My Breastfeeding Story: Breastfeeding Perseverance and Lactation Support
The next in our series of real mums’ stories and accounts of breastfeeding…
Kim reflects on the challenges she faced in the first week with her newborn and the importance of asking for lactation support, which made all the difference to her breastfeeding journey.
I had always thought I'd breastfeed my baby but I never knew how hard the first week with my newborn would be.
After I gave birth to my little boy, he latched on straight away. It was an amazing moment; the best feeling in the world. Things started to take a down turn when I was left alone in the ward, he wanted to feed every 30 minutes and I struggled getting him to latch on. I was tired, I just wanted to put him down to self-settle as I thought he couldn’t possibly still be hungry.
I started to become increasingly concerned that I didn’t have any milk coming through, I thought I was starving him.
I was too embarrassed to ask for help, I was scared I would look like a bad mum as I couldn't feed him so I carried on trying through the night. By morning, my nipples were sore and bleeding but I continued to feed him when he showed signs that he was hungry. When my partner came to visit me that day, I begged him to go and get formula- I told him I couldn't do this. Thankfully, he was very supportive and tried to calm me down by being positive about the situation.
At about 12pm, my baby stopped showing signs that he was hungry and then did not feed for a whole 6 hours. I called for a midwife as I became increasingly worried, they showed me how to hand express with a manual breast pump, which was completely new to me. I found it hard at first but it became easier.
We gave him my expressed milk but unfortunately, he was sick. They told me if he wasn’t fed in the next 2 hours, we would have to look at formula/bottle feeding. I felt like I'd let everyone down and this would be the end of my breastfeeding journey.
Thankfully I did manage to breastfeed my little boy again, it was very painful and I cried throughout but I still didn’t feel confident enough to ask for help. After this, he continued to feed every hour but it was still so painful.
“I’m glad I carried on and didn’t give up, but most importantly, I’m glad I asked for help. It’s hard but it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”
By the time we were ready to go home, I had spent 2 days in hospital and I was so scared. What if he didn’t feed? What if he wasn’t getting any milk? Even if I could bring myself to ask for help, I had no midwife to support me.
My baby continued to feed every hour and I cried through every feed, it was just so painful I didn’t know how I was going to cope.
I realised I needed extra support as this could continue so I finally asked for help from my local breastfeeding team. They came out and spent time with me, helping me to get a correct latch and showed me different positions to hold my little one when feeding, this was amazing and most of the pain stopped with their tips and advice. I was so happy, I should have asked for help sooner!
It took a few days for my nipples to heal and then when feeding, I didn't feel any pain – success! I was doing it and I was so happy.
Now I'm 4 weeks in and I feel like my little boy and I have both learnt how to breastfeed. I’m glad I carried on and didn’t give up, but most importantly, I’m glad I asked for help. It’s hard but it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
Thank you to mum, Kim, for sharing her breastfeeding experience. If you would like to share your breastfeeding story please email, firstname.lastname@example.org