Over the past few weeks I have come across other first time mum's that have really been struggling with breastfeeding. My heart breaks for them because it is such a touchy and emotional subject.
You want it so bad, but then for whatever reason it just doesn't work for you.
I feel so blessed that I'm able to breastfeed my daughter but it didn't come easy. I can totally see why women give up.
And maybe you are one of them; know that it is okay, you're not alone. And most importantly, you're not a bad mother!
A side note; colostrum is a thick yellow liquid that is full of so much goodness for babies, but because it is thick, it takes more sucking from bubs which can be hard in the first couple of days. Some babies are better at sucking than others.
On the second day I went into the breastfeeding room and spoke with a lactation nurse who had to literally milk me so Ava would get enough for her next feed. Yep I was sitting there with my top off, chatting with this lovely nurse while she was milking me...you leave any inhibitions at the door when you have a baby that's for sure!
By day three Ava was weighed again and she had lost more than the 10% of her birth weight and the midwife was not overly concerned but asked me to start expressing some milk so I could top Ava up after she had finished her feed. Hearing this instantly made me feel like a bad mum. My daughter was quickly losing weight and my boobs just weren't giving her enough; tears were flowing.
What am I meant to do now?
I did as the midwife said and expressed after breastfeeding but the bottle they gave me was hideous, I may as well have given Ava a cup, it went down her throat that quickly. She instantly vomited it all back up. What a waste of time for me and an unpleasant experience for my three day old baby. I said no to expressing because it just didn't feel right for me.
Later in the evening an older midwife was on shift and I told her what was happening, she gave me the best advice I had received so far. She told me to strip Ava down to just her nappy, this would wake her up because she would be chilly and the chance of her falling asleep was less likely. So that is what I did and on the last night in hospital, bubba was weighed again and she was now the weight she was meant to be. I was so happy I jumped around the room with the biggest smile on my face.
I did it!!
With the days that followed the pain of breastfeeding started to come. My nipples were so tender it was ridiculous and I now had an oversupply of milk. My boobs looked like implants, they were hard, engorged and so painful. Tears flowed again.
I ended up having to express for the first couple of weeks just to relieve the pressure and pain.
I am a lucky one. I persisted and breastfeeding works for me. But some ladies don't have that luxury and I think that it needs to be spoken about, breastfeeding is HARD!! It doesn't come easy and it isn't instinctual. It is something you and bubs need to learn. You both need to work together.
So my piece of advice for you is to ask questions and get help! Don't be shy. Also listen to your intuition, if something doesn't feel right say so, like I did with expressing. Trust yourself.
And if you can't breastfeed, don't beat yourself up about it, do what you can do. Breastfeeding is hard and painful, and it isn't for everyone.
Did or do you breastfeed? Did you have any issues with it? Please share with us in the comments below, let's talk about this so mum's know it is okay if they are having trouble. It is so normal!
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Be happy & healthy,