When I was pregnant with my daughter I assumed that I would be able to breastfeed. I had no reason to doubt my ability. It was what nature intended, so why would I think any different?
At 36 weeks I began having contractions. I went to the hospital where I was given medication to stop labour but it was discovered that I had pre-eclampsia. Baby was also breech so it was decided I would need a c-section. I was absolutely heart broken. Baby was measuring very small and I was so scared going in to that theatre. Sophie arrived with a healthy set of lungs. She breathed on her own and weighed in at a small 5lb, 12oz. She was allowed to latch briefly while I was in recovery (thanks to my amazing husband who asked the midwife if she could help me to try) but then she had to be taken away and spend time in the Special Care Nursery. She had a little trouble maintaining her body temperature. Later that evening my husband convinced the nursery staff to bring her to my room for a visit. We finally got the opportunity to have some skin on skin. She was so tiny and she tried hard to latch and suckle but tired out super quickly. In my haze I apparently agreed to let them give her formula overnight to get calories into her. The next morning though the beautiful staff helped me to express colostrum and we syringe fed her. Each time they allowed her to try and latch to get used to it. We spent a week or so letting her try and feed then topping up with my expressed milk. The first night she was allowed to stay in my room with me was a tough one. I was up with her at 2am. She was hungry and screaming. I was so engorged that she just couldn’t latch. I didn’t want to ask for help – I felt like a failure! Eventually I called the midwife in tears. My poor baby was so distressed. I was given nipple shields and then my little girl was able to latch and feed. Such a relief. We had a rough ride for the first three months. Cracked sore nipples, fast letdown that my little one couldn’t handle, over supply. We worked with a private lactation consultant. I had to feed her with her sitting up so she didn’t choke on my fast let down. Eventually we worked it out and my darling girl fed successfully until she was a little over 2 years old and i was 18 weeks pregnant with her brother.
Hamish arrived by a scheduled c-section. He too was breech due to my bicornuate uterus. It was such a different experience. He was immediately able to be placed on my chest and we enjoyed skin on skin. He latched perfectly and fed like a champ from the get go. He never left my side. His journey however has been difficult for other reasons. It became apparent as time went on that something wasn’t right. My usually happy little baby began to spend hours and hours screaming and writhing in pain. We saw our trusted lactation consultant again and it was recommended to try to eliminate all dairy from my diet. We saw immediate changes. Its been a hard road of trial and error. He has tuned one and we are both still dairy free, gluten free, nightshades free and no garlic or onion. Its been hard for me eliminating so much from my diet. But to see my baby happy and healthy and pain free, well its all worth it! I don’t know when he will wean and I don’t want him to 🙂 Luckily he is still happily feeding.
I am so blessed to be able to nourish my children, although our journeys have had their difficulties I am so proud and so lucky to be able to do this for them. I have never encountered negativity towards feeding in public. I proudly feed anywhere I need to. My child’s needs over ride anything else. Anytime, anyplace.
These pictures will be treasured forever.