Browse Tag by breastfeeding
Motherhood

Why don’t women breastfeed?

This is a question I asked myself when I was pregnant. I didn’t understand why the midwife felt the need to explain all the benefits of breastfeeding. Of course I was going to breastfeed! Who doesn’t breastfeed? I’m ashamed to admit that before I became a mum I thought most women who didn’t breastfeed didn’t put their babies needs first. Now I know better. Since I shared my story of my breastfeeding failure I have heard plenty of stories from mums giving up breastfeeding. So in a world where we are constantly told ‘breast is best’ the question is why don’t women breastfeed?

Baby doesn’t latch properly

If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know that I gave up breastfeeding at 12 weeks. Who knows if my baby ever latched properly. At the beginning it poured out of me so he just had to swallow but when my milk levels adjusted he had to work for it but he just couldn’t. He had a tongue tie which a pediatric surgeon cut at 10 weeks but by then he was used to bottle feeding so couldn’t re-learn. Some women have flat or inverted nipples and sometimes there isn’t a reason, babies just don’t learn to latch and there’s nothing mums can do about it.

Depression

Having a baby feed from you every 3 hours for 30 – 45 minutes a day is seriously draining. It’s a huge adjustment, your freedom is completely stripped from you. Some babies cluster feed so it feels like every 45 minutes they’re trying to latch. Trying to look after a baby with post natal depression and sleep deprivation while breastfeeding is a really tough gig. Hats off to anyone able to cope with all three.

Milk Supply

Some women simply don’t produce enough milk to feed their baby and some women don’t produce milk at all. Sometimes the mum has plenty of milk at the beginning but the babies aren’t latching properly and the mum has no idea until weeks later when the milk supply has reduced or dried up.

Victim of Abuse

It’s a common saying that when women are abused the mind can forget but the body remembers. Some women just can’t handle anyone going there, even a little bub.

Mastitis

It was a big reality check when I got mastitis and realised that I couldn’t take a sick day because this beautiful little human being needed me. I had a moment where I realised I would never truly be alone again which is both lovely and terrifying. Imagine the worst flu in the world with a really, really sore lumpy breast and all you want to do is sleep but you can’t unless your baby sleeps but then again, it’s a baby. I only got it once but some women end up in hospital and I even know someone who got it five times.

Reflux

Some babies just can’t keep the milk down in their little tummies. Some mums have to express and add thickener but expressing while looking after a baby is really hard work.

Work

Some mum’s have to go back to work after having a baby. Legally employers are required to give pumping breaks but the pressure to prove that becoming a mother has not hindered your ability to work can be hard. If you miss pumping sessions your supply goes down then you need even more sessions to try and build it back up.

Lack of Support

Support and encouragement from those around you is vital. A mum might just need company while she feeds or someone to help with a demanding toddler. If you are a new mum struggling with breastfeeding then reach out to the hospital you delivered at and ask for help.

 

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Motherhood

My breastfeeding Fail

I have so many emotions running through me while writing about my breastfeeding fail. I feel rejected by my son, angry at the hospital, stupid for not doing something sooner, guilty for trying to force it on my baby for so long, sad that I’m missing out on that part of the motherhood journey but most of all, I feel relieved that I can now happily feed my baby while he looks lovingly into my eyes.

If you aren’t up to date I wrote a previous post about how breastfeeding was a bitch which you can read here.

I went to the child health nurse at our 6-8 week appointment and as soon as she asked how everything was going I burst into tears. I said he was a fussy feeder and I was having to top up his feeds with expressed milk which was fine but the breastfeeding was getting shorter and shorter and I was feeding with bottles more and more. I suspected that the milk flow had slowed so it wasn’t just pouring into his mouth through the nipple shields. During that appointment I was able to get him to feed for 25 minutes without crying but I was standing up and rocking him at the same time so not ideal. I knew he hadn’t emptied the boob but he started to reject it, I tried to swap him over to the other side but he started to scream. It was suggested that he wasn’t hungry and I was told that babies at 6-8 weeks are in their peak crying time. I was told he was a healthy weight, he had enough wet diapers a day and that feeding for 25 minutes was probably enough for him. I asked to see a lactation consultant anyway so was told someone would call me. I left feeling good that someone would at least call. I got home and my little angel continued to cry. I knew something was wrong, this was not like him to cry for no reason so I offered him expressed milk and he drank 170ml! There’s no way he should have drunk that much after feeding for 25 minutes only 20 minutes before. I knew we had issues.

I went and met with the lactation consultant over a week later. I was told that I was anxious and needed to calm myself before feeding. I was even told to try feeding while rocking on a fit ball or in a nice warm bath – I find it hard to get in and out of a bath on my own let alone with a little baby so I thought this was a little ridiculous. They weighed him and I was told he drank 35ml in 15 minutes which was fine but after that he wouldn’t feed anymore. Again it was suggested that maybe he wasn’t hungry. I asked about a possible tongue tie and was told she wasn’t sure but he had a few signs so it was worth getting a referral to a pediatric surgeon.

I was convinced he did have a tongue tie, I left that appointment both relieved because there seemed to be a solution to the problem and furious because I asked the pediatrician on the day I left the hospital if my baby had a tongue tie. I even asked him if he was sure because a midwife told me he had one. Here I was, almost 9 weeks later stressed because he didn’t do his job properly.

I had to go to my GP to get a referral which took another couple of days. He told me that some babies just don’t breastfeed but wrote the referral anyway. By this stage I was only bottle feeding because the baby would cry every time I even flashed him a boob. I rang to make the appointment with the pediatric surgeon and was told that she only worked on Fridays and was booked out the following week so finally at almost 11 weeks it was confirmed he had a tongue tie. I’m so glad my husband was there when it was cut because I was crying just listening, I couldn’t watch. I was told the baby would need to learn how to latch again.

