My Breastfeeding Story: How Nipple Shields Saved My Breastfeeding Journey
Next in our series of real mums’ breastfeeding stories, we hear from Jess, a first-time mum to son Corey, who struggled through breastfeeding with tongue tie, sore nipples and her own health setbacks. Now with the help of nipple shields, she has gone on to breastfeed her son for well over a year!
Breastfeeding is something I have always wanted to do, as my mum did it with me and I’ve always looked forward to having that bond with my baby.
However, my journey didn’t have the easiest of starts! When my son Corey was born, he took to the breast straight away and seemed to be a great feeder. I immediately loved it! However, I didn’t realise he wasn’t latched on properly until my nipples became extremely sore. I kept going as the bond was too great for me to break. I ended up with mastitis and on numerous antibiotics. Unbeknown to me, I probably should have been pumping from the start to try and drain my breasts, but I was worried as I always imagined it being really painful!
As the weeks went on, (after me ending up back in hospital with a serious kidney infection!) I kept breastfeeding and was determined not to give up. I was lucky I could keep Corey in hospital with me, so I could feed him all the time. I then ended up having a blocked milk duct which had to be drained (told you my breastfeeding journey didn’t start off easy!).
The pain in my nipples was horrendous! I never knew breastfeeding could be so challenging, there was cracked skin and bloody nipples – no one told me about this! No one can explain how demanding a newborn is for some breast time! I both loved and feared every feed at the same time. We ended up getting a specialist to look at Corey’s tongue and turns out he was tongue tied! After an easy (although not nice!) procedure, it was fixed. I was totally unaware of the consequences tongue tie could have whilst breastfeeding – if I’d have known, maybe this would have made my experience easier!
I then started using nipple shields, which were a life saver – I’d never even heard of them before! After using a combination of cabbage leaves, shields, hot compresses and every cream imaginable, my nipples eventually healed.
At around 4 months I took off the shields and after a few moments of confusion, Corey took to it! I was so happy I could finally feed my baby exactly how I wanted to. The tears and pain was all worth it.
The bond is the best feeling in the world. I could never have imagined that my journey would end up how it did, and I really think breastfeeding and the potential troubles us mums can go through should be more widely spoken about.
I’m still breastfeeding, and both me and Corey are happier than ever. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very demanding as he won’t take anything other than his Mummy’s milk! I’ve been asked numerous times when I’m going to stop feeding him, but I really would like to continue as long as Corey wants to. These moments are so precious to me.
People are very quick to judge for breastfeeding in public, and I’m lucky in a sense that I was never someone to feel the need to hide. If you don’t like what I’m doing, don’t look! Corey never really made being discreet very easy either! I once walked through Dublin city centre breastfeeding!
I’m still using my Medela Swing now for making milk for his porridge every morning and it was a shock to me how easy and painless it is to use. I will definitely be expressing from the start with my next baby! We live and learn!
So that’s my story, it feels so good to write this down, and I hope I might be able to help some other mummies out there who are struggling with their breastfeeding journey. I’m sure every mummy understands it can be hard sometimes, but you need to remind yourself how amazing we all really are!
Thank you Medela, for doing your bit to normalise breastfeeding!
Thank you to Jess for sharing her breastfeeding experience with us. If you would like to share your breastfeeding story please email firstname.lastname@example.org