My Breastfeeding Story: Bonds, Support and Breastfeeding Milk Supply
New Mum, Lisa, shares her journey of breastfeeding her little one, including the ups and downs with her breastfeeding milk supply.
My little boy is now 5 months old and he is exclusively breastfed. After many ups and downs, we are both now enjoying breastfeeding and all the cuddles that breastfeeding brings. The bond that has developed as a result is such a special feeling that words cannot describe and it is definitely the best thing about breastfeeding. At the start though, things were not plain sailing and there were many times in the first few weeks where I felt I would be unable to breastfeed. Luckily, with a good support network from family, midwives and breastfeeding specialists, I took it feed by feed and gradually everything started improving, and I reached the stage where breastfeeding became an enjoyable experience.
I had planned to breastfeed before I had my little boy, especially after learning about all of the benefits of breastfeeding for both of us. I had been to antenatal and breastfeeding classes so I could be as prepared as possible. I had built my hopes on being able to breastfeed.
Unfortunately, our breastfeeding journey did not get off to the best of starts. After a difficult birth, I struggled with milk production, we experienced latching issues and mild jaundice. Consequently, my little one lost a lot of weight. On top of this, I felt completely unprepared for the hours of feeding, I was exhausted from the lack of sleep and I was struggling with a slow recovery after the birth.
As a result of the weight loss, I had to start expressing from day 5 to try and increase my milk supply. I was breastfeeding every 2 hours round the clock, then expressing after each feed and giving top ups with a bottle. I had not planned to start expressing this early and tried to express using a hand pump, which I had brought ‘just in case’. I found the hand pump ineffective and painful to use and thankfully I was given a Medela Swing Electric Pump to use from our local breastfeeding service.
The Medela pump was easy to use and comfortable and made the frequency that I had to express bearable. I was so impressed with the pump that I quickly invested in my own.
At the same time, I was also disheartened that we had to start giving formula top ups as well, as I was not producing enough milk. At this point I felt like I had failed to feed my baby and I thought that this would be the end of our breastfeeding journey. My partner encouraged me to continue and within 48 hours, I was expressing enough milk and we could stop giving formula completely.
At about 10 days old, my little one started to turn a corner, he started putting on weight and slowly stopped taking his top up feeds. At 6 weeks old, I went to our local lactation clinic, where after assessing our feeding plan, they advised that we could stop with top up feeding and I could exclusively breastfeed. I was over the moon that we had reached this stage and I am so glad that we persevered with breastfeeding, it really is worth the hard work and the sleepless nights. I now plan to hopefully breastfeed for many more months to come and make the most of every day that we can breastfeed.