When my bub was born 36 weeks ago, something I never expected happened...
She wouldn't latch. I had naively thought that breastfeeding would be the most easiest thing to do in the world, but I was wrong. My beautiful new baby just wanted to sleep all the time.
Still in the hospital with sleepy new born bub
So the nurses in the hospital taught me to hand express colustrum and my partner sat there holding the syringe while I painstakingly squeezed one single drop in at a time. Then he'd feed it to her while I sat there and cried. Scared that my baby was starving.
We had to stay in the hospital for about four days while I went to breastfeeding classes. They suggested skin to skin and all my precious angel would do is sleep on my chest. I had to leave because I didn't want to cry in front of all the other mothers with their babies successfully latched onto their breasts.
I started pumping when my milk came in and we would wake her every three hours as instructed to give her my expressed breastmilk from the bottle.
Then on the third day the lactation consultant came to visit me and she gave me a shield. I had nearly brought one whilst pregnant, however I thought they were just for when you were in pain. I didn't know they could aid with attachment.
And my baby latched. I was so unbelievably happy. We were finally able to go home. I could feed my precious baby.
Long, sleepless nights lay ahead. The shield would fill with air bubbles. I tried different brands and different sizes but it didn't make a difference. The only thing that would ease her wind pain was Infacol.
During this period she would constantly be attached to my breast 24/7. I started to doubt myself. Was I not making enough milk? Was my milk not substantial enough to fill her up? Does she have colic? During those long, sleepless nights I stumbled across some articles that had a lot to do with my breastfeeding success. If I hadn't read them, I may have thought it was a good idea to supplement with formula which I now know would have affected my supply. Reading up on cluster feeding and reliable signs my baby WAS getting enough milk really helped me!
Keeping her attached to the breast also helped me avoid ever having to suffer mastitis. As my breasts were always getting drained thoroughly. Which is very important especially when your milk first comes in and they become engorged.
My mother came to visit when she was around two months old and encouraged me to start feeding her without the shield. I found it quite stressful at first but then eventually after trying a dozen times, she latched on!
We practised a lot after that and a midwife who came to visit helped me with positioning her correctly.
It had made going out anywhere quite stressful. If I forgot my shield, I wouldn't be able to feed my baby. Would she last the car trip? Would we be able to get any shopping done or would she need to feed the whole time?
Our exclusively breastfed bub at 6 months
Now all these months later, she burps like a champion! And feeding is easy and fast. No more fiddling around and constantly cleaning shields. No more staying up all night long trying to help her bring up wind. I lift her up and she produces gorgeous, big loud burps all on her own. We can go on outings with no problems and she sleeps longer too.
We can breastfeed easy sitting up now too!
I know it's hard but I believe in you, mama! You can do it.
It's best to seek help as early as possible and it's important to have a supportive network of people around you too. Also, be sure to educate yourself on common misconceptions and check out the Australian breastfeeding association website for more helpful advice.