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Breastfeeding stories

Patience, Persistence and Pure Love

It has taken me quite some time to find the right words to share my breastfeeding story. At one point in time I honestly believed my journey was over even before it began. My husband and I struggled for years with unexplained infertility. We had every test under the sun, changed our diets, took supplements and saw a naturopath but still no luck. I can’t even put in into words the heartache and constant mixed emotions I felt as other women around me announced their pregnancies. It was also difficult for them as they would have to find the words to tell me.
Eventually we decided to try fertility treatment and after a few unsuccessful rounds of IVF, we were one of the lucky ones- finally pregnant! Immediately I knew I was going to breastfeed. After conception being so clinical with injections, tests and countless examinations, I was determined to do the most natural thing on Earth.
My pregnancy was an absolute breeze. I was very blessed to stay active right through it and have a straight forward delivery. Shortly after our daughter Emma Jayne was born, we were settled on the ward and a midwife popped by. She was quick to comment “Hmm, you’re going to struggle to breastfeed with those nipples, their shape will make it difficult for her to latch and the way they point outwards won’t help” I didn’t reply, as I didn’t know what to say but in my head i thought…. we’ll see. The next morning a new midwife popped in and also expressed her opinion. She read my chart and said “Polycystic ovaries?”
“No” i replied,
“What was the IVF for” she asked
“No idea” I responded, “it just wouldn’t happen”
“Well all the medication from the injections will affect your milk supply and your thyroid problem won’t help either”
So once again I took it on the chin and brushed it off. After a week, little Emma had lost weight and her nappies weren’t very full. Her jaundice wasn’t clearing and she was quite unsettled. The poor poppet was hungry. I tried everything to increase my supply but it got to the point that formula seemed to be our only option. I wasn’t aware of donor milk and in that new Mum fog we went with formula top ups. I was so upset, I balled my eyes out every time I gave her the bottle and she would happily gulp it down. I felt like such a failure and that I was disappointing my Mum. At one point she even gave me permission to stop, reassuring me that she was pleased I had a real go at it and understood it was all a bit much. My mum and two sisters had all breasted successfully, with enough milk to feed a village and here I was resorting to formula. I kept offering breast first and would top up with formula every second feed. At 6 weeks she was thriving, but I kept getting questions and comments like “why are you doing both?” “just put her on the bottle it’s easier” “she doesn’t need breastmilk if she’s got formula”… again, I took it on the chin and stuck with it.
I stuck with it at family gatherings, sitting in the middle of a river at camping, during bridesmaid duties at a wedding, throughout my return to work, at football matches, in those precious moments at home and many many more places.
Shortly, Emma and I will reach 2 years of breastfeeding. 2 years of nourishment, 2 years of comfort and 2 years of the most uniquely special bond shared between mother and child. I am in absolute awe of our achievement and so very grateful to have experienced this magical connection to my body, my daughter and nature. It is truly amazing what we can do.
I don’t know what the future holds for me as a mother. I don’t when the right time will be to stop and I don’t know if this will be the only chance I have to breastfeed. So for now I am taking in every precious boobie cuddle, smiling through all the happy tears and appreciating the endless support my husband and family have given me throughout my breastfeeding rollercoaster ride.

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