Confessions of a New Mum - Guest Post by Kelly from HT&T | Motherhood

This is the first guest post from other bloggers about their memories of being a new Mum. If you would like to write a post for this series let me know in the comments or send me an email to kylie(@)kyliepurtell(dot)com

Hello readers! My name is Kelly, you might have seen me around as Kelly HTandT, but it's likely you haven't seen me around at all. Today Kylez and I have swapped blogs, just for shits and giggles. You can find find her over at Handmade Tears and Triumphs, sharing the wisdom she's accumulated over the last few years of blogging. I'm thrilled to contribute to Kylez' Confessions of a New Mum series. A personal friend and avid reader, I've followed the series since the first post. Today I'm going to open a door to something I don't normally talk about because I have a fear of showing weakness, of appearing vulnerable. I'm going to talk about how the baby blues and breastfeeding turned me into a blubbering mess.

Often the years fly by so quickly that the early memories become a fuzzy haze. One night though, four and a half years ago, lingers in my mind as clear as if it were yesterday.
baby blues
Kelly & J, J is 10 days old
I was a new Mum to a beautiful boy, just four days old. He was sleeping soundly, it was about 830pm. I knew he wouldn't feed for a couple of hours so I figured I would get some sleep. I went upstairs and sat on our bed, leaving J with his Daddy. I sat there feeling overwhelmed with emotion, I felt like there was no way I could sleep. And then I burst into tears. A real, deep, sobbing cry accompanied by a torrential waterfall streaming down my face. My husband M heard me and came to see what was wrong. The only explanation I could come up with was that it was all going too fast. I'd read all about the baby blues but I had no idea that it would feel like this. I had no idea that although I was sublimely happy with my perfect little boy, I could feel so terribly sad. I didn't understand why I felt this way but having a good cry certainly seemed to help. 

For two nights in a row I sobbed like a little bitch. I sobbed for the end of my pregnancy. I sobbed for the fact that I was now a Mum, responsible for another human being, so incredibly in love with my little boy. I sobbed for the shift in my relationship with M, for the sacrifice of sleep. I sobbed. I wondered if part of the problem was that I didn't experience labour so perhaps I was feeling like my pregnancy didn't receive the farewell it deserved, but another 2 pregnancies later I know this only played a minor part. It was a hormonal come down, and we were thankful that it only lasted two nights. A relative of a close friend had spoken to us about post natal depression when I was pregnant, and she warned that if the baby blues lasts longer than a few days then we should take it seriously. The fog lifted after the second night and we were relieved. But I'll never forget how those two nights felt... confusing, overwhelming, sad... and also frightening. I didn't want to suffer from post-natal depression and had been flagged as high risk due to my obsessive, controlling nature. Over those two nights of sobbing, I imagined what it would be like to feel like this all the time and it scared the living daylights out of me.
first-time breastfeeding
J and I, he's saying "Yeah for Kylez!"
Once we got past the baby blues we were hit with more hurdles. I didn't have an easy time breastfeeding J, he was a lazy sucker and I was too busy trying to be a multitasking queen instead of focusing on the task at hand. Before long I had cracked nipples but I pushed through the pain and kept on going. The hospital midwives had me so hung up on three hourly feeds and weight gain and they soon recommended that I STOP breastfeeding to let my damaged nipples repair. I was told to express and bottle feed and to use nipple shields for any breastfeeds. Before long he favoured the bottle and that coupled with the use of the shields reduced my milk supply. To say I was heartbroken would be an understatement. I persevered, determined to be good at this mothering gig, determined to do what was best for my baby. I drank 'breastfeeding tea' and spent most of the time topless, encouraging skin to skin. One night I was up at 2am expressing milk; I sat the bottle full of milk on the table. And then, in my clumsy sleep deprived state, I knocked it over. Talk about crying over spilled milk. I collapsed, sprawled across the dining table, and sobbed like a bitch once again. All that hard work, that liquid gold, gone. I felt like the world was coming to an end. In hindsight I can acknowledge that it was a little dramatic!

Within weeks I had a blocked duct and a rapidly growing lump. One breast pretty much stopped working. I used heat packs, ice packs, massage, and saw a physio for treatment to help unblock my painful, swollen breast. I had never imagined that breastfeeding could be such hard work. I felt like ALL of my time was consumed by either feeding, expressing or trying to 'fix' my breasts. As a result, my confidence levels went out the window and I couldn't feed in front of anyone. I continued to offer the breast (at home) for months, dealing with the rejection and reaching for the breast pump. Mooooooo. Without the breastfeeding snuggles, I just felt like a cow. My only salvation was our midnight feed. I would bring him into our bed and snuggle him close, and he would happily suckle at my breast. It was beautiful. But at 12 weeks, he started sleeping for 12 hours over night, and my snuggly feeds were lost. 

