I knew I had wanted to breastfeed if I could - but much like my birthing plan, I had gone headfirst into motherhood with a ‘no plan’ plan, believing I simply had a relaxed attitude instead of an overwhelmingly underprepared one.
I hadn’t even attended any of the free breastfeeding courses run by the hospital. The one thing I had done, was read Midwife Cath’s ‘The First Six Weeks’ and this became my manual to navigating the world-upending experience that is first-time motherhood.
Seb was born by elective cesarean, weighing in at nearly 5kg of which half of that was mostly hair. Being a c-section baby of that size, he was immediately placed into a humidicrib overnight to clear the fluid on his lungs (which would usually happen in a natural birth). Because of his size, Seb was hungry and unbeknownst to me, was fed formula immediately. I was upset - not because he was fed formula, but because I wasn’t asked and I didn’t know this was the normal protocol. I was also incredibly hormonal and emotional - until my wonderful obstetrician put his hand on mine and said ‘Miriam. Bonding with Seb comes over days, weeks, months and years’. He knew instinctively that this was what was upsetting me - that perhaps because I hadn’t breastfed him first up, I’d missed a critical experience that would impact our relationship. The truth was, Seb needed a banquet - he couldn’t wait for my milk to come in.
I fed Seb a bottle in the NICU overnight, watching him smash 150ml straight out of the gates. A benefit of having a c-section is the 7 day stay in hospital. During this time, my milk came in and under the careful guidance of the maternity nurses, Seb and I found our rhythm and I was in awe of how my body was able to feed my baby the volume he needed.
Following Midwife Cath’s advice, his last feed for the night was a bottle of formula given to him by his dad - providing a beautiful bonding experience and giving me some much needed rest. Seb thrived - sleeping well and never having an issue going between breast and bottle. To this day he loves his cows milk, is active and healthy, is off the charts for height and has had nearly 30 haircuts by the age of 4.