeeding up to age two or beyond. I am not going to go on until age 2 which I think is a little weird (though, as time goes on, I find it increasingly less weird, which is a bit worrying), but I think I might continue until 1. In my heart of hearts, I suspect that the breast feeding is part of the reason our baby refuses to sleep (bottle fed babies sleep way better than breast fed babies – hey, telling it like it is). Breastmilk being the most fantastically, wonderful food for babies, it’s very easily digestible (unlike evil formula) and so the baby’s stomach feels emptier faster. But hey, lack of sleep isn’t so bad. Of course, there is also the social aspect. My little brother is very down on breastfeeding. It makes him zoom out of the room. He came to visit recently and asked whether I could at least not do it in public (no, that wasn’t actually the reason for his visit). I think it was for that reason that I chose to breastfeed my baby in the trendy Bodega when I was at home in Cork. He nearly collapsed when I told him. As I explained to him, obviously, I had a sign round my neck identifying myself as his sister. He said in anguished tones “My friend’s baby is only two weeks old and he’s getting a bottle, why do you have to do this?” Ah, if only he’d been around earlier, he could have enjoyed the bottle phase. I pointed out to him that he was breastfed himself. His face on hearing this indicated two things: 1. he did not know that and 2. had he been in a position to choose at the time, he would not have hesitated to go for bottle.
And, if any of you expectant mothers are reading this, the birth was fine. It was the easiest part. Honest. Congratulations to Belgium the home of the epidural – not to be confused with the Netherlands where almost everyone has a natural home birth. And can I recommend a funny book?Vicky Iovinehas written a guide to pregnancy and a guide to motherhood. They’re not bad and something of a relief given all the other stuff about. Jojo, I fear that they may be stealing your thunder a bit..
And finally, my own mother feels that, perhaps, my last entry reflected negatively on her. Was I indicating that becoming my mother was a bad thing. No, clearly not, just a surprising thing – ah, the wicked flee where no man pursueth…now that I am a mother myself, I am much, more appreciative of my own mother who is proving her ongoing dedication by being a guaranteed audience of 1 for my blog.
Ah, is that a baby’s cry I hear in the background? Must go.
on 15 January 2004 at 11:20
on 15 January 2004 at 15:36
on 17 January 2004 at 16:06
on 19 January 2004 at 14:17
on 20 January 2004 at 02:49
on 21 January 2004 at 00:07
on 10 May 2005 at 18:01
Belgianwaffle – I had to comment about your breastfeeding saga! I was determined to breastfeed as well when my oldest was born 14 years ago.
It ended up being an emergency C-Section. When I was in the recovery room, the nurse did a quick blood test on him before she was going to hand him over for me to nurse. Just before she could, she saw the results of the blood test and whisked my sick little boy away to ICU. He had dangerously low blood sugar and had to be put on an IV.
I didn’t get to hold him for 9 hours! I was devastated! My husband kept giving me updates on him tho. When I finally got a chance to hold and nurse him, he wouldn’t. Apparently the nurses didn’t get my memo that he was to be exclusively breastfed and gave him a bottle of formula. I was livid… quietly of course…
I had such trouble nursing, SOOO SORE!! I had a couple relatives recommend just bottle feeding him, but I didn’t care what they said. The nurses all helped me try to get him to latch on. I had 3 nurses helping him get his mouth on at one point. Why did I need a robe?!?! I had lost all modesty at that point and whipped my gown open for the air conditioner guy once.
The best advice I got was from the male ICU nurse! He explained my own anatomy of my breast to me and told me to relax. It wasn’t immediate help, but it was very comforting! The clearest advice I’d gotten.
After 3 days I went home with our bundle of boy. It took him about 3 months to learn how to latch on correctly. I used bag balm (made him barf!), all types of creams to make the soreness go away. I even used nipple guards for nursing. How the heck do you use those things!?! What a waste of money!
I nursed him until he was about 9 months old. Saved a TON on formula!
My 2nd and 3rd kids I nursed until they were each one. Working fulltime, I might add! I used a breastpump and kept the milk in the freezer in sandwich baggies. My babysitters would thaw it in a bowl of warm water and stick it in a bottle. Worked great! Only had a male co-worker walk into my office once when I was doing this. He didn’t look me in the eye again for a few years!
To this day, when my husband is trying to get out of our kids what secret present we’re keeping from him is, they say a breastpump. My youngest has no idea what it is, but knows it makes Dad laugh!
