From giving birth four weeks early, to then being admitted to the COVID ward and my baby struggling to latch on after all the trauma, those first 24 hours were a huge struggle. I never anticipated breastfeeding in the COVID ward. That’s where our problems began and it would be another few months before we overcame all the challenges. Now, the rewards are greater than I could have ever imagined.
Isabella was born four weeks early
During my pregnancy, I didn’t feel the need to read up at all about breastfeeding. I thought it was the most natural thing in the world so it had to be super easy, right? Wrong. My little girl was born four weeks early and born with an infection due to my waters rupturing without any sign.
Isabella was born at a beautiful 6.1lbs with lots of gorgeous black hair. Both she and I were fighting infections after my emergency c-section and then Isabella developed jaundice at one day old. She latched immediately after being handed to me and fed for a good 20 minutes before our peace was interrupted.
Breastfeeding in the COVID ward
Not long after our first feed together, I developed a fever and was promptly admitted to the COVID ward. Yes, the COVID ward. The fever ended up being just a side effect of the major surgery I had just had however we remained on the COVID ward for 24 painful hours. Breastfeeding in the COVID ward was never part of the plan.
Not long after our first feed together, I developed a fever and was promptly admitted to the COVID ward.Camilla
I believe that due to our peace being interrupted during our first feed this caused the problems that came next. For the next week Isabella would not latch. She would scream hysterically at the breast, squirm away and just sob. The midwives would forcefully push her onto my breast and say ‘it’s normal dear’ as I looked down in horror at my precious baby being forced into the most unnatural and uncomfortable positions. It was meant to be serene. It was meant to be this beautiful, natural act. It wasn’t meant to look like this. We were both left traumatised but nevertheless, I persevered.
Using bottles and formula in the beginning
As time went on and Isabella struggled to feed. The midwives made it clear to me that my baby desperately needed milk in order to flush the jaundice out. I decided that in this instance, we needed to use bottles and formula as my milk had not yet come in (it came in on day 5).
We needed to use bottles and formula as my milk had not yet come inCamilla
The bottles and formula did their job and I squeezed every ounce of colostrum from my breasts and fed it to my darling girl through syringes. When my milk came in on day five Isabella was still not able to latch and was just sobbing and sobbing at the breast.
Finding a way to exclusively breastfeed
I was discharged from the hospital after around 5/6 days (it’s a blur) and came home. I continued to feed Isabella with both formula and expressed milk. She would also latch several times a day and feed for anywhere between 1 minute to 20 minutes.
As we built up our confidence over the next couple of months I was able to cut the bottles entirely and exclusively breastfeed. I worked so hard to build my supply despite Isabella receiving 50% of her milk through formula for the first two months. Formula was there when we needed it and nourished our baby when I couldn’t.
Formula was there when we needed it and nourished our baby when I couldn’t.Camilla
Six months in and we are finally finding our groove
I am six months into my breastfeeding journey with my little girl. Six months in and finally able to relax into the sweet moments we have together without worrying if she’s getting enough, or if she’s in the right position, or if she’s going to unlatch any moment and sob hysterically. It was so difficult to find our groove. But here we are, grooving.
What a journey, what a rewarding, heart-wrenching fight it turned out to be. It was so worth the struggle and hardship. From breastfeeding in the COVID ward to now being able to exclusively breastfeed my darling girl and enjoy every single second of it. She seems to absolutely love it too. Breastfeeding is the most rewarding thing I have EVER done. Isabella is my entire world and being able to feed her from my body is such a blessing.
I wish it could last forever.
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