It’s the end of our first week of breastfeeding, this is something I honestly didn’t think we would achieve. I had loads of issues trying to breastfeed J and ended up having to express and cup feeding J for two weeks. This was because he had caused damaged to me and wouldn’t latch properly. After two weeks I ended up switching him to formula as my mental health had started to deteriorate and I spent all the time expressing rather than having quality time with my family.
This time around I knew I wanted to try to breastfeed but I wasn’t going to put as much pressure on myself. I think this contributed to my PND last time as I was determined to breastfeed. One thing I have realised is that mums mental health is just as important so as long as baby is fed that is all that matters it doesn’t matter if it is breast milk or formula. Even how they are fed varies; Breast,Bottle,Cup,Syringe or even tube.
When I went into hospital I took a newborn formula set of mini sterilised bottles, the reason being I knew that I had the relief of using those if breastfeeding didn’t work for whatever reason. When C was born I struggled to get her to latch, at this point, I didn’t think breastfeeding was going to work as even J latched on when he was born. After a while I remembered about the rugby ball position for breastfeeding and tried C like that, it worked well and I got her to latch.
Turns out that I needn’t had worried about C breastfeeding as she took to it like a pro. She seemed to be feeding quite often and for a good 1o minute on each side. With J I had the problem that he was too sleepy to feed so his blood sugars dropped and when he did feed it was only for a short about of time. My BP was high so we had to stay in the hospital overnight the first night. This was one thing I really didn’t want as I just wanted to get home and relax into our own little world where D could help me if needed. I was worried that C would not wake me in the night to feed as that’s what happened with J and I didn’t want to end up in the loop of low blood sugar and sleepy baby again. Fortunately, by the time it came to D going home at midnight I felt much better about the thought of staying in the hospital, C had already had a few breastfeeds and seemed we seemed like were managing it well.
I woke up at 3 so decided to see if C wanted a feed, that then meant that she was feeding on and off from 3 till 7. C had taken a preference to feeding on one side which left me a bit sore. One of the kind Midwives took her for nearly an hour so I could get a little nap. I think I probably had about three hours sleep drifting on and off that night.
When we got home I found breastfeeding much more relaxing as I had already bought nipple Shields from a recommendation of a friend . I found this much easier and it also meant that she would feed better from the right side. I was feeding C every time she was rooting or if she was quite happily asleep I would offer her a feed every 2 hours in the day. The first two nights at home I did end up giving her a bottle of formula at around 1 o’clock as she wouldn’t settle off to sleep. When I woke up in the morning I thought I had messed up how well she latched as she struggled to feed from the breast again. I gave her a small bottle and when she wasn’t starving I tried her again on the breast and she latched really well again.
Unfortunately, at some point in a sleepy state overnight both I and C must have been in an awkward position as even using Shields I ended up with more damage on the left, This made it excruciatingly painful especially at the first latch.
I was given the great tip of trying to use a breastfeeding pillow to get a better position. I didn’t actually think those pillows made a difference however after buying a cheap £4 neck support to use it has helped massively, especially instead of a scatter cushion .
In the end, I ended up making the decision to feed C from one side whilst expressing the other, then when she finished on the right I offered her what id expressed in a bottle. This is working really well and it is only temporary while I heal the damage that was caused in the first place. Now that we’ve got into the swing of things I am more confident with the latch and it won’t happen again hopefully.
We have a selection of bottles but found that the Yoomi bottle works best as the flow isnt too quick and as the bottle is designed with breastfeeding in mind, C has managed to swap between breast and bottle easily.
I have learnt that although the initial breastfeeding is awkward in the long run is so much easier than having to take bottles out everywhere, I’m not having to worry about baby being unsettled. I do also know that last time we definitely have problems latching as I was in agony all the way through where is this time I can’t even really tell she’s feeding.
I am so happy that it seems to be working for this time, however, I am still taking each day as it comes and if we end up going to using formula that is fine, but for now we will be carrying on breastfeeding but as long as possible. If i need to use the odd bottle of formula in the meantime then so be it.