That night I could tell he was in pain. My poor darling cried and cried and was so upset like he had been really hurt. I felt like the worst mum in the world. I tried to breastfeed the next day but he still screamed. I thought maybe it was too soon so waited another day and he managed to feed with the nipple shield but it was exactly the same as before. I could tell he wasn’t latching properly and was swallowing so much air from crying he developed a wind problem.

At 12 weeks I decided to give up. Every time I went to try and feed him I had a rush of anxiety which made him even more upset and it was obvious that at this late stage he was used to the bottle and couldn’t latch properly. What was the point of forcing him to feed from my boob when he clearly didn’t want to. I was doing it for me not for him, so I wouldn’t be inconvenienced by washing, steralising bottles and pumping. He was still getting breast milk, just delivered in a different way.

I think back to the beginning now and where it all went wrong. In hospital when he latched on it hurt, like really, really hurt but I was told it was normal to hurt at first. A midwife in hospital even suspected a tongue tie. When a different midwife came to visit me at home and gave me a nipple shield she watched him feed and even said – ‘don’t be lazy’ and pushed his head so his mouth covered more of the nipple shield – I don’t think he was latching then.

Breastfeeding fail

I have so many regrets. I wish I had asked for a second opinion on the tongue tie in the hospital. I wish that I had ignored the bitchy midwife and insisted on a lactation consultant. I wish that the hospital had never given me nipple shields which masked the issue! I wish I’d called the Australian Breastfeeding Association at 4 weeks when I was worried about nipple shields and I wish I had gone to the hospital breastfeeding clinic instead of waiting for the lactation consultant to call me.

As it stands I’m now bottle feeding expressed breast milk with a top up of formula at night if needed. There are some things I’m proud of though. I’m proud that I expressed from the beginning so my milk supply didn’t go down. I’m proud that I topped up his bottle feeds when I knew he was still hungry so his health wasn’t affected. I’m proud that I persisted to find out what the feeding issue was instead of accepting that 6-8 week olds cry. I’m proud that I’m persisting with expressing breast milk even though it’s double the work. I’m trying to commit to 6 months and then will see how I go after that.

Hospitals really shouldn’t discharge women until their milk has come in and they are confident with breastfeeding. My husband and I said so many times in the hospital I was worried about breastfeeding but brochures were shoved in my face and I was shoved out the door. Whilst there are a lot of services out there, as a new mum you don’t want to be a burden on the system and waste their time. If I had any advice for new mums that are concerned with breastfeeding – make the call to your hospital breastfeeding clinic or child health nurse as soon as you’re concerned, don’t wait like I did.

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Motherhood

Breastfeeding is a bitch

God Breastfeeding is a bitch.

I have to admit I was really naive when I went along to the midwife appointments when I was pregnant. I actually scoffed at the question whether I would be breastfeeding. Of course I would be breastfeeding, why wouldn’t someone breastfeed? The midwives still went through the obligatory list advising me of all the benefits of breastfeeding. I’m glad they did because if they hadn’t drilled it home how important it is then I would have given up by now.

In the hospital the midwives were great, they helped me get the baby attached. By that I mean they grabbed my boob and just started feeding the nipple into his mouth until eventually he stayed there sucking. One of them got so excited she took a photo, with my phone not hers. I wasn’t completely confident before I left but the last midwife was mean when I asked if I could see a lactation consultant and I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time so I thought I would just figure it out on my own.

Breastfeeding is a bitch

I was able to breastfeed for the next couple of days at home but then engorgement set in and he wouldn’t attach. I was in agony with big swollen breasts and flat nipples. A helpful visiting midwife suggested expressing to reduce the engorgement and use nipple shields until it was over so the baby could attach again. I was told engorgement would last 24 – 48 hours so I thought that I could easily handle that. Unfortunately what I didn’t realise is that by expressing the breasts until they were empty I was prolonging engorgement so it wasn’t until the child health nurse saw me 4 days later that I stopped that and the agony went away.

By then the baby was well and truly used to the nipple shields so I had to start trying to wean him off the shields. My nipples also still hurt from when I was feeding without the shields so I kept them until the pain went away. The pain eventually did but by then I was tired so when the baby refused the nipple I just gave in and kept thinking I’ll start the weaning tomorrow.

Tomorrow came and I kept trying to attach him but he was refusing and crying over and over again. Finally I worked out from google that he had oral thrush. The child health nurse confirmed it. I then realised I had thrush on my nipples which explained the stinging pains, the itchiness and the white spot on my right nip. The treatment is an oral gel that I put on my nipple that he is meant to get from feeding. I got him attached for the first time in 4 weeks and had a praise Jesus moment, I even had tears of joy then he pulled off, made a strange face like he sucked a lemon then screamed louder than he had ever screamed before.

I decided that nipple shields aren’t that bad and we would just have to keep using them but my let down was so fast the milk was pouring into his mouth causing him to cough and splutter. He must have gulped a lot of air because then he developed a wind problem which resulted in a week without a poo. I then decided to try expressing and bottle feeding for a while until the wind issue improved. Hours of steralising equipment, pumping milk, winding baby and medicating with infacol ensued. Finally a friend suggested trying fennel tea. I gave the baby 2 ml then the next day he had the biggest poo explosion I’ve ever seen (luckily the only one I’ve ever seen) and then the wind disappeared.

So here I am at 5 weeks, we both still have thrush, I’m using nipple shields and he’s a greedy gulper. I know I shouldn’t be complaining because I’m very lucky to even be able to breastfeed at all but god breastfeeding is a bitch.

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