Breastfeeding Stories: Mum, Ruth’s Experience
Mum Ruth, author of the blog Willow Lane, has kindly shared her breastfeeding experience including accounts of tongue tie, latching on, different feeding positions and cluster feeding. We love hearing from you fabulous breastfeeding mummies and what a great deal we can all learn from each other!
“Learning to breastfeed successfully is one of my proudest achievements. My baby daughter Rose is now five months old and we are still exclusively breastfeeding.
Before my little girl was born I knew I wanted to breastfeed. There was never an alternative in my mind. For me, breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world. Your boobs fill with milk and so why would you want it to go to waste? When it came to the practicalities of breastfeeding I did some online research on getting the right latch and I made sure to buy some nursing bra. My mum-in-law bought me the Medela manual breast pump and friends gave me their steriliser.
Rose was born on her due date and she fed like a trouper from the beginning. However, like many newborn babies, she slept a lot in those first few days. Once I was discharged from the hospital and the midwife called the following day, Rose had dropped more weight than what was ideal. Therefore, I had to wake my sleepy baby to feed every three hours. And feed she did!
My midwife noticed that Rose had a tongue tie after inspecting her at just a few days old. She suspected this might be affecting her latch so she referred me to a local dentist and within the week we were waiting to be seen. With one snip of the skin the procedure was over in the blink of an eye. There was not a peep from Rose and I fed her straight away. I can't say I felt any difference in her latch but I just hoped in some way breastfeeding would improve for us, as I was beginning to suffer from some very sore nipples.
I expressed milk a few times in the early days so my partner could feed her at night to give me a break. I was alarmed when Rose guzzled the milk in about sixty seconds flat! If I were feeding her she would be attached to the boob for about thirty minutes. Since Rose was born I've only ever missed two consecutive feeds as I don't like to be away from her for too long. I use the My Medela hand pump and the Mini Electric breast pump to ensure she has a supply of breastmilk when I’m not around.
In all my breastfeeding research before the baby, not once did I come across the topic of cluster feeding. So when Rose seemed to want to feed constantly in the evenings just a week or so after she was born I was knocked for six. Why was she so unsettled and crying all the time? After she would feed she would be content for a short time and then cry until I put her on the breast again. Constant feeding sessions happened from about 7pm to 1am. Thankfully cluster feeding didn’t last too long.
Oversupply and Fast Let-down
I was concerned I had an oversupply of milk and a fast let down, especially on the side I was most sore. Rose would often gag and choke when feeding on that breast and I could see milk spurting out when she broke the latch. I suspected that Rose was clamping down on my nipple to stem the fast supply of milk. I tried different feeding positions to help with this – mainly the rugby ball hold and feeding Rose in bed lying down. In particular, the lying down position really helped.
Breastfeeding Support Group
The biggest saving grace for me was a local breastfeeding support group I went to when Rose was just three weeks old. Every week I attended the group and every week I got more confident with feeding and determined to continue with it. Thankfully after feeding for six weeks, I was almost pain free and I could see the beginnings of a routine emerge as Rose would generally feed every three hours.
Learning to breastfeed successfully is one of my proudest achievements. It was hard work in the beginning but I am so glad I persevered as it got better. I'm still exclusively breastfeeding Rose at five months old. I want to take her lead, and if she continues to be happy to feed off me then I will continue to give her my milk! I've worked hard to get us to this point and I don't see us stopping breastfeeding anytime soon.”
Thank you to Ruth for sharing her experience with us. For more on Ruth's parenting journey, you can visit her blog Willow Lane. If you would like to share your breastfeeding story on our Medela Mums blog, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details. Thank you!