As Parents There Is Nothing More Powerful Than The Stories We Share..
Welcome back to the #BreastfeedingStories guest post series, an opportunity to bring together stories from other mums who have breastfeeding experiences that they would like to share.
This weeks guest post features Kat from Candyfloss & Dreams who shares her experience of not getting the right support and why that led from exclusive breastfeeding, to combined feeding and eventually formula feeding.
I really wanted to share my breastfeeding story even though my daughter is now six. I am convinced that because I tried, and I was able to breastfeed for around twelve weeks that is the reason she is hardly ever poorly. I’d like to think that was true anyway. Either way I am really proud of myself for doing it for those first few weeks and started that bond with my daughter. Despite our experience I would be sure to breastfeed again, whenever I do decide to have another baby.
My pregnancy went relatively well to be honest, it was pretty stress free, no major issues and I discussed breastfeeding with my midwife. I really wanted to try and I knew all the benefits. Plus, you know, breastmilk is free and I was 21, a university drop out and no job…I wasn’t exactly rolling in money so it just made sense to me really. My baby would get a great start to life, we would bond really well and wouldn’t be spending a small fortune every week on formula milk. That’s the thing when you’re pregnant, especially with your first, you just dream about all these wonderful experiences you’re going to have with your baby.
I was planning a home birth for my daughter however I went the full two weeks over and ended up being induced. The induction lead to an epidural and then it all just went wrong and before I really knew what was going on – delirious from lack of sleep and the drugs – I was having an unplanned caesarean section. I couldn’t get my skin to skin until I was in recovery however what was fantastic was my daughter went straight to the breast, latched well with help from the midwives and fed for a solid twenty five minutes. I remember thinking that I could do this.
We were in hospital for quite a few days and I coped well with the feeding however due to recovering from the section and having absolutely massive boobs I could only really feed in the rugby ball position which meant everytime I fed I needed about six pillows stacked up all around me for back support, arm support, baby support – everything. I was like a pillow fort.
In hospital everything was fine, I kept asking for advice on the latch and positioning but mostly I was just left to it. I came home after spending four nights there and the first night was pretty okay really. It was probably after about three days I started to crash from lack of sleep, needing to rest from the section and just generally feeling exhausted but I persevered. My health visitor came and I asked again for advice but what I should have done was ask where I could go for regular breastfeeding support. I should have started reading blogs whilst I was in my pillow fort and a baby attached to me to know that I wasn’t alone, to know how often babies fed when at the breast but I didn’t know. I was naïve and I didn’t ask. I should have done. Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing?
After two weeks I had another visit as my daughter had lost a good chunk of her birth weight so they wanted to make sure she was gaining weight. This time it was from a nursery nurse rather than my regular health visitor and all she gave me was abuse. She told me I was clearly neglecting my baby as she still wasn’t gaining weight. She said I wasn’t trying enough. She basically made me feel like the worst person in the whole world despite having the cracked nipples and matchsticks holding my eyes open. I was not prepared for such a horrible person to come into my life and tell me I wasn’t good enough for my daughter. I felt like a complete failure and after her pressuring me I quickly said I would start combination feeding with formula to help her put on weight. At first I decided to feed as much as I could and top up with two formula feeds a day, one in the afternoon and one in the early hours of the morning. My daughters father took care of this feed so I could start getting some sleep at night. It made sense as he was always up so late and I was always up at the crack of dawn. I started feeling better in myself and less exhausted, and I was still feeding her as much as I could.
However, because of this I quickly started losing my supply and the formula feeds were increasing. I carried on until I literally couldn’t anymore as I was practically all dried up and we made the switch over to formula for good.
Despite the pressure from the nurse that visited I am so glad I tried and now I know a lot better. Now I know there are special support groups for parents and breastfeeding mums, I will look into better positions for mums that are top heavy and I will strive to exclusively breastfeed for a minimum of six mums. I guess it’s true when they say you get older and wiser. I think you also feel more confident in your own abilities and there is no way now I will ever let anyone make me feel like I’m a failed parent.
If you’ve got a breastfeeding story you would like to share as part of the series please get in touch with me at email@example.com or on Twitter. I’d love to help you share your#BreastfeedingStories.