Maddie has been breastfeeding her son for over 12 months and loves the time they share and the special bond that breastfeeding brings them. Initially she wasn't sure if she could persist through her early challenges. However as you will read, with good support from family and consultation with an IBCLC she managed to overcome her difficulties and is still breastfeeding her one year old and loving it. We hope you enjoy our second story.
Like many new mothers, the beginning of my breastfeeding journey was far from easy. It was challenging, unrelenting and extremely overwhelming in those early weeks and months. My son was born with a lip and tongue tie and we were not able to get a good latch from the moment he was born. This lead to nipple pain and damage within a matter of hours. A nipple shield was introduced before I left the hospital, however this seemed to worsen the pain and so I abandoned the shield and went home with the plan to cup feed my son, until I healed enough to try again at the breast. I will never forget my first night home from hospital. I was sore and swollen from my stitches, my baby could not attach without causing me excruciating pain and I was incredibly engorged all the way up to my underarms. I started to panic, I felt like a failure and I was so worried that I was starving my baby. Thankfully, Jess was able to come to my home that evening to help me with the engorgement and to make a feeding plan to get me through the night. I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without her that night, she lifted my confidence and reassured me that I will get through these challenges. So, for the first week of my son’s life we were finger, syringe and cup feeding him milk to allow my nipples to heal, as well as using a nipple shield for some feeds if I was feeling confident. At one week of age, my son had his tongue and lip ties snipped and we started seeing an osteopath to help with his neck and jaw stiffness. It wasn’t an instant fix but his latch did begin to improve and I was able to try a few feeds at the breast without using the shield. At around 3 weeks of age, I was feeding my son fully without the shield, however this is also around the time he started to have some tummy issues. He would grunt and groan for most of the night and I started to have painful feeds again and issues with vasospasm. I was so determined to breastfeed my son, but I was starting to feel more and more stressed and confused about the issues we were having. With some further advice from an LC to commence block feeding for oversupply, some minor correcting of his latch, as well as daily reassurance from my sister that it will get easier, I persisted and slowly but surely I started to have more good feeds than bad and then all of a sudden breastfeeding just became easy. The only other little hiccup we had along the way was some breast refusal at 4 months due to a very distracted baby, which lead to a drop in my supply. However, with a little perseverance, some very interesting techniques to keep him on the boob and a bit of pumping, we made it through.
Now here we are, 12 and a half months on and we are still going strong. His favourite words are ‘booby’ and ‘milky’ and he laughs hysterically and crawls at top speed towards me, every time I say them. I think back to those first few months and they really were just a tiny blip in what has been a beautiful 12 months. I am still in awe that for days, weeks and many, many midnight hours my body has nourished a tiny human. There is nothing else quite like having your baby in your arms, listening to them gulp down that sweet milk, with their soft little hands cuddling into you. Time really does stand still in those moments and I will continue to soak up every precious minute of it.