My breastfeeding story begins with my independent midwife saying to me ‘have you started learning about breastfeeding’ and with me responding ‘I thought it just happened naturally’. After kindly and gently letting me know that ‘it doesn’t just happen naturally’, my wonderful midwife lent me countless DVDs to learn from. I also joined the ABA and read their book cover-to-cover.
I was separated from my baby for 10 hours before our breastfeeding journey began. During this time, I expressed colostrum for her as I recovered from the anaesthetic. As soon as she was in my arms, I put her on the breast and she drank with gusto. I didn’t have anyone there to show me how to latch her correctly. I just put her on the breast and hoped for the best.
Thankfully she latched on easily. I was concerned that she was not taking in enough of the areola, but after a few days in hospital, the head midwife told me that her latch was fine. She was a tiny 2.872kg and my breasts were enormous, so she couldn’t physically get much of the areola in her mouth (she also had a tongue tie and that is another story again). There were numerous midwives looking after me and they all showed me different ways of latching her to the breast. I found it quite confusing being shown so many different ways to breastfeed. It wasn’t until the senior midwife had looked at my latch that I was able to relax and trust myself and my baby. My right nipple was a little sore in the beginning, but Hydrogel Breast Discs worked wonders for me.
I needed to express extra milk for bubby in the beginning because her stools were the wrong colour and she needed to put on weight a little more rapidly. I remember sitting on my couch hand expressing and breastfeeding all day for a couple of weeks. My midwife was impressed by my dedication! We chose to give our baby girl the expressed milk from the side of a sterilised bottle (she drank from it like it was a cup), because we did not want to risk her rejecting the breast. My independent midwife taught us this trick.
We love breastfeeding and we are still going strong after 24 months. I am married to a chiropractor, so my daughter has not had any of the challenges that many caesarian babies have (e.g. problems with feeding equally on both sides, reflux and colic). She is healthy, happy and very petite (still). She has been a really easy baby and everyone keeps telling me ‘wait until you have the next one’. Hopefully the next one will be easy too…I’ll keep you posted.
First appeared in ‘Birthings – A home birth access Sydney quarterly publication‘, Autumn 2014, Issue 121.