In celebration of Breastfeeding Awareness Week next week, I thought I would share my nursing story.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed – I had done lots of research and I knew that it was the best start for my baby and would provide additional health benefits for me too.
I had read that it was the most natural thing in the world and seen many friends and family nursing their babies and it seemed a wonderful experience for both mother and baby.
What I hadn’t expected was how difficult it would be to start.
My daughter simply didn’t want to nurse, she just wanted to sleep. For 4 days solid. No matter what the midwives did or said, she simply would not latch on.
I spent many miserable hours sitting in an over-heated hospital ward frantically pumping away and waking the poor protesting baby to try nursing her again or force spoonfuls of my laboriously produced colostrum into her fast shut mouth, all to no avail.
We must have been poked and pulled by a dozen different midwives, all very well meaning, but all telling me something different. In the end we were both so upset, tired and emotional that we just sat in our cubical and cried for 3 hours.
After 3 days, I discharged both of us, against doctors’ orders as she had lost some weight and wasn’t yet feeding, but I was getting increasing pressure to give a bottle and I knew that once we started down that route, it would be even harder to establish breastfeeding.
Almost as soon as we got home, my baby woke up and was hungry and I was able to latch her on. It wasn’t very easy and it was very painful but we were nursing!
It took several weeks and lots of support before we were both truly comfortable, (plus several packs of nipple shields and tubes of nipple cream) but we got through it and nursed until she self-weaned at 14 months.
My advice if you are facing similar issues:
Keep going, it WILL get easier but
GET HELP and I mean help from a lactation consultant not a midwife or health visitor. No disrespect to midwives and health visitors but I found the support and information from my lactation consultant to be invaluable.
Useful links to get help: