Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Irmina

Since 7 years ago, breastfeeding makes part of my daily life. Breastfeeding on demand, prolonged breastfeeding, breastfeeding in tandem. They all came naturally and in response to the needs of my children that I slowly learned to decipher. I confess that the last, until recently, was not my choice, it simply happened. At first, I was tabula rasa. There was only a will and, step by step, a discovery of the practicality. But I was not warned about the pain caused by a wrong latch, milk cobblestones or despairing moments when milk seems to be insufficient. I carried a lot of prejudice in my head, and an immense insecurity ruled my steps. I had no idea of the number of pitches I would hear along this milky way and I could not even imagine for how many women trying and not being able to breastfeed was a painful affair. This world opened up gradually and with it grew self-confidence and understanding of the other.

Nowadays, breastfeeding is for me a vital issue for the body and soul of my little ones. I believe that because it is natural, the act does not need nor should not be glamorized or used to differentiate the mothers. The daily difficulties we encounter in this liquid journey should not be a secret, but it is important to remember that the process is difficult and often painful because of all the social dynamics we have arrived to in the XXI century: excessive workload, inadequate maternity leave, lack of the supporting networks, social devaluation of the act of breastfeeding, hygiene of the care, maternal solitude, among others. When we isolate all of this and focus on the beauty of the act, free of physical and emotional stress, we achieve the fullness of what the breastfeeding experience really deserves.

This photo (number1) was taken 2 days after I gave birth to my third daughter. The presence of my second child that still sucking and the placenta that had not yet come off is a gift and not a problem. 

 

Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Holly

I had a really difficult start to breastfeeding and there were so many times that I thought  I was gonna have to give it up. I spent an extra day in the hospital when my son was first born due to many feeding issues, he had a good latch yet my breasts were covered in bruises and bleeding and I suffered from a massive swelling in my arm pit due to blocked milk ducts, after seeing multiple midwives, two doctors and a breastfeeding specialist, I was finally given nipple shields, which I thought would be the fix for everything. After a week of being home and many visits and phone calls from more breastfeeding specialists, I felt confident that everything was finally solved but then I had to face the issue that I just wasn't producing enough milk for my son and he wasn't gaining any weight. I spent the second week barely sleeping due to almost constant feeding and pumping, neither of which seemed to help much though. By the third week I was exhausted and felt like a failure and after lots of thought and discussion about my sons weight and health and the pressure this was putting on me, I had to make the heart breaking decision to both formula feed and breastfeed. I  know that formula is fine for my son and that this was the best decision, at least until my milk supply increases but I still felt like such a failure when I gave him that first bottle. I am so thankful for the breast feeding specialists and there support and reassurance because if it wasn't for them, I would have probably felt worse for a lot longer. My son is now six weeks and we still have a long way to go with breastfeeding but I already feel like Its been such a massive and eventful journey already. 

Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Nicole


I had heard all the horror stories about cracked nipples, blocked ducts, mastitis, bleeding nipples, no sleep, people reacting negatively to breastfeeding and a friend had a baby who turned blue and passed out when he breastfed! 

So, after all that I was scared about breastfeeding and 90% certain I would formula feed. The only reason I attempted it was I had been told about the benefits of even just a bit of colostrum and my mother was really pushing boobing so I felt I did have to give it a go, however hubby and I had discussed that if it was hard in any way, we would formula feed. I had bottles, a steriliser, bottle warmer etc ready. 

It looked originally like breastfeeding but wasn’t going to work as my little Peanut didn’t want to feed and objected greatly to being woken up for feeds. She dropped 11oz down to 6lbs and became jaundiced so we were re-admitted to hospital when she was 36hours old. At that point, we bought bottles, a steriliser, bottle warmer etc so that I could begin formula feeding when we left hospital. I felt I would be judged negatively if I formula fed in hospital so didn’t dare! 

3 days after she was born, my milk came in and Peanut loved it and couldn’t get enough of it! She was feeding every 2 hours, for 30-40mins at a time! By the time she was 7 days old, Peanut’s jaundice was low enough of to be properly discharged again as long as I kept up the 2-hourly feeds, which I did for 6 weeks. Peanut went from the 9th to the 25th centile and I was confident feeding her in public - including at the Safari Park! 

It was so easy as well, my milk was always ready, always at the right temperature and I didn’t have to get out of bed for the night feeds. I love the bond we have and how boobs fix everything!

Nicole

Little Sunday Story Time Peach written by a Mama that wants to remain anonymous

This is my story...my husband is an only child. His father passed away from brain trauma two years ago, it was short and sudden battle. We were not prepared. But then my husband's mother, my mother in law, moved in with us. And one month later I became pregnant, with our first child. Which was ironic because I was waiting for the perfect time to have a baby. I was lucky enough to get pregnant as soon as I started trying. But I wasn't expecting to have my mother in law live with me, my entire pregnancy and post birth.

During my pregnancy I spent a lot of time consoling an inconsolable woman. Partially because I wanted her to help and partly because I wanted her to move on and move out! Sorry to say. But it is difficult living with a parent, especially one who is not your own. She did things differently to me and I found it difficult sharing my private space. She would walk into our house, she had a key. She would never say she was coming round. She would invite people over. She never really helped. She was a lovely lady, don't get me wrong. But she was going through a hard time and I couldn't exactly complain about her bad habits. My husband stood by my side, because he's a good man. But also because he was conscious of my feelings affecting our unborn child! I struggled to enjoy my pregnancy until a month before I gave birth she moved out. And I made the nursery I had planned for. Then I gave birth and she decided to come back to "help" us. She didn't really help at all. And this is where breastfeeding became my thing. 

I didn't really think much about breastfeeding before I gave birth. I had the dream birth - basically a hypnobirthing dream. But breastfeeding was painful, worse than labour. I had oversupply of milk, plugged ducts, mastitis, blisters and thrush all in the space of three months. I battled with breastfeeding. I kept fighting, determined to make it work. All the while being told by my mother in law - give her a bottle, so we can help i.e. I could get a chance to cook and clean and she could have fun with the baby. To this day she doesn't understand that when the baby wants to sleep you can't play with her. Anyway she wanted to take part in the fun stuff. My breastfeeding meant the baby had to come back to me. That's why I continued breastfeeding because I felt threatened and breastfeeding protected me. Even though I wanted to do it from the start, I was passionate about it and I read up on all the misconceptions. I called the helplines at least 20 times, I had a lactation consultant come round many times. I kept going and I think subconsciously I knew that no one could ever take my baby away, if I breastfed. 

We're at the six months mark now. I don't feel as threatened but I keep any bottles out of grandmas sight (baby drinks expressed milk from a bottle sometimes). I don't want her to know there are other options. My milk only, because I want her to come back to me. I've spoken to a counsellor about my anxiety issues. But now I've come to a point where I no longer feel as threatened and I've spent so much time pushing myself emotionally and not giving myself a break that I realised...I don't enjoy breastfeeding, the way some women do. 

I want to talk about it because I don't want women who WANT to breastfeed but don't ENJOY it all the time to be shunned. I recently spoke to one of the top lactation consultants in Sussex about how my baby wouldn't feed outside and it was giving me so much anxiety. Because she wasnt getting milk and expressing milk took a long time. She was getting so distracted. She said to me give her water. She wouldn't utter the word bottle. But what I noticed is she wasn't listening to me. I was telling her it's stressing me out and she was so blinded by her agenda that she couldn't hear what I was really saying. In that moment I was saying I hate this, I want to stop, I feel depressed but I feel bad. Help me to feel better. Give me a break. Cut me some slack. Stop making me feel awful. Tell me its OK to stop. Even though I won't stop but I want to hear it. 

I see people talking about breast is best, gold liquid and platinum breasts and I want to remind you that breastfeeding is not a competition. It's not something we should pressure women to do. We need to acknowledge that for some women, breastfeeding is a struggle emotionally and physically, because breastfeeding hard. There is research that shows that for women who already have low levels of anxiety and depression - breastfeeding does not elevate their mood. The way it does with women who don't have an oxytocin imbalance. 

Therefore I suggest that women are encouraged to give expressed bottles so that women have the option of a bottle. They should be taught how to do this without affecting breastfeeding, not scaremongered. Like my friend who needs to go back to work, in a month, 
and her son is exclusively breastfed and she has no way of putting him to sleep without her being there. And that women are encouraged to breastfeed exclusively for six months and then if they decide they no longer want to breastfeed they can either do combination or formula feed. This doesn't make them any less, or a bronze, breastfeeding mum. This makes them a platinum mum - just like a woman who can breastfeed for a year or two. They did the best that they could, with what they had, where they are. Let's be reasonable. Let's not make a woman feel like the longer the better. Yes it gets easier with solids being introduced and with setting a bedtime routine. But some things stay the same. You can't gave a night out because if baby us awake whose going to put them back to sleep?! Let's be honest. 

I could give her formula now and I am really trying to stop myself. It's not poison but I feel like I have milk. But I would consider it at some point in the next weeks and I would like a lactation consultant to tell me its OK and well done. We should celebrate the end of any breastfeeding journey. And that's the thing I don't want it to end. But I want to be taught how to give her the odd bottle of formula and give myself a break (as selfish as that might sound to some pro breastfeeding groups) and be taught how to maintain my supply for at least a year or however long I can. I would like more support and I would like to not feel guilty. 

Really I think we need to stop sugar coating breastfeeding and making it sound like it's always the best thing. What is the point of breastfeeding if you feel depressed or anxious? I want women to acknowledge how hard it is, how lonely it can be. When you're stuck in a room and feeing for four hours straight during a growth spurt. When all your other 20 something year old friends are out having fun, going out without their children, sending you photos and you're stuck at home. When you go online and look at mums and judge whether they are BF based on their clothes and makeup. Because you know BF mums get less time and occasionally less sleep. Because if you're not co sleeping and you don't want to you may get less sleep. And your baby will fall asleep on you during nap time and so you won't get time to get dolled up. Let's talk about the reality so women know it's OK to feel this way. A friend I made at a class told me recently that she felt so anxious and tired from breastfeeding, she had to go seek help. It shouldn't be that way. 

Breastfeeding is great from a health perspective but it can be emotionally draining. I want to continue but I want someone to tell me how to enjoy it more. Because I have spent six months feeding and feeling rubbish. Yes I have a stressful situation but I do feel BF babies depend on us more. I write this as my daughter is feeding to sleep. I know she fell asleep twenty minutes ago but she hasn't come off yet. And I really want to take off my contacts and go and watch telly and sit in peace.

You may not agree with everything I've said or any of it but please respect this is my journey and its been a tough one. Thank you. 

Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Shannon

Even before I fell pregnant, before I'd even met my husband in fact, whenever I thought about my family and having babies, I just knew I would breastfeed. It was never a question, I never considered any other option. I knew that my body would produce milk especially tailored for my baby and I assumed that breastfeeding would just come naturally.

 

So on February 16th, 2017, when the little love of my life was born and he didn't drag himself up my chest and latch on perfectly the way I had been shown in the antenatal class video, I panicked. They focused so little on what happens after birth; all I did see was that babies will instinctively breast crawl, latch on, and ba-da-bing ba-da-boom, you're a breastfeeding mum... But it's not that simple for most people. Although Logan did latch eventually, not that long after birth really, I was told "he's latched perfectly" by numberous midwives. But my nipples became sore and cracked, they looked blistered, feeding Logan was painful enough that I cried through most feeds. Sometimes, we'd struggle to get a deep latch, or a latch at all. The midwives visiting our home weren't concerned and they didn't take me too seriously because "he looks like he is latched well" and they said it was absolutely normal for the soreness to be there, and that was that. I convinced myself I was just a worried first-time mother who was being silly over nothing. And for a short time after being dismissed from the midwives' care, things did seem to improve.

 

After about a month though, it started getting more and more difficult. Logan would scream and cry whenever I put him to my breast, even though he clearly wanted to latch on and feed, it could take anywhere between 5 minutes and 1.5 hours to get him to calm down and get a decent latch. Once he had latched, he would stay on for no more than 30 seconds before coming off and starting all over again. This would happen a few times at least before he'd finally settle on the boob, and if you walked in at that point, you'd have no idea what struggle had just taken place. He looked content, happy. It was heartbreaking because he obviously wanted my breast milk, he wanted to be on the breast, but for some reason he just couldn't. He was struggling and despite my best efforts, I wasn't able to magically make it happen.

 

Throughout the next 1-2 months I visited multiple breastfeeding clinics around Sussex, spoke to as many health visitors as I could get in contact with, visited the doctors, went to all my local weighing clinics to talk to midwives and health visitors there, but no-one was giving me the help I needed. "It's a leap, it's a phase, you need to try this position or that position, you're just tired, work on the latch, maybe your supply isn't good... Pump and bottle feed, give him formula instead, give him a dummy, he's not really hungry... I was ignored because Logan was gaining weight, wetting his nappies, and otherwise he was clinically well.

 

One day, Logan started point blank refusing the boob, he wasn't feeding at all and nothing I did could convince him. He stopped wetting his nappies and I knew that meant he was dehydrating. We called 111 and was told to get to the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital in Brighton. We did, and he had some routine checks and we were told he's fine and we could leave, but I refused. He clearly wasn't fine. I asked for a pump so I could relieve my breasts which  were rock hard and painful to touch. The nurse left the room and returned with a bottle of formula. I balled my eyes out. I didn't want to do it, I refused. My heart has always been set on breastfeeding, and I absolutely was not prepared to give up, I just couldn't. The nurse was less than sympathetic, she made me feel like I was just being silly. She tried convincing me that it was for the best that I give him the formula, "you can always try to breastfeed again at a later date. Maybe you can combination feed." NO. It was not going to happen. I emptied my breasts and continued offering them to Logan. 

 

We ended up staying the night, he had some blood taken, and we were again told that he's fine. After a night of regular check ups, I asked the nurses if Logan could be checked for tongue-tie. They didn't and we left. Our battle continued.

 

I eventually couldn't take going to clinics and being ignored anymore, so I did a bit of research and learned that the NHS doesn't routinely deal with tongue-ties in babies over 1 month old, but I found one hospital that would. I went to the doctor and asked him to refer me, and he LAUGHED at me. He told me I was being ridiculous. I left in tears, feeling humiliated and stupid.

 

I decided I had no choice but to pay for a breastfeeding counsellor. We were not in a position where spending that money was easy, it was a strain and we suffered for it, but in terms of breastfeeding, it was what we needed. The breastfeeding counsellor asked some questions, listened to my story, did a unbelievable quick assessment and confirmed my fears. Tongue-tie. She was unable to give an official diagnosis, but did refer me to a private clinic that dealt only with ties.

 

It cost a lot to get the appointment to have him assessed, and it took an hour and a half in the car to get to the clinic, but once there, his tongue-tie was confirmed. 80% posterior tongue-tie. Thankfully, once diagnosed, they were ready and able to get it sorted there and then. We were warned us that is usually takes 2 snips to release the tie, so I prepared myself for the crying and having to wait longer to comfort him. Everything was ready and it was time to cut it... There was an audible ping! It took one cut, and his tongue pinged free. I grabbed him and put him straight to my boobs to comfort him and stop the bleeding. The lady who cut it was surprised at the ping, in her many many years experience, she'd not had that before. 

 

We had to do some exercises/stretches multiple times a day for a couple of weeks to encourage movement and to prevent re-attachment.It was recommended that we do them 4 times a day, but I did them more than that as re-attachment scared the pants off of me! I did the stretches before most feeds for a few weeks. There wasn't an immediate improvement but it did start to improve slowly.

 

I also wondered if Logan was allergic to something coming through my milk, so I decided that one by one, I would eliminate an allergen from my own diet and see if that had any affect. I started with cow's milk... And thankfully didn't have to continue through my list. Cow's Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA)... Oh the joys! From then on, if I accidentally had something containing cow's milk, Logan would be in agony for a few days. He would scream and cry just like before, and it was heartbreaking to say the least. He would have very loose nappies, and his reflux would get really bad again. (I forgot to mention this earlier, it's one of our first ever problems that we could identify - reflux. Logan suffered terribly with it. Apparently, most babies grow out of reflux by 6 months... Logan was 11 months old before I noticed it disappearing. It would cause horrible pain for him. He slept on his tummy for as long as I can remember as it was the only way he could get any peace and sleep. On his back, he would arch in pain, struggle to fall asleep, and wake up countless times because of the pain.)

 

On top of those issues, I had another one that helped with none of those! Oversupply and heavy let-down... Logan would gag and splutter during every feed. My breasts produced more milk than he needed, and as soon as he latched on to feed, letdown happened almost immediately and it would spray out super quick. He struggled to keep up with the flow, but he tried his best. As he got older, he dealt with it better and now he's a pro. My supply has settled finally, but it took far longer than people suggested it would! 

 

So yeah, it took 3 months for us to figure out that all of these problems were problems. I'm just glad we did, even if it took so long. There were so many days I considered that I may have to quit breastfeeding, but I didn't, and I am so SO proud of myself for it. I found a strength and determination inside myself that I never knew was there. 

 

Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn't always come naturally... Don't give up. I didn't. And here we are, Logan is nearly 17 months old and I see no end in sight for us.

Little Sunday story Time Peach by Hayley

My name is Hayley, and I’m a mummy to 3 scrummy boys!!

My first pregnancy was great. I went full term + 4 days. Unfortunately, my labour was very slow to progress and because baby was getting distressed, I ended up with an emergency c-section. I didn’t really know much about breastfeeding. I remember telling my Midwife I wanted ‘to try’. I found in hospital there was little support to help me breastfeed. I’d had an epidural, which they topped up for my c-section, so literally couldn’t move. The hospital staff ended up wheeling baby away and feeding him with formula. Back then (10 years ago now), partners weren’t allowed to stay with you, so my hubby was sent home about half an hour after I’d got back into the ward as visiting hours were over!! It was formula all the way from then!!

Due to my health, we waited another 8yrs before having another baby. During this pregnancy, my waters broke when I was just 24wks pregnant. I remember sitting in my hospital room being monitored and in absolute fear of going into labour. Every time colostrum started leaking I was sure that I was going to go into labour, that this was the start. I didn’t even know that your body could start to produce colostrum that early, let alone have it leak!!  I managed to hold onto baby for another 3 weeks and 5 days. I’d had a rather large bleed, so we were advised to call an ambulance. On the way to hospital I started to get some pains, but nothing like I hadn’t had before. In hospital, I was checked out & monitored. I wasn’t ‘in labour’, but was going to be kept in and transferred to the maternity ward. Within 3hrs of arriving at the hospital, baby arrived. It was the most frightening & horrific experience of my life! I only had a couple of really strong contractions that prompted us to call the midwife. When she came into the room and had a look, she could already see baby’s bottom!! The doctor was called and within about 10 minutes, baby was born and whisked straight away. We didn’t get to see him for another 6hrs. We had to wait for the NICU doctors to finish working on him before we could go and see him. One of the first things I was asked was how I had planned to feed baby. I hadn’t a clue. I was told of the benefits of breastmilk for premature babies tummies. So, I needed to start expressing!! The first time I expressed, I got the tiniest amount. I was so disappointed. I had these huge breasts - why weren’t they gushing out milk!! Every time I expressed, I tried to beat what I had done previously. If it was more, I was so happy, if it was less I was devastated!  Although I was encouraged to express every 2-3hrs, this didn’t always happen. Life got in the way. I didn’t want to leave my baby’s side, or I needed to eat, or I had to collect my other son from school, or be home to do some housework, or wait for the doctors round, or we were having cuddles (which I had to wait 2 weeks for!). It was very hard to get into a routine of expressing to start. It wasn’t like I had a baby there screaming for food. My baby was on a ventilator in an incubator, in his own little cocoon away from me. Getting into the NICU routine was tough. Setting my alarm overnight every 3hrs to express. Spending a minimum of half an hour each time hand expressing, it was tough. I felt useless. All of my expressed milk was kept at the hospital, in a little plastic basket with baby’s name on, in the fridge on the NICU ward, ready and waiting for when the doctors wanted to start feeding him via his NG tube. I think baby was 3 days old when he starting being fed. It was an amazing feeling!! But, a really scary one too as my milk hadn’t come in yet. You feel all of this extra pressure to supply more and more, the pressure of the little basket in the fridge becoming empty as you couldn’t keep up with the demand even though it was only 1-2mls every hour that he was being fed!  Once my milk arrived, I was shown how to use the hospital breast pumps. We hired one from the hospital to take home. We had a Milton tub for my breast cups in the Milk Kitchen at the hospital so I could express there when I needed. I’ll never forget the noise the breast pumps made. That constant humming. The way my nipples used to sting when I switched it on as they were so fragile. The sensation of my let down used to make me cry. They were tears full of relief that I had milk, sadness that it was all so mechanical, and pain where my breasts needed to get used to it. The competition I had with myself started again on a completely different level with the breast pump. Now I could fill bottles! It started with 20-30mls, then over a couple of weeks I was filling (sometimes over filling) 2 x 100ml bottles every time I expressed!! 
I was keen to breastfeed my baby. I knew just how important my milk was for his growth and development and I wanted to continue with that once we got home. When baby was still in intensive care, the doctors noticed that he had a sucking reflex. He must have been about 4wks old, but only around 31wks gestation. The nurses said we could put him to the breast. I remember that first time. I was the only mummy on the unit that morning. I’d stripped off my top half so we could get some skin to skin at the same time. Baby was propped up on pillows - light as a feather, but so delicate to hold. The nurses put a screen round us and it was the most perfect moment. It was as though time had stopped. Of course, baby didn’t really feed, but he tasted a little of my milk for the first time. From then on, we started to wash his mouth with breast milk, sometimes we’d do a dummy dip while he was being fed by NG. As much as possible, I would hold his little NG tube up while my milk was being syringed down - not conventional breastfeeding, but my milk, by my hand all the same. There was one stage where baby wasn’t putting on as much weight as the doctors would have liked, so we discussed our options - formula or a fortifier in my milk. I was devastated. Those first early weeks it is drummed into you that your milk is the absolute best, then all of a sudden, it was like I wasn’t enough. Was it my fault? Was my diet not good enough? Was I drinking enough water? What else could I do?? With the fortifier, his weight picked up. I was so pleased. But still heartbroken that I wasn’t enough. Fast forward a few more weeks and we were regularly putting baby to breast at every feed possible while he was being fed via NG. He needed to learn that his tummy was getting full while sucking at the breast. Then the decision needed to be made at how much milk do we put down his NG tube? How much milk did we think he was actually getting from me? This wasn’t a conventional breastfed baby. There was no on demand feeding here!! NICU life meant a routine of every 3-4hrs. It was a fine balance to get it right to make sure he had his full quota of milk for the day. When the time came for the ‘going home’ talks, I was allowed to demand feed during the hours that I was at the hospital. Juggling that with expressing was hard. Baby still needed milk when I wasn’t able to be with him. Overnight, the nurses had started to bottle feed him my milk as he needed to take full feeds before he could come home. Baby came home after spending 76 days in hospital, exclusively breastfeeding. I had to ‘room in’ overnight and feed baby exclusively for a while 24hrs, and he needed to have gained weight after it - and he did!! A whole 20g!! 
Once home, I continued to breastfeed. We’d been home about a month when I had another (my 3rd) lot of mastitis. I was broken. I was in pain. Without the extra support from the staff at the hospital, I made the heartbreaking decision to give him a bottle. It was expressed milk, as I had a huge stash in the freezer, but I felt like a failure. My husband and I decided that we would bottle feed him every other feed, so I was still breastfeeding as I did t want to give it up, but then hubby could also get involved and feed him using my milk from the freezer. I’d managed to express enough during baby’s time in NICU to give him only breast milk for the first 6 months. It took me a while to realise, but that was pretty amazing! When my stocks in the freezer were getting low, we started to add an ounce at a time of formula so that his tummy could get used to it. We gradually increased it until his bottle feeds were fully formula. Of course by this time we’d started weaning too, so I always made sure that his first and last feed of the day was from me. Our little bit of ‘us’ time. We carried this on until he was 13 months old. I think baby would have stopped sooner as it was getting increasingly difficult to feed him. I wanted to get past 12 months. The final time came when he bit me and made my nipple bleed!! 

I found out I was pregnant again when my 2nd child was nearly 16mths old. So many emotions were running through my head!! I was so happy, I was excited, scared... but we’d hoped, and had been reassured by the consultant, that my waters breaking early was a one off; it wouldn’t happen again! We had a few minor problems in my early pregnancy, but once we’d got to 28wks, we were past when last baby was born, we were happy. We could handle anything!! We had started to believe that we were going to go full term. I’d decided that I was going to breastfeed. With baby no3 I was going to do it all by myself!! But, at 33wks exactly, my waters went again. I wasn’t in any pain, so we took our time getting to the hospital. Once there, I was hooked up as I was contracting, but it was nothing major and they didn’t think I was going to go into full labour so they took the monitor off. Less than an hour later, the pains were getting worse so we called in a Midwife who put me back on the monitor. I remember watching the numbers - one for babies heart rate, the other to measure the strength of the contraction. Baby’s heart rate kept dipping, but I was told that baby had moved and it was picking up my heart, then when I was contracting, the number on the monitor wasn’t picking it up! I was fobbed off a bit saying that they weren’t monitoring my contractions, just baby. Then baby dipped again. My pains were getting worse. The room filled with people. A doctor scanning me looking for a heartbeat (it was very weak), midwives putting a cannula in my hand, shaving me, putting surgical stockings on me, explaining that they have to get baby out and I’m having a general anaesthetic. Once I had come round from the anaesthetic, hubby was by my side and I was handed 2 pictures of my little boy. He came out screaming and hadn’t needed any breathing support. He was in an incubator, but was doing everything on his own. I was keen to get round and see him. He was about 6hrs old when we went round, but I could hold him straight away. Again, all conversation turned to milk!! I needed to express. Full of confidence this time round, I knew the routine, I knew what I needed to do. I’d ring my buzzer from my hospital bed through the night to ask a nurse to take my milk round to NICU so they could feed him via his NG tube. This time round, having another baby in NICU, was a lot harder. There is something unsettling about knowing what can and what does happen. And now o had 2 children at home, one who wasn’t even 2, and they needed me. I was determined to get home with my baby quickly (plus I wanted to be home for Christmas!!). Once baby was strong enough, he was being put to the breast as often as possible, while having expressed milk through his NG tube. One day, I’d had childcare sorted so was able to spend the entire day at the hospital. The nurse suggested that we try not to give him any milk through his tube and see how he goes just breastfeeding. The boy did great!! The next morning when he was weighed, he had even gained weight!! As far as the nurses were concerned, baby had proved he could do it, so they were keen to get me rooming in so baby could come home. The doctors weren’t so convinced, but we all agreed that I could stay over for 2 nights that weekend to see how baby did. After the first full 24hrs of breastfeeding, baby gained weight - 40grams!!! I was then told that if baby gains weight the next day, we could go home... and he did!! After 27 days in hospital, baby came home fully breastfed. And here we are now, 7 1/2 months old and still breastfeeding. We even had a hospital admission for a week where we were back to square one and I had to start expressing again!!

I’m not gonna lie, it is by far, one of the hardest things I have ever done!! I still struggle everyday. Although this is baby no3, it feels like baby no1. I’m still learning how to breastfeed, learning that demand feeding doesn't work with the routine that I like in my life, learning that nothing is textbook when it comes to breastfeeding, still learning to be confident with feeding when we aren’t at home. As hard as it is, I am incredibly proud of what I have achieved. I didn’t get baby put straight to the breast, I didn’t get that first rush of love, that immediate bond, but one thing I am sure of is that breastfeeding has helped me feel close to my babies when we were kept apart in those early weeks.

I am so sorry if I have rambled on!!! Please feel free to extract the parts of the story that are relevant - I find it incredibly hard to give anyone the ‘short’ version!!! 

Thank you for your Instagram posts. They are amazing and give me lots of inspiration to carry on with my breastfeeding journey, especially when so many people have told me to ‘give him the bottle’. I found you on Instagram through a recommendation from a breastfeeding support group that I am a member of on Facebook. 

Big hugs xx

Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Portland


When I went into labor with my 3rd child, it was almost - at least it felt like - routine. I knew when it was time to go to the hospital, I knew what would happen when we arrived, I knew I would probably end up asking for the epidural, I knew that after birth a baby would be placed on my chest, I knew the first thing we would do was breastfeed, I knew my milk would come in, and I knew we would go home after a day or two. But the thing is, I really didn't know. 

 

Much of my labor and birth was actually normal. After a night and day of on again and off again labor, finally my contractions intensified around 2 pm in the afternoon, and by 5:30 pm our daughter was born. She was a couple weeks early, and just barely 6 pounds and when they rested Reese on my chest after delivery, everything was perfect. She latched readily and we just sat there in the delivery room and enjoyed her alert period.  I felt so comfortable back in the newborn routine for the third time, I was contemplating going home the next morning even and forgo the little hospital stay. We'd done this twice before and everything went fine. BUT I will be forever grateful for the doctor who changed my mind. The one who said, "You can stay another night, don't feel rushed to go home, get more rest, it will be good for you."

 

So we did. And that night, around midnight a nurse noticed Reese shaking and immediately notified us that she was displaying signs of low blood sugar.  It seemed like a small problem, but in an infant, low blood sugar can be life threatening. Since my milk had not come in yet, and our barely-6 pound-baby girl had little body fat to draw calories from, her brain was starving.  I was nervous, scared, devastated.  With my second baby my milk had come in full blown on Day 2 and I fully expected my body to be the same this time.  I began trying so hard to feed my little girl non-stop.  I kept her on my breast the rest of the night, just hoping she would get my milk in, and hoping she'd get the calories she needed. She didn't leave my chest, and I hardly slept.   

 

The next morning her blood sugar was still low, and the nurses suggested formula to get her more calories, which I initially refused.  I was so determined to strictly breastfeed, and not to confuse her with other nipples/pacifiers.  So I asked the nurses for other ways to keep her at my breast.  We tried SNS several times but after so long my baby would either fall asleep, or get so frustrated that we had to remove the tube.  Thinking back on this day, I am so grateful for nurses who worked with me to try and get Reese fed while still at my breast. 

 

Ultimately nothing I was trying really worked.  My baby needed calories to survive that I couldn't provide. At least not yet as my milk hadn't come in. So, when the doctor came that afternoon, he told me they would have to start a glucose IV and that meant she could no longer be with me in the room. They took her away and I sat alone in the room heartbroken... and defeated. 

 

The lactation consultant on duty that day helped me figure out a feeding routine. Reese would get fed exactly every three hours, that way they could monitor her glucose readings after each feed to make sure they could wean the IV eventually.  Together we decided that Reese would get formula for her first feed, and breastfeed after.  Then I would go pump what I could, and it would be used towards the next feed three hours later.  Reese's feeds would be made up with breastmilk+formula, then we would breastfeed after to make sure she got what she needed.  

 

After her first feed in the nursery I went back to my room to pump.... and I literally got a drop of mostly colostrum.  I cried.  But the lactation consultant reassured me it was normal... that it would come eventually.  During my next pump session, I got about 1 mL- one tiny syringe of milk.  Then the next session with some heat applied to my breasts with lil'buds and I got about 3ml. I was so determined. I took my initial defeat and turned it into determination.  And slowly I saw my body responding.  With every pump session I would get a little more, and a little more.  After about 12 hours, I was getting 6-10ml each pump session and slowly we were minimizing the formula supplement, and weaning the glucose IV!!   

 

After 3 long days of IV and pumping we were back to breastfeeding on demand and IV free and ready to go home. Those days were some of the most difficult days I have had, and I think of new mothers who have endured so much more than me and I utterly admire their strength.  Getting to the point where we could be discharged came with a huge struggle, so many tears, hardly any sleep, and so much hard work. When we finally went home, we continued to exclusively breastfeed for 17 months.  

 

 

 

The whole experience taught me so many important lessons.  The first is - everyone's milk comes in a different times.  If your body takes longer than 3-5 days then that's OK.  Don't think there is anything wrong with you - because there is not.  Trust your body and give it time and it will come as long as you keep up the demand.  Keep feeding or keep pumping, and it will come slower or faster than you might think.

 

The second lesson I learned is that every birth and breastfeeding experience is different no matter how many times you do it.  Every baby is different, and your body is different too.  You never really know what will happen when you give birth, but whether you are home with a midwife or in the hospital, know that you are in good hands and you will have support if you need it. 

 

The third lesson I learned is that supplementing with formula, when necessary, will not ruin your breastfeeding experience if you continue to pump for those formula feeds. I was so so scared to give my baby formula, because I thought she wouldn't re-latch at my breast.  But really, she was getting fed with the calories she needed, and I kept pumping to help my milk come in, and I kept her at my breast as much as I could that first week too. Even when you have a decrease in supply, for whatever reason, know that successful breastfeeding is not exclusive breastfeeding, and know that every drop you give is what matters most.  

 

Little Sunday Story Time Peach By Christina-Marie

Breastfeeding is the easiest thing in the world they said… 

And it is! Only after you have both figured out how to do it. Don't get me wrong. I love it now that we have the hang of it but there were a few hiccups along the way... 
It turns out there can be lots of problems. In breastfeeding class they talked us through how to get the perfect latch and what you can do before the baby comes and what to do if you don't have enough milk. But never was it mentioned that you can have TOO MUCH MILK or an overactive let down.

Our first encounter with book leakage was when I was 16 weeks pregnant and after a hormonal cry in bed I noticed a wet patch on my top in my boob area. " I think I dribbled" I blinked at my partner through my tears to. He smiled and pointed at my other boob. "On both sides?!" I quickly realised my colostrum was leaking. How embarrassing… From then on accidents happened more often and I decided to wear breast pads whenever out in public and in bed to avoid waking up with wet nighties. 

From then on it never occurred to me breastfeeding would be challenging as my boobs obviously seemed to know what to do. 

Once we had Rose it was different. Although she latched perfectly she choked a lot and my breastpads couldn’t keep up with the leakage from the other side. A midwife explained to me that I had an overactive let-down along with too much milk, so she recommended a feeding cup to pop in the other side of my bra when feeding. Thank you to whoever invented these glorious cups that would safe me from changing my breastpads what felt like 100 times a day. Often I had to empty them half way through a feed, but at least it saved us a lot of money. 

A few weeks in when we were out with other new mums I had to excuse myself to the bathroom to empty my feeding cup. So, I asked one of the other mums to hold my baby so I could pour the contents away. She was horrified! How could I be pouring this liquid gold down the drain? She had been to hospital for an extended period and had gotten to know that the local milk bank was desperate for breastmilk. I hadn't realised that premature babies, mothers of babies with mastectomies and babies who were in hospital in intensive care so desperately need real breastmilk with all its precious antibodies and nutrients to build their immune system in this vulnerable time. Unfortunately, technology hasn't managed to create a formula with all these vital ingredients.

So I called the local milk bank and after a quick blood check I became a milk donor. I express as and when it suits me. There are no obligations what so ever. I don't need to donate a certain amount or by a certain time. I express at my leisure. Personally, I pump once a day and/ or save the excess milk leakage caught by my breast milk cup, put it in the sterilised container the hospital provides me and freeze it until I meet with the breast milk collection lady from hospital. All I have to do is put it in a cooler bag with some ice packs and hand it over to her. It's so easy! They are in such desperate need of milk, my local collection lady even drives all the way to meet me in her free time to take it to hospital.

It feels great to know I am helping other babies out there. And my boobs feel better for it too!
I am writing this because I would like to spread the word. Hopefully together we can give more babies a great start on life with all that important nourishment they need so much in their first days and weeks of life!

Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Glenis

My wife and I are planning to co-nurse, and I have been in the process of Inducing Lactation since January. We are currently 27 weeks pregnant! I am getting ready to start pumping every 2-3 hours starting June 30th!

I am passionate and so excited to be doing this that I created an Instagram page to detail every single step of my journey. I wanted a safe and open environment where I could share all my milestones. I also am an advocate for breastfeeding and I wanted to use this platform to do just that. I am already able to hand express 1 oz a day!

For me and in my experience, I received the most pushback from doctors. I found out through this process that many doctors don’t even know that inducing lactation is even possible. I had to see 4 different doctors before I could find one that was willing to work with me through this journey. For me, being under the care of a doctor was very important because I was about to embark on a journey that I have never been on before and I was going to be taking medications to do this. I just didn’t feel comfortable doing this alone.

For my wife and I, our goal is to co-breastfeed our baby. Since I will be staying home with my wife and the baby for the first 2 months, we plan on taking turns nursing in the beginning. Once I go back to work, I am planning on pumping at work and breastfeeding in the early mornings and evenings. My wife and I will have to pump when we aren’t breastfeeding to keep our supply. I know this won’t be as easy as it sounds and maybe our goals may change once the baby is here but the most important thing is that my wife and I will be working together as a team and communicating with each other. Our hope is that we find a rhythm that works for us so that we can breastfeed as long as the baby is interested. We don’t have a cutoff date, and to us it doesn’t matter what society feels comfortable with.

What inspired us to want to co-breastfeed was so that we could both share the bonding that comes with breastfeeding and to also share the responsibilities of motherhood. When we both became aware of inducing lactation, it was a no brainer for us. We knew right away that co-breastfeeding was the route we wanted to go.

This will be my wife’s first time being pregnant and breastfeeding. I didn’t receive as much support as I should have with our first two children with regards to breastfeeding and I found out the hard way that breastfeeding isn’t always as easy or as natural as people make it seem. Luckily my wife has me. I have so much information and experience to share with her regarding breastfeeding. I also plan to be there for her every step of the way to guide and support her through this process.

I have lots of advice and tips but the most important one that I could give is to NEVER give up on a bad day! Inducing lactation is not easy and it takes time but if you focus on the reward then it will all be worth it.

It’s important to note that the Newman Goldfarb Protocol isn’t the only way to induce lactation. But after doing extensive research, I found that the Newman Goldfarb Protocol seems to be the most popular and most effective to induce lactation. It starts by “tricking your body into thinking it’s pregnant” by taking a combination birth control (active only pills) and increasing your prolactin levels by taking a medication called Domperidone. The hormones each have a role to play to prepare your breasts to make milk.

The protocol suggests having at least 22 to 24 weeks in preparation time, it’s very important that if you decide to go with the protocol that you start as early as possible for best results. For the most up to date information I recommend visiting Dr. Jack Newman’s website on inducing lactation.

 

Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Rachel

Breastfeeding was always something I was open minded about. My mum breastfed me, my brother and two sisters. She had my younger sisters when I was in my late teens which even then I could see the bond breastfeeding gave them and how it nurtured them. I knew it was something I wanted to try and do from before I even became pregnant. I work with a lot of women and have several friends with children and got lots of mixed stories about pregnancy, labour and feeding. Some negative ones that could of easily put anyone off for life. However towards the end of my pregnancy my husband and I met with a midwife assistant. She was going to give us a feeding talk....I had no idea what to expect beforehand but it was so helpful. She fully explained all that was necessary to know about breastfeeding (she also covered alternatives) and made it so easy to understand for both me and my husband who to be honest was a bit clueless (I mean that in a nice way). She explained each part of the process and what to expect (milk coming in, emotions, latching and let downs etc). She also told us her breastfeeding journey with her own children. To have a health professional sit and take the time to explain this clearly was the best possible opportunity for us both and I am so glad she did. One thing completely stuck in my head she said which was “breastfeeding can take up to six weeks to become established, but if you get to day ten you have cracked it”. 

 

So when my little bundle arrived 18th December 2017 I was fully prepared and equipped with my new found knowledge and ready for it all to begin. Unfortunately due to a reluctant placenta I got whipped away to theatre so couldn’t have the “golden hour” everyone goes on about the importance of but once I got back I popped her on and she took the boob no problem. After a few days I noticed my nipples were beginning to become painful and chapped which worried me that my journey was going to get cut short but in my head I kept thinking I just want to get to day ten and persevered. After some googling, guidance on latch positioning from my lovely midwife and plenty of nipple cream I was able to continue and have been exclusively breastfeeding my daughter since. She is now nearly 5 months old and everyday when I look at her I think “I’ve made them little chubby cheeks chubbier” or “that little fat roll came about because of the milk my body has produced”. As cheesy as it sounds I absolutely love feeding her myself and watching her grow. It’s also created a bond with her I cannot put into words how special it is. 

 

I recently got a visit from my two young sisters (age 11 & 9) who when I asked if they would try breastfeeding when they had a baby, I got an immediate “Yes!” 

I felt so proud and happy they would feel comfortable and confident to try it too and I really hope they do. 

 

I am so lucky to have such an amazing husband, family and friends who have supported and encouraged me to breastfeed which I feel as made it easy for all of us to do. Along with the support of our local nhs services. I have had such a positive experience and would love to share my story to inspire other mamas/mamas to be. 

Little Sunday Story time Peach by Amelia

I’d always known I wanted to breastfeed, I loved the idea of the closeness and bond I would share with my baby so when my daughter was born in October last year it was a no brainer.

 

My active labour was 26 hours and I was expecting to have skin to skin straight away and to feed my baby. Due to complications during labour she had to be taken away 20 minutes after delivery to have a cannula inserted into her hand so she could be given antibiotics. It was the longest 1.5 hours of my life! 

By the time she came back, I’d been stitched up and she had woken she had already been earthside for 7 hours. I asked a Midwife to help me feed as I have inverted nipples so new it may be more difficult and I didn’t have a clue what to do. The Midwife pulled and fiddled with my breast until there was something for my daughter to try and latch onto but she really struggled and the pain was pretty intense because she couldn’t latch properly. I cried with the pain (and the exhaustion!) and the Midwife told me I was going to struggle so maybe give her some formula. The help ended there. 

