👪 Family Life, Foodie, Weekends Out & About Mum to Hector and Hugo & Step mum to Jasmine Lover of Agatha Christie Novel’s
As soon as I found out that I was pregnant with Hector, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. My mum did it with all her children, my aunts did, my sister in law breastfed my niece and nephew. So it only felt right that I would do the same, because that’s all I ever saw around me.
I had decided to join a pre-natal group, as this was my first child and I wanted to know all that I possible could before having him. So glad I did, but that’s a story for another day. During the breastfeeding segment, they’d mentioned that if it’s painful, then the baby hadn’t latched on correctly. So we were shown and taught the correct latching position. They were also honest about women’s struggles of breastfeeding and the extra groups that were available in my area for support. So I felt extremely confident that I had enough tools to equip me, knowing that there were breastfeeding support groups in my area.
As my due date was approaching I was advised to start colostrum harvesting. Which if you aren’t aware, is the process of you hand expressing the initial part of your breast milk into a syringe, which you’d then store in the fridge/ freezer for when baby arrives. This is to help with ensuring your baby gets enough milk on the first days when they’re born.
So when I went to my local hospital to do this, I skipped down there feeling excited. Excited that I was getting closer to actually having a baby and also that I was doing something extremely beneficial for my first born. However once I started expressing I struggled to get anything out (one tiny drop to be precise) and I felt extremely frustrated. I remember thinking that’s it, I guess I won’t be able to breastfeed now. The nurse reassured me that this can happen and to keep trying while at home. This I did and still barely got anything out. So I just left it, and you know what? I’m so glad I did, as it was causing me far too much stress and I was already feeling anxious about feeding, it was hurting to just get one drop out, and was already ruining what I thought would be an easy thing to do.
Roll on to the birth date, when Hector was born. Of course the happiest moment of my life. We did skin to skin as soon as he had entered the world and was placed on me. After his initial checks he was handed back to me to feed. A moment I couldn’t wait to do but nothing came out. I remember feeling sad but the nurse reassured me that it could take a little while to come and that we’ll wait for an hour before trying again. That hour came and still nothing and I decided that I wasn’t going to stress myself out, I just wanted him to be fed. So I handed him back to the nurse who did his first feed by giving him a small amount of formula from a cup.
I stayed in over night as they wanted to help me with the feeding, which thankfully by the next day; through help from all the nurses at the hospital, I was able to latch and the milk (colostrum) was flowing.
Day 3, when the actual milk came in, just felt like one of the worst days I had ever experienced. Hector practically fed for 7 hours with very few minutes being off, not exaggerating!!! I even had to google and see if this was normal.
My partner had left for a couple of hours to do errands and a food shop and when he returned I was in floods of tears and I told him that I wasn’t going to continue on. My nipples were bleeding and sore and Hector just wouldn’t stop feeding. I remember thinking surely you’re full? Why are you still carrying on?!
Thank God my mum came to my rescue and showed me how to ease my massive painful engorged breasts.
Hand massage breast while in the shower to reduce the fullness and firmness
Apply a hot flannel every so often on top of your boobs
With every feed before and after make sure you use the nipple cream, to help ease the pain.
Not going to lie, this all seemed like such hard work, for what I assumed would all be simple and easy. But everything started to settle down and it took four weeks before I was pain free while breastfeeding. It was definitely the latching which we couldn’t always get right. However, second time round, I just believe that it will always hurt a bit for some people. My mum and a friend of mine were the only two people I knew, that breastfeeding never hurt for them at the beginning; but for everyone else I knew, it just did! So I highly recommended nipple shields after the first two weeks. Once your baby is latching well and your nipples are still sore.
After this period it all thankfully went well… Well, I did battle with proving he had reflux, which was actually quite bad once the doctors saw proof, then another battle of proving he had a dairy allergy. All stories for another day that I will share with you soon. But thankfully once I passed those first four weeks of feeding, I was able to breastfeed Hector exclusively for 13 months pain free.
I highly recommended that if you’re planning or would like to breastfeed to start looking for support groups in your local area. As I’m fully aware that I had a lot of support from my mum, partner and helpful tips from my NCT friends. Without any of this, I’m not sure if I would have persevered.
So if you’re reading this and going through this stage, don’t give up, it’s not a chapter that you should burden on your own, so do ask for help. But remember, the main thing is keeping your baby fed and at a healthy weight.
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