Being 16 weeks pregnant, I have now had a little time to contemplate how I'm going to feed bubba. Now before I get started this won't be a post about what's right or wrong, it is simply a chance for me to think aloud and perhaps get some thoughts from mums in similar situations. So if you're wanting to read a controversial post about what's the best for your baby, you're in the wrong place.
With Darcie there is no denying that our breastfeeding journey was very short lived and was extremely stressful for both of us. Having had a traumatic birth which then delayed me seeing Darcie (as I was put to sleep) everything seemed like it was all just too much. I remember being wheeled back on to the recovery ward with Darcie in my arms, she had startled to nuzzle in looking for the breast. As I was pretty high as a kite it didn't occur to me that she was wanting to feed until a midwife pointed out it had been over two hours since she had been born and she would be hungry. She seemingly latched on straight away, I felt pretty chuffed that despite the delays and me being slightly zonked we had it sussed.
It wasn't until the early hours of the morning, when I noticed little "love bites" as I can only describe them around my nipple, I realised she hadn't latched correctly at all. I then had to turn to feeding her by syringe which was bizarre and actually really soul destroying. I had lots of support from midwives when at hospital, helping with positioning and checking she wasn't tongue tied. It wasn't until a the fourth day (my last day in hospital) that a midwife suggested a nipple shield as my nipple wasn't seemingly drawn out enough! And finally I was able to breastfeed!
Once home, we settled in nicely and had the usual hurdles to conquer, as well as constant cluster feeding, failing to express, and occasionally we still had issues with latching. By the third week when the midwife came round (I was still under midwife care due to my section, she was jaundice and problems with breastfeeding AND I still had high blood pressure) to do the usual checks, she had lost a huge amount of weight. The midwife was concerned the nipple shield was effecting my supply because I was solely using it to breastfeed, I wasn't getting the natural stimulation you get when you breastfeed skin to skin. She told me to stop using the shield and try again naturally. I just couldn't get it to work and eventually after a tearful phone call at 2am to my midwife team three weeks later, I gave her a formula bottle and stopped breastfeeding all together.
At the time this was totally the right decision. I was emotionally/mentally struggling with my traumatic birth and then felt like a complete failure being unable to feed my daughter the way I had wanted to. I never have regretted that decision, but I feel if I had been in a better state mentally I would of persevered longer.
This time round I will be trying to breastfeed again, I am hoping for a planned c-section so hopefully it will be a stress free delivery which will leave me in a better mental state - this time I will be awake and in control! I don't know if this time round it will be easier, I'm not holding out hope as I know its always a struggle in the beginning I'm trying to better educate myself and just be more prepared generally - everyone knows breastfeeding is never a doodle in the early days!
If you have had similar problems please get in touch, I would love to hear any hints or tips you may have for latching or overcoming similar situations or if you have any sites/blogs you love that are full of hints and tips!
Mummy B xoxox