After bottle feeding my two eldest children, I knew I wanted to try breastfeeding my third baby. However, whilst I was pregnant I wasn’t prepared for being told my baby had Down Syndrome. When she was born we were warned that she might not be strong enough to breastfeed but I didn’t want to give up so we persevered together.
Matilda is our one in a million baby
My partner and I found out Matilda had Down Syndrome whilst I was pregnant. We had just arrived on holiday to Spain for our ‘babymoon’ when we were told the news over the phone. Whilst we were initially devastated, we knew our baby girl was special. She is our one in a million baby.
Our daughter Matilda was born on July 14th, 2019 weighing a tiny 4lb3oz at 36 weeks of pregnancy. Along with the Down Syndrome diagnosis, we also found out she had clubbed feet and a serious heart defect.
We were told that with her having hyptonia (low muscle tone) and her heart issue, that she probably wouldn’t be strong enough to breastfeed. They said her latch may not be correct, that she might tire quickly at the breast, and may not get enough calories. Being told all that really ate away at my confidence.
We were told that with her having hyptonia (low muscle tone) and her heart issue, that she probably wouldn’t be strong enough to breastfeed.Linzi
Heart surgery and poor weight gain
Matilda was NG tube fed for eight weeks with my expressed milk. She had her heart surgery at 13 days old and although it was a success Matilda then went on to develop Necrotising enterocolitis (NEC). This required an extra two weeks stay in hospital (six weeks total).
Some health professionals encouraged us to move onto high-calorie formula because of poor weight gain, but we didn’t give up on breastfeeding. Eventually, around 8/9 weeks after Matilda was born she latched and had her first full breastfeed. From that day on we haven’t had any issues with breastfeeding and Matilda is healthy and thriving!
Some health professionals encouraged us to move onto high-calorie formula because of poor weight gain, but we didn’t give up on breastfeeding.Linzi
Trust your mother’s instinct and don’t give up
For any other person who may be in a similar boat, I would say to give it time to establish breastfeeding. It might not take a day, a week, or a month, but be assured that babies with Down Syndrome HAVE the ability to breastfeed just like that of a typical baby. If it’s something you really want for you and your baby, don’t give up. Trust your mother’s instinct and do what you believe is best for your child nomatter what some other people may say/think.
Despite many health issues that may come along with a Down Syndrome diagnosis Matilda is currently on zero meds. Her health and development are doing amazing. I believe the majority of this is down to the magic potion – Mummy’s golden boobies.
I am so proud of us and recently had our breastfeeding moments captured by Belfast Birth Photographer.
For more support and information on Down Syndrome
Did you know October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month? When Linzi was looking for support she found the Down Syndrome Association to be full of helpful information. The Positive About Down Syndrome community gave her lots of tips and positive stories to focus on.