What a nice blog site, BTW!
on 12 May 2005 at 19:30
I sent out some CVs. Yes, really, I’m as surprised as you are. I will be even more surprised if they yield results as, to be honest, the jobs are not really in my area of expertise, but it’s a start. In other news. Poor Princess is ill again. She seems to have picked up a stomach bug at the creche. Alas. However, at the moment she is bashing things in the play pen and seems none the worse for wear. I fear that things may deteriorate as the day goes on. I’ll keep you posted. I’m sure that those of you related to her are interested in my daughter’s stomach bug, the rest of you can skip future bulletins… Had a very quiet weekend. Saturday night we stayed in. My sister gave us two DVDs for Christmas, assuming that our social life has hit rock bottom and that we need all the indoor entertainment we can get. In this assumption, she is entirely correct. We watched “28 Days Later”.? I’m not sure that I would recommend this to the discerning viewer. Firstly, it’s kind of hard to follow (and, I’m sure, not just for the sleep deprived like myself). Secondly, I couldn’t see it properly cos I left my glasses down in the car and I was too lazy to go and get them (I appreciate that this might not be a negative point for the film especially, but I thought that I’d mention it anyway). Thirdly it’s a bit scary. Not very scary, but a bit. Mr. Waffle and I are easily scared so we watched a lot of the film with our heads stuffed down the back of the sofa and cushions over ears. This was kind of embarassing, because it’s not very scary really. It also made it difficult for us to follow. So even if the lead character went to Pres?(alma mater of the men in my family, not Mr. Waffle obviously as he’s from Dublin, do try to keep up), I am not convinced. Sorry sis. We went to a party on Sunday afternoon. For some time now, I’ve noticed that I’m becoming my mother. This party made me realise that we are becoming our parents. The place was full of thirty and forty somethings with their offspring ranging in age from 10 years old to 6 weeks old. The adults stood around chatting while the children hared up and down the stairs. This is just the kind of thing my parents used to drag me to. Of course, I intend to stop taking the Princess before she turns 14 and tells me that she hates me and doesn’t ever want to come to a party with me again. Good intentions, hmm, but really, I know I’ll be saying “Come on now, you might enjoy it, there’ll be lots of nice boys there who you’ll enjoy meeting”. Worse, I’ll believe it. on 14 January 2004 at 13:00
I sent out some CVs. Yes, really, I’m as surprised as you are. I will be even more surprised if they yield results as, to be honest, the jobs are not really in my area of expertise, but it’s a start.
In other news. Poor Princess is ill again. She seems to have picked up a stomach bug at the creche. Alas. However, at the moment she is bashing things in the play pen and seems none the worse for wear. I fear that things may deteriorate as the day goes on. I’ll keep you posted. I’m sure that those of you related to her are interested in my daughter’s stomach bug, the rest of you can skip future bulletins…
Had a very quiet weekend. Saturday night we stayed in. My sister gave us two DVDs for Christmas, assuming that our social life has hit rock bottom and that we need all the indoor entertainment we can get. In this assumption, she is entirely correct. We watched “28 Days Later”.? I’m not sure that I would recommend this to the discerning viewer. Firstly, it’s kind of hard to follow (and, I’m sure, not just for the sleep deprived like myself). Secondly, I couldn’t see it properly cos I left my glasses down in the car and I was too lazy to go and get them (I appreciate that this might not be a negative point for the film especially, but I thought that I’d mention it anyway). Thirdly it’s a bit scary. Not very scary, but a bit. Mr. Waffle and I are easily scared so we watched a lot of the film with our heads stuffed down the back of the sofa and cushions over ears. This was kind of embarassing, because it’s not very scary really. It also made it difficult for us to follow. So even if the lead character went to Pres?(alma mater of the men in my family, not Mr. Waffle obviously as he’s from Dublin, do try to keep up), I am not convinced. Sorry sis.
