Breastfeeding : Alexia interview
What is your story?
My story with Jules starts at the end of July, a few days before our wedding with Arnaud. I was surprised to learn of this pregnancy, expected of course, but which arrived at lightning speed, following a first cycle after stopping the pill. Then our hurried meeting, upsetting and terrifying at the same time, occurred barely 6 months of pregnancy, 500km from home, at the time of the end of the year holidays.
Jules is now 7 months old, he is a happy baby, who loves life, who smiles at life!
How are things with Jules today?
He is of course followed more than any other full term baby, but he is doing well, very well even after his extreme prematurity. He is our Julio, this baby who gave us a hell of a lesson in life during these months of hospitalization and still today.
How did you know that you wanted to breastfeed?
During my pregnancy, breastfeeding was just a fixed idea for me, I left myself the possibility of doing what my body and my head would want when the time came. I am a maternity nurse and I accompany women who want to breastfeed on a daily basis. I am confronted with all types of situations, from the "ideal" breastfeeding, that is to say without any problems, to the breastfeeding that I consider to be "distressing" for the mother, linked to several factors, notably a baby that sleeps at the breast, a baby that does not gain weight, pain during breastfeeding, etc. So I was already aware of this and I had no real expectations, I said to myself that I would see how I felt during the birth, and I didn't want to put any pressure on myself!
And so came this extremely premature birth in emergency and it is during the caesarean section during the incision that an anaesthetist doctor asked me in a rather urgent way if I wanted to breastfeed... the answer was immediate and very natural: YES! I was already aware of the many benefits of breastfeeding for premature babies because of my previous position in neonatology, so I did not hesitate for a second!
Tell us about your moments of doubt
As far as moments of doubt are concerned, they only came when Jules started to breastfeed, about a month and a half after she was born. From the beginning, given my profession, I had all the tools in hand to make my remote breastfeeding work: skin-to-skin stimulation with my baby, breast pumping every 3 hours, feeding adapted to lactation, breastfeeding tea and so on. It was quite time consuming, quite routine but it was reassuring and I was producing so much milk that I donated my milk to the lactarium several times... at first he was only getting 1mL per hour in his tube. Then when he started to suckle at the breast, we had to do weigh-ins, and that was really the hardest part... to see that he suckles for several minutes and in the end no weight gain on the scale, or else 5 unfortunate grams gained. But I was very well accompanied by the neonatal nurses and it is thanks to their encouragement that I did not give up! Jules has only had breast milk since his birth, and that is a great victory for us.
What are your breastfeeding tips?
First of all, I would say not to be stubborn about breastfeeding and not to listen too much to the people around you, because often they always have something to say without you asking for anything. You should rather take care of yourself, because there is no good breastfeeding without a serene mother who feels good. It is especially important to be well accompanied, to know how to ask for help when needed from people who are aware of the issue and who are specialized in it, because breastfeeding is often a source of anxiety for mothers.
What is your best breastfeeding memory?
I have two! Of course it's when Jules was at my breast for the first time, he was a little over a month old, it was incredible, it was wonderful! I finally felt that one more bond was being created between the two of us. My breastfeeding was no longer reduced to multiple meetings with my electric pump. And the other beautiful memory is when Jules finally gained weight with only my breastfeeding. Because I could not be with him 24 hours a day, at night he had bottles of my pumped milk combined with a tonic to gain weight more quickly. And when Jules came home, I put him on the exclusive breast... and after several days of stagnation, he gained weight as he should have... and those grams gained were really precious.
Tell us a funny anecdote that you experienced during your breastfeeding
It's not really a funny story, but how many times people looked at me with big eyes when I said I was breastfeeding Jules and that I was jointly donating several dozen liters of milk with regard to my small breasts! As a matter of fact, the size of the breast does not influence the quantity that one can produce!
What did the shooting bring you?
The shooting brought me a lot because it had been about a month since we came back from the hospital, the hospitalization at home was also over, I could finally go out and do something else outside of the hospital environment for me, but also for Jules. I had this need to show others that Jules is "my baby" but also to tell myself that I also have the right to do something that makes me happy, because the guilt of having given birth very prematurely was driving me a lot at that time. So when my best friend told me about this shoot, I hesitated because I wasn't sure of myself and finally I went for it! It was also a way for me to accept myself physically, that I was not "only" this body that could not go through this pregnancy, that yes I am also a woman and that I can be beautiful.
What was your favorite piece and why?
My favorite piece, undeniably the Origin pregnancy and nursing suit.
The cut of this garment, the softness of the fabric... I immediately felt beautiful and comfortable wearing it. It is both timeless and trendy but most of all, it is ideal for breastfeeding!
What is your best memory during the Cache Cœur shooting?
My best memory of this shooting will remain the kindness of the Cache Cœur team. I thank you again for having trusted us, for having allowed us to pose Jules and me together. I am proud to have done this for him and I will have a wonderful memory to tell him later.