My son and I had a rough start to our breastfeeding journey. I never could have imagined something so natural could be so incredibly difficult.
After Archers birth we were wheeled back to recovery, welcomed by my family. One of which was my Aunt/Midwife/Doula. She instantly unwrapped him and we did our first skin to skin where he attempted to latch onto my breast. I was too overwhelmed to realise it wasn’t as it should be. Once everyone had gone home it just my husband and I and the green button that would magically summon a midwife! This green button saved my sanity in those first few days. They seemed to be able to flick my nipple in a way I never could. I would try over and over again but I just couldn’t get my son to latch. I expressed a lot on those early days, the constant pumping was so exhausting, just as soon as you’d finished pumping and feeding you had to be connected to that pump again.
I was stubborn though and determined. I was going to give my son my milk, no matter how it needed to be done. My Aunt, who I’m more than lucky to have, is a qualified lactation consultant. She came to check on us after we were discharged to help work out why we were having some troubles with latching. That day we tried just about everything, feeding lines, finger feeding, nipple shields. None of it seemed to help my wee man and I. It was after many failed attempts that my Aunt checked his mouth for ties. She suspected he had both a tongue and lip tie.
We were fortunate enough to get a referral to meet with Dr.Kestenberg. This wonderful man released my sons tongue and lip ties at 3.5 weeks. Although the experience itself was less than pleasant within minutes of his ties being released my son was able to latch onto my breast without any fancy nipple flipping! He just fed. It was the most amazing feeling. We did take a few steps back before we were able to move forward, we were both learning together. Once we had mastered it though there was no stopping us!
We are now moving into our 17th month of breastfeeding. My son has quite an affection for it. Looking back it was so worth fighting for. I love the bond my son and I have developed through breastfeeding, knowing my body is nourishing him is marvellous to me.
I hope that in hearing our stories people will be less quick to judge. Before I was a Mother I never knew where to look when a mother was nursing in public. I think through education and understanding we will help normalise breastfeeding. At least that is my hope.