We went to a party on Sunday afternoon. For some time now, I’ve noticed that I’m becoming my mother. This party made me realise that we are becoming our parents. The place was full of thirty and forty somethings with their offspring ranging in age from 10 years old to 6 weeks old. The adults stood around chatting while the children hared up and down the stairs. This is just the kind of thing my parents used to drag me to. Of course, I intend to stop taking the Princess before she turns 14 and tells me that she hates me and doesn’t ever want to come to a party with me again. Good intentions, hmm, but really, I know I’ll be saying “Come on now, you might enjoy it, there’ll be lots of nice boys there who you’ll enjoy meeting”. Worse, I’ll believe it.
on 14 January 2004 at 13:00
Would like to work part-time so that I could bond with the Princess a bit but am applying for full-time jobs on the basis that I can persuade them to let me go part-time once I start. Optimistic, I know, but let me hold on to my illusions.
on 15 January 2004 at 02:15
True with the application form – took me an age to fill out as well. Erm….about 6 months actually. No wonder I didn’t finish that CV….
Good luck with it anyway.
on 19 January 2004 at 14:19
on 20 January 2004 at 02:39
Optimism – a crazy idea…but it just might work! 😉
on 21 January 2004 at 00:08
on 21 January 2004 at 15:34
Last night we let our baby cry. Twice. It was tragic. We rescued her from her cot the other three times, so doubtless, we are giving mixed messages and she will never learn. I am steeling myself for more of this tonight otherwise we’ll still be getting up 6 times a night and patting her on the back when she turns 18. Or so says Gina. Gina is bitter about her own mother who never ensured that she got to bed on time. Gina has been a poor sleeper all her adult life as a result. So she says. Mr. Waffle points out that her choice of nursing as a profession may not have helped much either.
In other news. My displacement activity level has reached herculean proportions. Our Princess is going to the creche a couple of hours a day so that I can concentrate on looking for a job. We have been back in Belgium three days and not one CV has winged its way to a prospective employer. On Tuesday, I had no car and it was pouring rain. Our creche is spectacularly inconveniently located and is really too far to walk. Particularly in a downpour, so the Princess stayed home and no CVs were sent. On Wednesday, I decided to find milk for Mr. Waffle. He likes fresh, pasturised milk and it is hard to find in Belgium. I went to our regular supermarket first. Mr. Waffle had checked it out the previous day and said there was none. I was convinced he had looked in the wrong place and went back to check. I am becoming my mother. I know this. Mr. Waffle was correct. There was no milk. I went to another two supermarkets still looking for milk. I bought a small number of purchases in each (thus ensuring that I stood in three seperate queues) and, you will be delighted to hear, in the third supermarket I visited one of these purchases included milk. This took two and a half hours and what with the creche being so spectacularly inconveniently located, it was time to collect Princess Waffle and no CVs were sent. Today, was the second last day of an exhibition for which I bought tickets before Christmas. If I don’t go today, I will never go, I said to myself. I went today. It has been extended until the end of January. Were any CVs sent out today? Go on, have a guess.
So for tomorrow’s displacement activity, I have lined up a series of tasks. Most of them involve skiing preparation. When this skiing trip was mooted, I thought “fantastic, I will be so cool and trendy bringing my baby skiing, it’s going to be marvellous”. Now, I think, “are you mad woman?? Eight hours in a train with a ten month old?” And back. And furthermore, my friend (hmm what name will I give her? she has Welsh connections, perhaps Blodwyn but then on the other hand, I am anxious that she speak to me again, we will settle on Rosie, as she is English) Rosie whom I visited today expressed the view that it is probably too late to book creche places at the resort now. This is very alarming. Rosie is, perhaps, a smidgeon more organised than I am. Her son has just started school and she tells me he is to finish at 3.30 every day next week. Although there is no documentation to that effect. She worries her legal training has made her over meticulous, her first thought was “How can I believe it if it’s not on paper?”. Anyway, she has scared the bejaysus out of me and I am going to ring the resort tomorrow. That could take a couple of hours. If there is no creche place, there will be much unhappiness chez Waffle.
Am off to bed to stare at the ceiling and listen to piteous cries from my baby daughter.
At the airport yesterday we met a woman whose 7 month old baby has been sleeping through the night since she was seven weeks old. Last night the Princess woke at 10.30, 1.30, 3.30, 5.00, 6.00 and, definitively, at 8.45. Something will have to be done. Mr. Waffle has bought a Gina Ford book on how to get our baby to sleep.? If you follow the link above and read the reviews, you will see that opinions on Ms. Ford’s methods vary greatly. Mr. Waffle is keen to try Ms. Ford’s suggestions but I am a little reluctant. Controlled crying sounds terrifying. Over Christmas a neighbour described how her grown up daughter tried this on her son. The baby cried in his cot for 15 minutes while she cried outside his door. This would be me.
