My first son Noah was born 17 July 2015, he fed straight away & it was a magical bond for the first time then we started to have a lot of problems. In hospital the midwives said that Noah had a shallow latch and as i had very large breasts he was struggling to latch and feed properly. We were given nipple shields to use in the hospital to help his latch which did help for a while had i known better i would have refused the shields, once my milk came in we seemed to be going well. Once home and settled in i tried to get Noah off the shields at around 6 weeks Noah began to get extremely bad reflux and went through breast refusal and hours of screaming. This was awful i didn’t know what to do i felt rejected that he wouldn’t feed, my husband picked me up and said what a great job i was doing and when we got the reflux under control he would feed but not directly off me or with the shields.
So i began exclusively expressing and bottle feeding my breastmilk for 6 weeks, expressing was extremely hard it really tested my patience & emotions. I have never had a supply issue i make tons of milk but at first it was hard to keep up with Noah then i began building and freezing quite a stash. I saw 3 lactation consultants to try get him back onto the breast the first one was unsuccessful, the second i managed to get him back on but only using the shields which was ok however it is very hard in public trying to put on a shield hold a screaming baby so i saw a Board Certified Lactation Consultant who came to me and said Noah had both a tongue and upper lip tie which would need to be released.
I was very unsure but felt it would help our feeding and also prevent further issues at 5 months old and a very upset mummy we got Noahs ties released via laser, it was horrible however i got to feed straight after the procedure and it was amazing he fed perfectly direct from the breast.
A few of my hardest moments were when Noah refused me, i felt rejected and unable to soothe & care for him i felt disconnected and that i was doing something wrong, but with family support i picked myself up and choose to express. Also when i was feeding in public semi covered and a man came up to me and said don’t you think you should do that in private, i was mortified as a new mum scared enough to actually take my child out in public alone but to have someone say something negative about me naturally feeding my baby, when i see more flesh on a Friday night in the city. I didn’t know what to say i quietly took noah off put him in his pram and said “excuse you but i will feed my child whenever and wherever he needs to be fed and nothing is making you stay and look if YOU have an issue YOU can leave. I am a huge advocate for breastfeeding and feeding in public and normalising it. No mother should be made to feel its wrong or inappropriate no mother should be made to feel like she doesn’t want to or can’t feed her baby.
I still have an oversupply and express to give myself some relief, i had quite a stash stored up and have donated to 2 families in need with a total of 10+Litres donated.
I love feeding, however it was a huge struggle physically and emotional it was such a hard journey with the reflux, shields, refusal, expressing, ties ,mixed support and negative comments but we managed to get through it after many tears and perseverance. Im so glad i pushed through & so happy I’ve been able to help other families who can’t feed their babies but weren’t willing to turn to formula as the first choice and choose donated milk. Also for people like Sarah who make a change in normalising feeding in public.
Since Noah’s ties were released he has fed amazingly with no shields and no expressing, we feed whenever & wherever.
Teanna – xo