Breastfeeding is something my baby and I had to learn
This photo is of me and my five day old baby girl in 2017. I had planned to breastfeed but aside from the two hour class as part of my antenatal course I hadn’t really done much reading or preparation. Like many women I thought I’d learn when my baby was here.
But boy do I wish I’d been more prepared for the journey that was ahead!
Between 4-11% of babies are born with tongue tie. My little girl was. They noted this in her labour notes but no one talked to me about it. I hadn’t heard of it so I had no idea what to look for. I was told the problem I was having was me. I was also incredibly stressed and felt so much pressure to feed her whilst I was on the postnatal ward - I was desperate to get home and learn to breastfeed there.
I managed to convince the midwife and infant feeding supporter that I had the information I needed to be allowed to be discharged the following night so I could be in my own bed the second night.
But I went back to get support on day three and they did check my baby’s tongue tie. I was told by the surgeon it was only ‘slight’ and ‘shouldn’t affect breastfeeding’ but by then it clearly was!
I stuck to the aggressive pumping schedule militantly desperate to protect my milk supply. Alarms went off every 1.5 hours so I could express milk before a feed. This went on 24 hours a day with cluster pumping between 5-8 each night. My husband made sure I did lots of skin-to-skin. But I was so anxious and found it upsetting to hold my baby as she wanted to breastfeed and I felt I was frustrating her if I held her.
I had breastfeeding supporters check my latch and positioning and whilst my baby could latch she would soon slip off. So I’d be completing the feeds with expressed breastmilk or formula when I wasn’t on top of demand.
With the support of my amazing health visitor and my husband I got an appointment to have the tongue tie snipped when my baby was six weeks old. She latched that night and it was the best parenting decision we ever made!
Of course my baby and I still had to learn to breastfeed and it took time. But I always felt proud that I’ve stuck at it as it was so important to me. If it wasn’t then I’d have found it natural to switch to formula earlier on. I made the right choice for me and that’s what matters. I continued to breastfeed my daughter until she self weaned a little over two years old.
I recognise that same drive and determination in some of the expectant mums that I teach. That’s why this summer I increased my qualifications to breastfeeding supporter level with The Mindful Breastfeeding School. I am so looking forward to supporting other women who may find themselves in a similar position to where I was and would have loved that extra support.
I also make sure that the couples I teach antenatal to have realistic expectations and have the information they need to get off to a good start with their breastfeeding journey.
If you would like my support with your breastfeeding journey do email me and we can have a chat: firstname.lastname@example.org