My breastfeeding journey technically started when my daughter was born, however I feel it began 18 months prior when my son was born sleeping. When I was pregnant with him I knew I wanted to breastfeed because that’s just what seemed normal. But once he passed away I yearned for that feeding bond. I would see feeding mothers and just get this overwhelming urge to want to feed. I would dream about feeding a baby. Something I hadn’t done before but just felt so natural.
A few months down the track I had my daughter, she was 7 weeks early at 33 weeks and this meant spending a few weeks in special care. I was so desperate to feed that it broke my heart I didn’t get to do that immediate post birth feed. In fact I didn’t even see her until 13 hours later. The midwives told me it would take her weeks to develop her sucking reflex and therefore I wouldn’t be able to feed until then. Because she was early I didn’t even have colostrum to feed her so for the first 24 hours she had formula. I started pumping every 2 hours 24 hours a day to help bring my milk in, I would hand express every drop of colostrum to give her.
Day 2 I got to cuddle her and I noticed she was sucking on my shoulder, I mentioned it to the midwife and asked if I could try her on the breast, she didn’t see the harm but told me not to get my hopes up. The midwife also decided to feed her via her NG tube as she sucked so she understood the correlation. At 33.2 weeks old my daughter latched and sucked so hard my uterus went into crazy cramp mode. This was a huge success for us. Because our daughter was so small we were limited to 2 cuddles a day and the midwives agreed to allow me to use 1 of these for breast feeding, although they still tube fed her during this time.
A week down the track she began vomiting and they soon realised that she was getting a full feed from me and didn’t need a top up. Within days this went to 3 full breast feeds a day with no top ups. At about 36 weeks I was doing all day feeds and they were only feeding her through the tube at night. It wasn’t much longer and the tube came out and she would take the bottle overnight and breast through the day. All suck feeds. This was incredible because they kept telling me it wouldn’t happen so quickly. Then came time to room in, at 5 weeks old I was about to experience my first 24 hours of full feeding. It was hard; but so worth it.
I am now 7 months in and still breast feeding every 3-4 hours 24 hours a day. I love it. I don’t even have a time when I’d like to stop or wean her. Despite every pinch or kick I get, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am so proud to be able to breast feed and even more proud when people ask me if I am still feeding and see their face light up when I say ‘Yes, Yes I am!’