My breastfeeding journey started on the 11th of June 2012 when i gave birth to our first son Fletcher Jon at 31+6 weeks gestation for no apparent reason. It was a bumpy start to say the least. I had an emergency c-section due to Fletcher being frank breech (bum first), me being 8cm dilted on arrival and due to him being so premature he was whisked away to special care. Our sweet boy weighed in at 5lb 1oz, I only got to see him for two seconds and then had to wait 14 hours until i saw him again. He was given formula straight away until the next day when the midwives came and started to milk me like a cow.
Fast forward three days and my milk finally came in! I was ecstatic. This was the start of my almost two month long stint of pumping. I pumped through the pain of cracked and bleeding nipples, fed my little miracle beautiful yellow milk through a nasal gastric tube every three hours starting at just 2ml at a time!!! I had quite an oversupply as you could imagine considering Fletcher was only having tiny feeds. We tried to get Fletcher to latch before each tube feed without any success (apart from licking from my letdown) for almost a whole month and I could see on the faces of the midwives that they didn’t think we would make it. We were almost ready for home – all we needed was for Fletcher to be feeding! That is when we decided to express and bottle feed. Two days later we were home, exactly one month after Fletcher was born!
For two more weeks i expressed and bottle fed but this wasn’t the way i had planned on feeding my baby! I did some research and decided to give nipple shields a try – straight up success!! We continued on with the shields until Fletcher was 5 months old and then one day in the bath he just latched on to my breast all by himself without a shield! I could have cried.
I continued to feed Fletcher on demand until he was 22 months old and i was 9 weeks pregnant with his baby brother. I was left feeling very sore and touched out so I explained that this was his last feed and that was that! He only asked once after that and that was about 3 months later when he had a viral infection but then wouldn’t latch.
Fast forward again to 2014.. at 33+3 weeks I went into labour early again only this time we knew all of the signs and so labour was stopped. I was kept in hospital for two nights to be given a full course of steroids and after that was sent home with a maternal expressing kit being told to express colostrum because they expected to see me back to have the baby within a week. At 39+3 weeks my beautiful FULL TERM baby boy Sullivan Luke was born.. all 9lb 5oz of him!!! It was a beautiful healing water birth but he didn’t feed straight away. He needed lots of encouragement to latch but when he did he didn’t let go for an hour. He has a minor lip tie that was never released which caused lots of clicking and a dicky latch but we battled through and now almost 15 months later we are still going strong! We aren’t planning on having any more babies anytime soon so I’m hoping Sullivan will self wean when he is ready.
Breastfeeding is something that I am so passionate about and that is why I am so proud to have been a part of The Australian Breastfeeding Project, Thanks again Sarah for organising everything and for the lovely photos. They are images that will be truly treasured by me forever.
Thanks for reading my story xx