I shed so many tears over breastfeeding, I sought advice from nurses and other breastfeeding mums, but the one thing I didn't do was trust myself. I listened to the hospital midwives tell me that he needed to be topped up, that he should ONLY be fed 3-4 hourly. So many women told me to "Just give him a bottle" like it was no big deal. J was such a happy and healthy baby, but rather than trust that my milk and my love were enough, we reached for the formula and spaced out his feeds. By the time I decided to have faith in breastfeeding, it was too late. We tried to refuse the bottle and only offer the breast but it just upset my poor, hungry boy. My supply was too low by this stage and if all it took to make him happy was a bottle, then so be it. 
life as a new mum
Isn't he just the cutest!

I continued to express so he would at least receive SOME breast milk. By the time he was 6 months old I stopped expressing, it felt like such a chore, like a reminder of the fact that I had failed him. It's hard when you're in the moment to not feel like a failure, but it has never affected our bond, he is still a happy and healthy boy and I know that the heartache I felt was unnecessary. I'm not a bad mother for struggling with breastfeeding, I'm a good mother for trying, I'm a good mother for doing what worked best at the time. I just wish I could have realised that back then.  

Did you experience the blubbering that came with the baby blues and breastfeeding? Do you love alliteration as much as I do?

Previous Confessions...
Confessions of a New Mum Part One - Learning Curves and 'Un'Enjoyment
Confessions of a New Mum Part Two - Stitched Up
Confessions of a New Mum Part Three - The Part-time SAHM
Confessions of a New Mum Part Four - Mum Appreciation
Confessions of a New Mum Part Five - Losing My Confidence
Confessions of a New Mum - Kelly from Handmade Tears and Triumphs (Guest Post)
Confessions of a New Mum - Bron from Big Brother, Little Sister & the Baby (Guest Post)
Confessions of a New Mum - Jenn from Mountains & Musings (Guest Post)

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Oh hon, you went through SO much. But for me, being a non Mumma, its good to hear about the good and the bad. Blog reading has taught me that everything isnt just peachey keen and thats OK.
I'm sorry you went through so much heartache feeling you were not good enough etc etc. But i'm also glad that now you know the truth, that you are AMAZING!
Thank you for sharing this xxx
I always say that each day a baby receives breastmilk is to celebrated, whether it be one or one hundred and one. You are a good Mum, my love and your persistence is so very admirable x
Kel said…
Thank you Holly xx
Kel said…
Thanks Meagan. It was hard at the time but it was made all the more bearable by his beautiful big blue eyes. Hard times don't feel so bad when they're for one you love so much. It seems like a life time ago now xx
Thanks for sharing this Kelly! I struggled with breastfeeding my eldest. I spent 6 months being 'a cow' to a baby who never mastered breast feeding. My son lost too much weight in hospital, and was supplemented from early on. I will always question whether nipple confusion contributed to our problems. My life was pumping, trying to feed (with zero success), sterilising and repeating the process. At the time I felt so alone, as I was the only in my mothers group with problems. Now I know there are others with similar stories x
Anonymous said…
So beautifully written. And u were not dramatic over the spilt milk- my eyes watered as I read it. I think I would have committed murder. I experiences baby blues with my first born and being from a middle eastern family, who doesn't recognise PND I didn't receive the support that I needed. I would love to contribute my story but I am struggling with this blogging thing and I'll need help as to how it's done. Loving ur blogs Kelly xx
Kel said…
You are most welcome. It's always comforting to know that we're not alone. xx
Kel said…
Thank you so much xx
If you want to contribute, I recommend you have a read through the series that Kylz has posted already (6 posts I believe) to get an idea of what she has talked about, then you just need to write something from the heart about your experience as a first time mum and email it to her kylie(at)kyliepurtell(dot)com
Anonymous said…
The hardest thing about having a new baby (as a dad) in those first few weeks is seeing the emotional hell your partner goes through. It's like having to assemble flat packed furniture without the allen key or instructions but with everyone expecting you to be a natural. If only you new mothers knew what life would feel like a few months after day zero.
Kel said…
What a great analogy. I can't imagine it would be easy for a man to be there in the moment and not know what to do. Truth be told, there isn't much that can be done. But I must say, it always helped when hubby made me a cup of tea. (Because in our 12 years together the only time he EVER makes me tea is when we have a newborn). :)

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