At 32 weeks I started to express my precious colostrum in preparation for the birth of my first child, we had recently found out that my baby had stopped growing due to Asymmetric Growth Restriction (to which we assume had something to do with suffering Hyperemesis Gravidarum throughout my entire pregnancy causing liver and kidney failure) we were told I may have to have my baby early so the more milk I had the better, luckily this wasn’t the case and at 39+1 I gave birth to a teeny tiny (5lb 9oz) girl – Sofia Mae.
Upon her arrival I instinctively brought her to my breast to feed but due to her size and the fact I have small nipples we were unable to feed, this was the beginning of the struggle she and I would face. Every hour I would try to feed but she was unable to latch so I would express and Sofia was fed via a supply line attached to either my husband’s or my own little finger. This went on for 8 heartbreaking days, Sofia was rappidly losing weight and I could still not breastfeed. Then day 9 came and we had a win, with the help of a nipple shield I was able to breastfeed for the very first time! I was ellated – we went home from the hospital the next day and for the next 2 days we went on our blissful way happily feeding, my bubble was unfortunately burst though when I took her in for a weigh in and she had lost more weight. I then was told by a Laction Specialist to switch feed to see if that would help and to also begin to try and take the shield away (It would be 6 weeks before I could feed without it) slowly Sofia began to gain weight and in not too much time she started to flourish, it was in that time that I began to express and donate my milk to another baby girl only a day older then my own, it was such an imence privilege and joy to nourish another with my milk and for 3 months I would pump and pump, feed and feed for my own child and another’s.
Almost 8 months on and Sofia is almost tripple her birth weight! She is sitting, crawling, pulling herself up to stand and is such a joy, although the bites are painful the comfort and the closeness that breastfeeding brings is priceless. I count myself so incredibly blessed to be able to breastfeed and being involved in the Australian Breastfeeding Project is such an honour!