Breastfeeding, what a wonder, isn’t it? Keeping a little child alive on just your milk. When I was pregnant with my son I was so sure I would do it. In fact, I had it all planned out, a water birth, breastfeeding, and all the love I could give. It would be perfect, wouldn’t it? I just hadn’t planned for the impact of Corona…
My induction and fast delivery
It was a very fast delivery, too fast if you asked me. I was eight days overdue and my plan was to have a natural birth, with no drugs. I tried to convince my gynecologist to wait for me to go naturally but as the risks became too big they had to induce labor. First pill in, nothing. Second pill, nothing. Third and fourth nothing. Fifth, and my contractions started.
In the end, there were just three hours from my first contraction to the delivery time. It was one contraction after another. No time to get into the water and have my longed-for water birth. It was so intense I ended up asking for drugs but even that was too late. Suddenly my baby was coming and he was coming fast. I gave birth with just a midwife-in-training and my husband with me.
My son latched on straight away but trouble was ahead
My son and I got off to a great start breastfeeding, but it wasn’t all a breeze. The first latch came easy for my little man. He was a natural it seemed. It was a truly magical moment, my world was complete. But soon it became apparent I didn’t have enough milk and by day two my baby had lost too much weight.
I had arranged to see a lactation consultant but she couldn’t come due to Covid-19 restrictions. In the hospital itself, it seemed like they didn’t know very much about breastfeeding. They recommended I start pumping and finger feeding to get my son’s weight up and so of course I followed their instructions. I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing but I wanted to be able to give my son every drop of my breast milk. As a first-time mom, I felt so alone and scared.
I had arranged to see a lactation consultant but she couldn’t come due to Covid-19 restrictions.
I was stuck in a routine of pumping and bottle feeding
Back home I was too scared to start feeding from the breast again so I got stuck in a routine of pumping and bottle feeding. I cried and cried, all I wanted was to latch him on but I was worried sick that he would lose weight again and we’d end up back in the hospital.
My production was just at 30cc at this time. Every time I’d supplement him with a bottle of formula, tears would stream down my face. But despite it all, I didn’t give up. I fought and fought, pumped and pumped. Then I started doing my own research. I realised the damage had been done and I’d never make enough milk for my son. Perhaps if I’d got help with attachment and been encouraged to feed from the breast things would have been different?
Finally, he latched on and the world made sense again
In time, I let go of my worry and started putting him to my breast to feed. At three weeks old he started to latch on pretty good. I was so relieved! He couldn’t get a full meal from my breast milk but it felt so magical and the world made sense again. This gave me so much strength to continue. I started pumping even more.
Fast forward to five months and we’re still doing it. Every morning he feeds from the breast and the rest of the day I pump and he gets bottles, and these are mostly mother’s milk! I feel so blessed we can do this. I’ve shed all my tears, I only feel joy now. He is strong and healthy, and he even prefers my milk to the formula, which wasn’t always the case!
I’ve shed all my tears, I only feel joy now.
Now I treasure every morning feeding together, when we are one. I am still pumping and bottle feeding too, but it’s so much more manageable now. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my darling husband and my dream of a baby. It’s far from perfect but our road is perfectly fine.
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