In other news, I am sure that you are dying to hear how the wedding on January 1 went. Very well. It didn’t rain and there were no photographs on the beach for the bridesmaids. In fact the bride, who is as kind as she is beautiful, did go out to have some photos taken but told us that there was no need for us to join her. I have to say, the bride did look spectacularly beautiful. The bridesmaids didn’t look bad either although some foolish person tactlessly described them as the world’s oldest. This was probably true although, as you can imagine, it didn’t go down spectacularly well. One of my fellow bridesmaids was a mother of three (I said we were old) and when she heard that our baby still doesn’t sleep through the night she said and I quote “You feckin eejit”. These third time mothers are very heartless.
Wedding was awash with doctors and medical types of all kinds (bride is a heart surgeon and her father is also a surgeon and her new husband is a medical student). I spent the day concealing the fact that I trained as a solicitor. Doctors are not fond of lawyers. I was doing very well until somebody cornered me and said loudly “I don’t know how you could defend someone who you knew was guilty”. Suddenly I was surrounded by people muttering darkly. I didn’t know where to begin my defence, the following sprang to mind –
I never really did any criminal law,
For the past number of years I haven’t practised – I’m clean,
You’ve known me since I was 12, couldn’t we have explored this at a different time (this for the bride’s mother),
Or, most bravely, I think you have misunderstood how defending criminal cases works.
I opted for –
Did you know that one of the other bridesmaids is starting law school in the autumn? I think you should talk to her. It may not be too late to save her.
on 08 January 2004 at 23:18
Took Princess Waffle to mass today. For the godless, today is the feast of the holy family so it was very appropriate. We felt like pillars of the community. The priest referred to Princess Waffle from the pulpit saying how wonderful it was that she clapped along to the choir. We were very proud and hung around outside to tell other members of the congregation that she is very advanced for her age. This is, in fact, the second time that Princess Waffle has been referred to from the pulpit but since last time the priest was slightly irate that she was roaring and interrupting his sermon, I would prefer not to dwell on that.
And in other news, my sister flew back to Chicago today after a brief week in Ireland. Americans don’t really believe in Christmas holidays and she had to beg and plead for the week off. She may have to give up her job in the US and come home so’s she can have decent holidays, but not, I hope, before I have had a chance to stay in her new apartment. Only slightly deterred by the thought of flying 9 hours with Princess Waffle.
on 29 December 2003 at 01:24
Your brave, I would never have the bottle to show family my weblog, in fact I would be really worried if they found it! So even if she doesnt like it, you deserve a medal for bravery!
I spent 52 euros on stamps for Christmas cards the other day. We have sent too many Christmas cards. So far, we have received 6. I’m not complaining. No, really. I’m sure that when we get back to Brussels after Christmas we will have 50 odd Christmas cards waiting for us.? What do you do with 50 Christmas cards in January?
My friend the glamourous potter called around yesterday. She has a baby 6 weeks older than Waffle. Her baby crawls round the place like mad and I am torn between admiration and horror (will Waffle do this? how will I manage when she can move?). Glam potter is going to be a regular feature here as she is by far the most exotic person I know. To start with she’s a potter. I mean, how many potters do you know? Then, she used to get driven to school in an open top sports car. In Antigua. That’s enough for starters.
I am busy adding to my favourite blogs bit. I am adding Locotes cos we Cork people should stick together and so on. Also can get regular updates on Cork things. Fantastic, unmissable. Also adding JoJo, cos she said that my baby was sweet. Oh yes, I am very easy to buy. Thank you JoJo. Finally I’m adding this Iranian gentleman because, let’s face it, an informal look inside the corridors of power in Iran is kind of unusual. I particularly like the picture of him as a young boy. Very odd. If you check it out today, you will see that he is pleased about the capture of Saddam. No surprises there then.
on 17 December 2003 at 18:03
Well thank you very much. Urm…my Cork update for today is that the SHARE feens are out in force…at least 3 of them every 10 meters…diving at me from all angles…it’s impossible to get anywhere without being assaulted, surely that must be illegal?
A 20six tip for you, if you ever feel the need to reply or abuse a comment someone has left on your blog, it’s perfectly fine to enter a comment of your own in the entry – can be easier than mentioning their comment in your next post. But of course everyone has their own style. I’ll stop rambling now. 🙂
on 18 December 2003 at 16:52