My Breastfeeding Story: Persevering with Breastfeeding my New Baby Despite Challenges
Next in our series of real mums’ breastfeeding stories, we hear from Kayleigh, who after being induced to give birth to her second son, struggled with getting to grips with breastfeeding her new baby. Despite the challenges they faced, and her own self-doubting, Kayleigh’s breastfeeding journey was a positive one in the end.
We had such a hard time breastfeeding in the beginning. I had to be induced, due to my new baby Hugo apparently measuring small (even though he was born an absolutely perfect weight of 6lb 2oz, despite being three weeks early!).
On the morning of the induction, I asked the midwife if being induced would affect my breastfeeding. I was told that it wouldn’t, however since then I’ve been told that actually, it can. My body wasn’t ready, and my boobs weren’t ready, so it was rather difficult to begin with.
Hugo found it hard to latch on straightaway, and his sucking wasn’t great, I was never sure if he was taking enough milk or not, his blood sugar levels were up and down, and I was stuck in the hospital, on my own…mid pandemic.
The midwives told me to press the buzzer if I ever wanted any help with feeding, but part of me felt ashamed and embarrassed to ask for help, especially as I had breastfed my first son Harlie for 15 months. I didn’t think I needed help – but it turns out I did.
We struggled, but eventually after a top-up of formula through a cup-feed, we were discharged. The hard work didn’t stop there. Hugo then developed jaundice at 5 days old, and we were admitted into hospital. I was heartbroken, we had only just been discharged, and we went back into hospital. I was missing my other little boy and my partner so much.
I felt so low, I was so lonely and upset, my heart was breaking for little baby Hugo. He was pricked for blood tests so many times, his feet were cut to shreds, he hated being under the light for his jaundice, and he hated the mask over his eyes. He was also cluster feeding which made it difficult as he needed to be kept under the jaundice lamps for as long as possible.
I felt as if the odds were against us – his latch was much better by this point, but he still wasn’t 100%, he was slowly getting the hang of it but it was still difficult. I was also told that breastfed babies are jaundiced for longer, so I felt as if everything was against us trying to breastfeed! However, I persevered. I persevered because breastfeeding is something I am so passionate about.
I remember doubting myself, doubting my body, hating on my boobs and hating myself for them not being instantly ready to feed my son the second he popped out. I blamed myself for him being jaundiced for so long.
It took us a good couple of weeks to establish a good latch. It was hard work, it took patience and I had to keep persisting. I had to keep believing in myself and in my body. I desperately didn’t want our journey to end, before it had even had the chance to begin. So, I lapped my nipples up with cream and did my best to get on with it. We tried, we failed, and we tried again until eventually, feeding finally just became natural!
I think it’s important for mums to know that everyone’s journey is different. There are going to be ups and downs, rough patches and times where you may just want to give up. It’s so important to stay positive, to trust yourself, to believe in your body, and to keep going for as long as you can possibly take. Don’t be so hard on yourself if you are finding it difficult, and don’t ever be afraid to ask for help and guidance – you go mama!
Thank you to Kayleigh from The Mcintyres Life on Instagram, for sharing her breastfeeding experience. If you would like to share your breastfeeding story please email firstname.lastname@example.org