I want to share my breastfeeding journey thus far, in the hopes that it may help another mother to feel less alone, more normal and more capable within their own journey. But I warn you this is more of an epic saga than a short story.
Bubs was born 3 weeks early, but latched well straight after birth.
At 29 hours old bubs was admitted to SCN due to high levels of jaundice. She commenced phototherapy and was bottle fed after doctors recommended she not be removed from the lights. I had no skin to skin for 2 days, and then only 30mins per 24 hour period for the next 4 days. Needless to say bubs refused to latch and feed and had a very strong bottle preference.
I worked with a LC from the hospital and ended up getting bubs to latch with the help of a nipple shield, and home we went.
We weaned off the nipple shield and I was in toe curling pain at every feed. I dreaded feed time, and spent each feed in tears praying for it to be over. Went back to the LC who told me bubs had a shallow latch due to being prem and to just use nipple shields. I reintroduced nipple shields but it made no difference.
Meanwhile, weigh ins showed that while bubs had gained a very small amount of weight, it was not even close to what they were hoping for, we were told we may have to supplement with formula. We introduced a bottle of EBM once a day.
I continued to have pain when feeding, and bubs was windy, unsettled, not sleeping during the day and clicking when feeding. Spoke to MCHN who identified lip tie and wrote a referral. We also discovered I had thrush and vasospasms. No wonder I was in pain!
At 10 weeks we had bubs lip tie, buccal ties and submucosal tongue tie released by laser. We commenced seeing a new LC and an osteo. By 14 weeks feeding had improved significantly – faster more efficient feeds, some improvements to wind and bubs mood, and I was finally feeding pain free!
But bubs was still unsettled much of the time, was not sleeping well during the day, had reflux, was always congested and had mucousy dark green bowel movements for a solid two months. We saw our GP who said this was normal. Finally gaining a voice I pushed back – and got a referral to a paediatrician.
At 14 weeks we saw the paed who confirmed my suspicions. At the least bubs has CMPI (cows milk protein intolerance), and I farewelled dairy from my diet. We plan to see a dietician/naturopath for help with elimination diet to identify any other intolerances.
Today, bubs is 16 weeks old.
She is a happy, talkative baby with only occasional bouts of wind, and the usual witching hour cluster feeding.
She is sitting on the 75th percentile for weight.
And she is a total boobie monster – often refusing a dummy in preference for the breast.
So mumma. You got this. It’s hard, but you can do it. Listen to your instincts and push back when you need to. Seek support when you need to. And keep on boobin. I am enough. And so are you.