My Breastfeeding Story: High Risk Pregnancy, Colostrum Milk and the Joy of Breastfeeding

The next in our series of real mums’ stories and accounts of breastfeeding… Kate reflects on
her high-risk pregnancy and how she prepared herself for the birth of her little boy,
including how she collected her colostrum milk, ready to support her little one’s first weeks!

Mummy Kate with her baby boy

My breastfeeding story started before our little boy was born. I was a high-risk pregnancy due to having Congenital Heart Disease so we weren’t sure how my birth was going to be and if I would need a lot of medical intervention. I always knew I wanted to breastfeed as I knew about the many benefits of breastfeeding so I wanted to be prepared approaching my labour.

I started reading about colostrum collection as I thought then if anything delays me feeding after the birth, at least my husband could give him this vital colostrum. When I reached 37 weeks, I started collecting and managed to produce an amazing 15ml! I stored it in the freezer so it would be ready to take with me into hospital when I was to be induced at 38 weeks. 

The day of our induction came, it was a very hot Monday, as I said to my husband Chris, I was lucky to have a window seat on the ward! I was given the pessary and then the waiting game began, we did a lot of walking and took ourselves off to visit the ducks in a park over the road from the hospital.

Eventually, I started getting contractions so looked to my TENS machine. Many hours later, I was taken to have my waters broken, which was followed by the dreaded drip. This was to help my contractions but made me realise how much I wanted an epidural, which I eventually had.

I used my TENS machine and elements of hypnobirthing alongside the epidural to help support my labour. At 6am, 8 hours after having my waters broken, I was finally 10cm and ready to push.

Because of my cardiac history, I was only allowed to push for 1 hour at a time but by 07.59am, with the help of an episiotomy, our beautiful rainbow baby boy was born into the world. 

He was delivered onto my chest, we opted for delayed cord clamping and skin to skin which I did for 2 hours whilst encouraging him to feed. My husband then did a further 2 hours of skin to skin, which helped us all bond.

Our birth was an incredibly positive and calm experience, a really amazing time! 
Our little boy took to feeding straight away and we only gave him the colostrum I had collected to supplement what he was getting, to prevent it being thrown away!

I have to say, I have felt really lucky with breastfeeding. I remember going upstairs on the day that my milk came in and feeling like I had lead balloons strapped to my chest!  After a couple of days of expressing whilst in the shower, which helped relieve the pressure, my supply seemed to sync with our boy’s needs. When he was weighed on day 5, our little boy had only lost an amazing 1%.

The biggest struggle we had with feeding was that our little boy really struggled with wind, he used to get so upset with it, we tried everything but nothing really seemed to work. The one thing that I wonder might have made a difference was that I started drinking breastfeeding herbal tea. It may have been a massive coincidence but after I started, things seemed to settle down. I still have a cup every night, who knows? At least it’s delicious!

My breastfeeding journey has been fantastic and I absolutely love feeding our son, the feeling of closeness that it brings is truly wonderful. There are so many benefits of breastmilk, as well as the act of feeding creating our strong bond; I’m so glad we’ve had the experience.

Kate's baby boy breastfeeding

My health visitor said, “he is and always has been, 100% you”. I’m proud of our journey and I’ve had amazing breastfeeding support whilst out and about, I have had some really genuinely lovely comments of encouragement.

Our little boy is now 10 weeks old and is thriving, he is becoming stronger and stronger every day. Our time together when I’m breastfeeding him is really precious and I think it is the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done, second to giving birth. I have also now signed up to do my breastfeeding peer support training which I’m really looking forward to!

When we found out that I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to give breastfeeding a go but always said I wouldn’t be hard on myself if it didn’t work out.  I think as a first time Mummy that’s all you can do, I had nothing to lose by trying but have gained so much.

Mum Kate Breastfeeding her baby boy at a wedding