I'm about to fry breakfast. The house is quiet. All the children are out, Colourful Radio is on. The music is good. DJ Elayne Smith is talking about first loves. And so of course my mind turns towards my ladies and their babies. The new first loves that are being born.
These babies are nurtured and cherished inside the womb where they have all that they need as they await birth. The parents look forward to the time that they meet their newborns. Some will have made plans almost from the moment of conception. Some will wait a while and others will realise in the last few weeks that perhaps they have much to do. This is when a Birth Doula or a Postnatal Doula comes into her own. She will help you talk through your hopes and fears and let you know that you are normal.
Once the baby has been born and as the initial excitement begins to calm, attentions turn to the postnatal period. This baby will need feeding and nourishing and so will this mum. Hopefully mum will have thought about this antenatally and have her support systems in place.
One of my favourite things to do on a postnatal job is to cook up a storm. I'm currently supporting a twin mum. My job is to go in a couple of mornings a week whilst she takes her daughters back to bed and cook to fill her fridge. I love it! I have the radio on and I am left to create gorgeous foods. I even taught myself to make quiche, including the pastry.
Whilst there last week I met another twin mum who had come by deliberately to meet me. She was killing two birds with one stone because her primary goal was to be reassured by twin mum 1 that impending multiple motherdom wouldn't be the end of her. She already had an older child that she had breastfed through to the age of one. Her brief telling of her clearly traumatic birth story, and the initial postnatal period, made her worry about feeding the new babies understandable. She had had little support and felt chained to the house for the first year. She is determined not to have this happen again. Of course there are many "scare" stories about having twins. Which multiple mum hasn't met elventy million people whose faces have exhibited pure horror at the mention that twins are expected? Which multiple mum hasn't been told that she'll have her hands full, that breastfeeding twins is going to be impossible? And this is where I come in.
Of course it's possible to exclusively breastfeed twins and a new mum does not need to feel chained to or trapped in her house. What she needs is confidence in her own ability to feed and faith in her babies. Having support on hand for any unscheduled bumps in the road is a very good move. An excellent port of call is to find an IBCLC like my lovely friend Helen Beaumont Manahan who is currently helping me revise for the big IBCLC exam I'll be taking in July. Local IBCLCs can be found here.
I am sadly unsurprised by the number of multiple mums to be who tell me that they will be mixed feeding their babies because they've been told they will not manage otherwise. A stumbling block has been set before they've begun. However they choose to feed their babies is, of course, a decision for them to make. I'd support them in all choices after all every breastfeed counts.
Now having seen the time I realise that all the dancing the around the kitchen, frying and eating of said breakfast has taken up a fair portion of the day. The lovely Helen and I will be celebrating life and belatedly toasting her IBCLC status at the Kings Cross Champagne Bar in a few short hours before taking ourselves dancing (yes IBCLCs and Doulas dance!). Both activities are two of our loves, but they pale into insignificance when we think about our mums and their babies.