Parent stories: Hazel
Updated: Jun 6
Rowan’s arrival into the world was swift! A planned, and much desired, home birth came off like a dream. Start to finish, it was three hours! The midwives got here for the pushing stage and to help me deliver him. Crispin was an absolute rock, making phone calls, encouraging me, advocating for me when I didn’t want coaching, giving me sips of water and ultimately holding me in a supported squat for delivery. The placenta delivery and some stitching was done just in time before our 2.5 year old daughter strolled in the door at about 7am! We had a beautiful introduction of siblings with her first comment being “baby has ears!”
The first 24 hours Despite my best efforts remembering C.H.I.N (close, head free, in a line and nose to nipple) and allowing him to bob about in the laid back position to encourage him to open his mouth wide and latch, I really felt we weren’t achieving a deep enough latch. I had quite a bit of nipple trauma with my daughter and I am very aware of the importance of a good latch for the sake of my nipples and so that he is efficiently getting colostrum and then milk!
He has been quite a sleepy baby in the first 24 hours and made some very half-hearted attempts to latch on during the day. Of course when I was ready for bed in the evening he was ready to try properly again! I have struggled through the night to get a deep latch. He is so sleepy that when he actually manages to latch on at all I was disinclined to unlatch him and start again. My determination is always lower at night when it’s half dark and I am sleepy myself. I was also worried he hadn’t fed enough so wanted to give him the chance. Then when he got to nearly the 24 hour mark he finally passed some meconium and the protracted nappy change seemed to wake him enough to make a bit more effort at feeding!
It’s still going to take a lot of work I feel, but I hope it is good enough for now... is that the mum guilt creeping in already...?
Day 2 - 5 and time for a check-up
After a very sleepy start Rowan found his voice and his appetite a bit more during day two. He was latching on every couple of hours and it was hurting and pinching. I was trying to concentrate on getting a good latch but I forgot how difficult it can be with a newborn bobbing their head randomly all over the place!
I was trying a mixture of laid back approach and using the “flipple” technique on the right hand side where he continuously tried to latch on to my arm! If he didn’t latch on well I was trying to patiently unlatch him but sometimes when I unlatched him a couple of times he would just go back to sleep so I found myself letting him suck even when it pinched as I was glad he had actually latched on!
I have been using silver nipple cups to protect my nipples between feeds. I could see there were some scabs but they were kept soft and never stuck to clothing or breast pads with the cups in. It can be so hard to tell at this stage whether they are getting anything at all but I was encouraged by seeing some good poos as he continued to pass meconium.
On the third day I felt I should really get a little help. With my daughter I persevered a whole week and was in so much pain by the time I got help. I had promised myself I would reach out a lot sooner this time!
I messaged Baby Umbrella and arranged to meet with Andrea. By the time I saw her the next day things were looking up a bit as I had experimented a bit more with positioning. It was so valuable to improve my technique but also to allow Rowan to take the lead properly in the laid back position. My impatient and in-control self was not helping as I tried to manage the latching on. A combination of pushing his bum in to help his head come back and lowering him down has helped so much. Andrea also gave me some advice on how to feed in a side lying position. It definitely takes a lot of work and concentration which can be hard with a toddler who also wants to have your attention!
The next day was the day 5 check-up. I am so pleased to have my Mam here to help me with driving there as he does not seem to enjoy travelling in the car very much! I was sure he would have lost weight as he was so full of fluid when he was born that he was puffy with it. Thankfully he had lost 6% of his body weight and the midwife was perfectly happy with that!
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Stories of early parenthood
One of the things parents often say when they’ve recently had a baby, and even more so when they've had a difficult journey, is why did nobody tell me that this was going to be so hard? Why did nobody tell me the truth about breastfeeding, or birth, or sleep, or the emotional transition, or the physical recovery? If I'd have known some of this, I could have prepared myself... and maybe I would have known better if something was wrong.
We'd like to start to tell some of these stories. Every story you will hear here is unique, but it can still be helpful when you’re going through a difficult experience to realise that you’re not the only person who's been through this, that someone else has been here before. That somebody else might have some thoughts about how to solve this problem, or get through it, or how to cope.
So we want to open up the floor to you all and give anyone who would like to a chance to tell their story of early parenthood - both the joyful parts and the challenges you faced. Not just the shiny story on Instagram or Facebook but the truth of the things that were beautiful and delicious and wonderful as well as the difficult things, the things you might have struggled with, the things you miss from your old life, the things you regret or you wish you'd known.
If you’d like to contribute to the series we would be really happy to hear from you. We hope you enjoy it and do let us know what you think.