Monday, February 15, 2010

Our breastfeeding journey...the early days

I had always planned to breastfeed. I had it in my head that because I had 2 miscarriages and it took almost 2 years for us to have a successful pregnancy so I thought it was my 'right' to be able to breastfeed easily. It didn't occur to me that it would be difficult for me. i had attended an ABA day course and read ""Breastfeeding Naturally" from cover to cover before I went to hospital.

Things went pretty much pear shape from the very start. Master C had no interest in attaching in the birth suite and only did so because we 'forced' him.

I had NO idea what I was doing - how long I should feed for or anything like that. By day 2 I already had bruised nipples. By that night Charlie was screaming and screaming the MW suggested hand expressing colostrum she helped me but nothing came out. She suggested giving him 20mls of formula but I refused.

By day 3 my nipples were grazed and bleeding, Mr Woggie bought me some cream for my nipples and I applied that furiously. We got discharged from hospital that night. I continued feeding on demand but was in a great deal of pain but was determined to breastfeed.

By 8pm on day 4 (we had only been home 24 hours) we had realised Master C had not urinated since his first nappy change that morning. We rang 13 HEALTH and they told us to take him straight to the hospital. When we got there he had to have 3 blood tests. They asked me to feed him where I was told my attachment was crap. They also insisted we gave him some forumla as at that point the suspected he was dehydrated, the MW in the children's emergency ward showed us how to feed him with a bottle I cried the whole time. Master C's test results came back as him possibly having a kidney problem, being dehydrated and having too much salt because he had not had enough to eat. He had also dropped to under 3.5kgs (He was born at 4.2). They wanted to keep him in on a drip however they were worried that he may catch an infection being so young so they sent us home with bottles of formula and we were told to feed for 15 minutes on each side and then give him 50mls of formula. They also requested us to come back the next day.

By day 5 my nipples were so damaged I couldn't feed from my left one. That day we went to the supermarket to get a breast pump some formula and some bottles. I felt embarrassed and ashamed buying them so made Mr Woggie go through the checkout while I waited outside. We took Master C back to the hospital that night and he had gained 300 grams in 24 hours. I felt like the worst mother in the world - I had been starving my baby. Once again they got the MW in emergency to help me to breastfeed while they were running the repeat tests on Master C. After a feed they got me to express and only colostrum came out. My milk still had not come in.

On day 6 my MCHN came to visit and told me she had never seen such badly damaged nipples - she told me to stop feeding and express and do the formula top ups. He was on more formula than breastmilk.

On day 7 I visited the drop in lactation consultant center. They showed me all of the different positions and holds and suggested that I got some fenugreek to help with my supply. I got the fenugreek and started drinking it furiously. By day 10 I was still expressing full time but developed a case of mastitis because I couldn't drain my breast properly.

I had to cancel my appointment at the day stay feeding clinic due to the mastits. Mr Woggie went back to work that day and I had to start trying to breastfeed so I started feeding every second feed and topping up with formula. By the following Firday my nipples were back to the damaged state the had been in so I was back to full time expressing and FF feeding. I got an appointment at the feeding clinic. Getting mastitis once again killed my supply so I went back to the GP to get some motillium and was told if I was feeding him by 6 weeks she would be amazed.

At the clinic they told me there was nothing they could do - Master C's attachment was perfect and he was just one of those babies that damaged nipples. I left feeling so disheartened that we were doing everything right but it still didnt work. I vowed to quit Breastfeeding then and there but Mr Woggie kept pushing me and pushing me (I hated him for it so much)

Once I decided that I was going to persist with it I set myself a goal to be only doing bottle feds by the 1st of October then to be totally feeding him breastmilk by the 1st of November then to be 100% breastfeeding by the 1st of December. It took us a while to get there but we did it. There were many tears and tantrums from both of us but I'm glad I stuck it out, I love feeding him now.


  1. ha! glad you found me! hehe.

    kudos to bf-ing girl! i know how hard it can be! it was very hard for us too!

    and yes, i love bf-ing T too!

    ps. a bit late on the congrats but woot-fucking-hoo! congrats!!!!!!!


  2. Wow, good for you! I'm a huge breastfeeding advocate but even I wouldn't have blamed you if you had stopped.

  3. Ah, breastfeeding. How can something so "natural" be so difficult?? i'm so glad that things are going well for you...we're on our way there ourselves (hopefully).

    Happy ICLW!

  4. I thought labour hurt until I had to breastfeed - those first few weeks were a killer! My little baby couldn't latch on, and we had to use nipple shields for the first few weeks. Like you, I set myself a goal of slowly weaning myself off them - but it takes real determination to push through, and it sounds like you had it worse than me. Congrats for getting there!

  5. glad it worked out for you.


  6. I really don't get how something so supposedly natural is so damn hard. You're amazingly strong to keep going when so many others would have given up, congrats on getting to a place where you enjoy feeding him.