With my first two children I didn’t really stick at breastfeeding for very long at all, but when I was pregnant with my third I really wanted to give it a proper go. I did lots of research and joined support groups online. Then when my daughter was born she dropped a lot of weight early on and I started to give her formula top-ups. I was so deflated – was our journey over so soon?
I got the water birth I’d always wanted
My daughter Aubree was born on 24th March 2020. I got the water birth I’d always wanted at the birth centre but haemorrhaged after which resulted in being rushed upstairs to the maternity unit. I was determined to breastfeed this time around as she’s my last baby and I gave up so easily with my other two children. I’d looked at loads of breastfeeding pictures of different holds, read a breastfeeding book and joined lots of breastfeeding groups on social media.
I got the water birth I’d always wanted at the birth centre but haemorrhaged after which resulted in being rushed upstairs to the maternity unit.
My nipples were red raw and she wasn’t having enough wet nappies
At first, I thought we were doing well except my nipples were red raw, bleeding and every time she fed it was agony so I asked for some help with working on a deeper latch. By day 10 she’d lost 11.4% and wasn’t filling her nappy regularly.
The midwives wanted me to top up whether that was breast milk or formula. They said if she lost anymore weight she’d have to be admitted to hospital. I sobbed and sobbed I knew I wouldn’t be able to express enough to keep on top of it. We where in the middle of a pandemic and homeschooling our eldest. I thought this was the end of our journey already.
Formula top-ups started at 30ml every three hours
My partner went to the supermarket to buy formula, bottles and a steriliser (all the things I hadn’t bought purposely so I couldn’t give up on a bad day). Formula top-ups started 30ml every 3 hours on top of me still feeding her on demand. Then 48 hours later the midwife came round to reweigh her and she not only put weight on but she also latched perfectly and filled her nappy. I’d never been so happy!
Formula top-ups started 30ml every 3 hours on top of me still feeding her on demand.
My midwife explained that my milk had taken longer to come in due to the huge amount of blood I lost after giving birth. Finally, I was given an answer as to why we may have been struggling and I told myself I wouldn’t give up. The next time the midwife came round to weigh Aubree she said that she was now putting weight on steadily so I asked if we could start dropping the top ups and she agreed. After 4 weeks we were finally top up free. I cried happy tears we’d finally done it and we were back exclusively breastfeeding.
I found a lump next to my nipple
Then yet again something else went wrong…I’d developed a lump next to my nipple. It had really started to hurt when I got engorged and that boob would leak so much more than my right. Panicking I spoke to my midwife and the nurse at my postnatal check-up but they were none the wiser so I rang my health visitor who came out to see me. She was also unsure but knew that I was worried so she rang my doctor’s and asked for a referral.
I’d developed a lump next to my nipple. It had really started to hurt when I got engorged and that boob would leak so much more than my right.
A few weeks later I went to the breast clinic at my local hospital for a consultation and scan which showed that I had some dilated breast ducts and a galactocele which is a cyst that fills up with milk which was why I was leaking so much. There’s no cure but it’ll go when I stop feeding and no longer hurts unless I haven’t fed her on that boob for a very long time. Knowing what it was made me feel alot better.
Here we are 16 months on and I am so proud
Since then we’ve had the odd problem with biting while teething or nipping but feeding, in general, has been amazing. Sometimes I do feel touched out or fed up but that’s normal and I’m sure most mum’s feel the same at times. Aubree is now 16 months old, 28lbs, still feeds to sleep, and is absolutely obsessed with boobies. Now she pulls at my top asks for more and says “please”.
Breastfeeding is one of the best decisions I ever made. The support I received from family, friends, midwives and my health visitor massively spurred me on and I hope we continue to feed as long as she wants.
Breastfeeding is one of the best decisions I ever made
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