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Interview 02

Age at interview: 34
Brief Outline: Emergency Caesar, used nipple shields for cracked nipples. Discusses the very early days including the milk coming in, a good latch, timing of feeds, night time arrangements.
Background: At the time of interview, this 34 year old, White British woman was breastfeeding her 15 day old daughter. A human factors engineer/ergonomist, she was married to an engineer.

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This woman underwent an emergency caesarean section and stayed in the hospital for four days afterwards. She talks about having her daughter lying on her tummy after birth and feeding off and on for about an hour. She also describes the early days of initiating breastfeeding, the milk coming in, engorgement, what it feels like to breastfeed and how to remove a baby from the breast at the end of a feed. She discusses what it is like at home in the beginning including frequent feeding, short spells of sleep both day and night and setting up a safe way of handling night-time feeding. She was lucky enough to have her parents come to visit and help during the day, particularly by cooking meals and minding the baby while she (the mother) had a nap. The baby is only 15 days old but she has already been out for Sunday lunch and breastfed the baby in public. Because she has only six month's maternity leave before returning to part-time work in the airline industry, she wants to introduce a bottle of expressed milk to the baby early on, probably at about six to eight weeks. She says that this will also allow the father to experience feeding their daughter and may enable her to go out at Christmas. The importance of the father's role is covered. As a couple, they attended National Childbirth Trust (NCT) classes. They found them a good source of information and will continue to consult NCT people.

 

She describes ways of checking that her baby was correctly attached.

She describes ways of checking that her baby was correctly attached.

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Did you have help in hospital with that first feed and knowing how to latch on and?
 
Yeah the very first one in the recovery room. I think we were just sort of left. We were just left to recover and then after that the midwives did come round and they checked and they explained that you should have the whole of the, sort of the brown areolar, as covered as much as you can and that the bottom lip should be down and the top lip should be up. I do still check just by pulling my breast away just to check that she’s on, and you can sort of tell that the first initial latch on is a bit like phew! And then very quickly it settles down into sort of a sucking action where you can see your breast move and her jaw move. And, you know, that it’s kind of, she’s, you can hear that, you hear the noises as well of her slurping the milk, [baby noise]. So, that’s how I told but the midwives did come and check it and when I got the cracked nipples, they made sure that I was actually being positioned alright. And I think there’s maybe a bit of adjustment needed but generally it was just purely due to overuse or sudden use that was the cause of it, but it settled down. It’s been fine since.
 

She described the first few days of breastfeeding in detail and thought that her contented baby...

She described the first few days of breastfeeding in detail and thought that her contented baby...

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Sophie was just placed on me and she lay there and probably for about an hour, an hour and a half and just, like, she, I think she breastfed, I wasn't really aware of it, but she definitely suckled and, I think did latch on and in my notes they've said that she was feeding for about an hour. As I say I wasn't totally aware, she was just lying there and then my husband would pick her up and give her a cuddle if she got a bit sort of, and then put her back on me so that was, sort of for four hours I was in there. And then we were taken up to the antenatal recovery part of it, antenatal ward, I was put in a transitional care unit because she was premature and because she was a healthy weight and seemed to be feeding fine we were left to our own devices, and sort of not given any special attention. And so then the first, first day she slept a lot of the day, I can't really remember how frequently she fed, probably every two or three hours I think. But there was a lot of lying around just watching her sleep and during the night as well she kind of, she just would wake up, sort of start to cry a little bit her mouth would go, she would suck her sleeve and that would be a cue to feed me. And so that was sort of the routine sort of throughout the night as well. The first night I think was alright, she did feed periodically and I slept periodically, I don't remember very much of it, the second, second days and things we had, again a lot of sleeping during the day and a bit more frenzied activity during the night the midwives were very good because they'd come and, sort of in the end they did take her away just for a couple hours to let me sleep and then brought her back, just when she really was very hungry, because they, they thought maybe she'd just got into a bit of a routine of smelling me and stuff, I'm not really sure, but that was, that was sort of the, the time in hospital. And then day three my, my milk started to come in, up to that point it was just the colostrum, and that was a very strange experience, you know, you, you sort of, your breasts just go rock solid, just absolutely stretched within an inch of their lives, and then the sort of milk appears and during that third night we had a bit of a tough night because Sophie was doing everything she was meant to be, by encouraging my milk to come through by wanting to be fed lots. But we had, you know, continual sort of every hour, every half hour I think for a period of three hours her wanting just to, to feed a bit more and, you know, I didn't really know it was my milk coming through. I couldn't tell the change but, you know, that was her and so that was, you know, that was hard because it was just an unknown, you know, when your, when your nipples are really sore and your breasts are really sore and you're not really sure what on earth's happening. That was quite, quite hard because I didn't know whether I was giving her enough or whatever but, she seemed, she seemed fine and we, the next day she'd settled down after the night because she definitely sleeps more during the day than at night. And we had a normal day again of her sleeping three plus hours, I think, and then waking up for a feed and then feeding of, you know, feeding for a while and then going back down and that was the sort of case for the first three or four days. 

Okay, and were you offering both breasts at each feed?

I wasn't actually, she, she feeds for about ten minutes was her maximum to start with and then she'd just go, go down and she wouldn't want any more. I mean when she, she begin, or began to sort of not settle immediately I'd try wind her although she hasn't been a very windy baby. Recently being a whole fifteen days old she's now, you know, maybe a bit windier than she was initially but I did take her off and then put her back on the same one and that seemed to be fine. Now
 

Her baby was born by caesarean section and she was shown a couple of different breastfeeding...

Her baby was born by caesarean section and she was shown a couple of different breastfeeding...

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Did having had a caesarean section affect the way you fed?

I don't, not, not to me they the midwife was good and she showed me a couple of alternatives, she showed me the rugby hold which is when you put the baby round the side and it latches on so you, you're not having a baby lying across your stomach. I think maybe because Sophie's quite light and things I didn't find it, you know, a pressure really so I've, tend, I've used it a couple of times but I tended just to use the, traditional hold? I don't know what you call it, just the one where you, lying across?

The cradle hold.

Yeah the cradle hold. Just more often, just because I found that works okay for, for us but that's the only thing I found it difficult a couple of times I couldn't put her back, I lifted her out and probably a couple of times when I shouldn't have because I did feel the pain, but when you've got a crying baby you just, your immediate reaction is to sit up and, and get them. But again being in hospital for the extra couple of days meant the midwife would actually come and place her back in, in her little cot because I struggled to sit up and do that but, other than that I haven't found any difference. And actually I was talking to a friend today who also had a caesarean and she feels the same, a bit like a milk cow of just continual, continual feeding but hasn't had any sort of adverse affect on her, her sort of bonding or wanting to feed, her ability to feed, so from that point no it's not been any, any different really.

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