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Breastfeeding stories

Pumping Mama: Ussha and Xavier’s Story

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My bub was 9 months old when we participated in the Australian Breastfeeding Project at Dawes Point in Sydney. It was always my plan to breastfeed. However, life never follows a plan. Bub was born via forceps delivery leaving him with facial nerve palsy. When he was 4 days old my still milk hadn’t come in and our midwife diagnosed him with feeding problems (lip tie, tongue tie and poor sucking). She recommended we hire a breast pump and in the mean time she helped me to hand express and showed my husband and I how to spoon feed the milk to bub until the pump arrived and we could buy some bottles. We hired a hospital grade pump and it arrived the same day. Our midwife came again in the evening and showed me how to use the pump. My supply was low and I didn’t have enough milk to feed my baby. My nephew had been born the week previously and my sister-in-law expressed milk to supplement feed my bub (more than 20 litres over 5 months). Initially I was pumping every two hours during the day and every three at night. When I was so exhausted I could barely function I swapped to pumping every three hours around the clock. Initially, I only planned to express until his latch improved and he could feed directly from my breast. We had his tongue and lip tie released when he was only a week old. I worked with my midwife, our chiropractor and then a speech pathologist to improve his latch and encourage nutritive sucking. I would breastfeed then express, while hubby would bottle-feed him expressed milk (even at 3am when he had to work the next day). When his tie was first released he had no control over his tongue and we had exercises from the speech pathologist that we did each time he was fed both at the bottle and breast. We both worked very hard and he was slowly getting the hang of breastfeeding but he still wasn’t able to get all the milk out so I continued to express. At six weeks he started to refuse the breast, screaming when I tried to get him to latch. It was struggle from this point on. One day when he was about 2.5 months old, he screamed the house down when I was trying to get him to latch; it took me 10 minutes to stop the screaming. It was heart wrenching and that’s when I gave up breastfeeding. I have been exclusively expressing ever since.

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