 

We gave my daughter the colostrum the midwife manually expressed from me (which was a little humiliating even after giving birth!) from a syringe which she took but I already felt like a failure 7 hours into motherhood. 

 

3 days after my daughter was born we were waiting to be discharged when a different Midwife came round to organise my discharge papers. She asked how I was feeding and I explained to her that I wanted to nurse but why I couldn’t so baby was on formula. She went away and came back with a nipple shield for us to try. It took 10 minutes and my daughter was breastfeeding! This Midwife took an hour out of her busy schedule to teach me how to feed my baby. I cried tears of joy that this simple tool could allow me to feed my baby. The Midwife was concerned that my milk may have started to dry up but it was flowing out easy and baby was loving it. We had to say in hospital for 3 nights and I strongly believe that meeting this Midwife was the reason, if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be feeding my daughter. So I guess my breastfeeding story is mostly down to luck and a little perseverance. If someone tells you you can’t do something, chances are there are ways around it. 7.5 months on and I’m still feeding my baby and I LOVE it. 

Little Sunday Story Time Peach By Lucy

In June 2016 my partner and i received the most devastating news. I was nearly 37 weeks pregnant and our first precious baby Reuben had died. Four days later, on Fathers Day, I gave birth to our perfect baby boy, who looked as if he had just slipped into a newborn slumber. I was petrified of seeing him, holding him, falling in love with him. I didn't know if my heart could take it.

 

During my pregnancy I had thought about breastfeeding, but I was of the opinion I would give it a go but if it wasn't for us I would bottle feed. Of course, this became irrelevant. I would never get the chance. What surprised me when I held Reuben for the first time, tears pouring from my eyes, is that my maternal instinct kicked in straight away. I felt such a rush of love. I was ecstatic that I was holding my boy, I was desperate to feed him, to nurture him. Emotions that I never expected. I knew he had died but I couldn't switch off the instinct to care for him. I held him to my chest, desperate for him to wake up and latch for the first time. For me to wake up and realise it was a nightmare and our lives hadn't fallen apart. His death was unexplained. The consultant said "it was one of those things". Words which still haunt me.

 

I guess this was the beginning of my breastfeeding journey. The beginning of a fascination and a love affair with something so natural but so magical. 5 months after losing Reuben I was pregnant again. Petrified, anxious, afraid. But absolutely determined not only to have a living, breathing, screaming baby but to breastfeed. This time would be different. 

 

Like all journeys in life, there are bumps in the road. I was induced early due to my overwhelming anxiety and 4 days before Reuben's 1st birthday our second son, Thijs, arrived. All was well at first until he was struggling to oxygenate and was whisked off to the NICU. I was dazed, confused and overwhelmed.

 

Thijs spent a few hours in the NICU and was soon breathing independently and transferred to the Special Care Baby Unit. He slept a lot (He arrived very quickly) and was jaundiced. He was fed glucose via a tube but I had made it clear I wanted to breastfeed and was keen to get going. Due to his sleepiness latching on was near impossible. I was advised to pump to bring my milk in so sat day and night by his little cot with a hospital-grade pump attached to me. Slowly but surely I was pumping colostrum which he was fed first by tube and then by cup. I felt so proud of myself - even though the amounts I was producing were tiny I knew how beneficial it was for Thijs. 

 

We were unable to go home until Thijs would feed. He lost 8% of his body weight and I began to feel the pressure. It was suggested I give him formula via a cup. I felt defeated. I thought my body wasn't working, I wasn't doing enough. So I looked for help. Apparently there was breastfeeding support available in the hospital but no-one could find any details. It turned out there was no support anymore. The staff did as much as they could, but understandably their focus was on the sick babies in their care. I felt so alone. 

 

My ray of sunshine was a trainee nurse who was only 19. She was on placement and sat with me first showing me how to express by hand to give Thijs a taste and then encouraging him to latch. After many failed attempts, Thijs latched. I felt it. It felt different. I cried. This trainee nurse gave me so much encouragement. After noticing the pressure I was under to give him formula in order to get him home she whispered "if you want to breastfeed stick to your guns. You can do it." 

 

I practiced feeding Thijs anytime he was awake. Luckily we had a room next to the unit so I could be with him at any time. I kept pumping. I kept feeding. His weight stabilised and I insisted we could go home - I knew we could succeed together. The consultant said he admired my drive to breastfeed and told me to keep going. Words which meant so much to an exhausted and overwhelmed mum.

 

It was a rocky couple of weeks at home, the health visitor came out often and as Thijs was slow to gain weight at first she insisted "I wasn't producing enough milk." I knew this was inaccurate. Thijs had wet nappies and was satisfied and alert. His jaundice levels were subsiding. He just needed time. She came out when Thijs was around 4 weeks old and before she had even weighed him she said again "you're not producing enough, you need to top him up". However, she weighed him and he had put on a pound in a week. I felt vindicated. I WAS enough. I COULD do it. There was nothing wrong with my supply. She didn't apologise, but she never questioned my supply again.

 

He has gone from strength to strength. Breastfeeding is so hard but oh my goodness so worth it. For the first 3 months he fed every hour. For the next 3 he didn't sleep at all during the night unless he was feeding. And now, at almost a year old he still loves the boob. We co-sleep (I wish I had done this from day one!), he naps on me during the day and feeds whenever he wants to. The bond between us is so special and I will continue to breastfeed for as long as he wants to. I'm proud of him and I'm proud of me. 

 

If it hadn't have been for that young trainee nurse perhaps this story would have been different. Despite being told by every healthcare professional that breast is best, support for new mums to breastfeed is not always available. Support is vital to encourage mothers to continue and persevere. It gets easier but it takes hard work. It takes practice. It takes confidence. I knew we would get there but I was determined. 

 

As the weeks have turned into months, breastfeeding has become second nature to both Thijs and I. If I could pass on any advice to new mums it would be trust your abilities, trust your body and trust your instincts. Don't give up on your worst day. It gets easier. 

 

Reuben, thank you for making me a mother. I didn't get to feed and nurture you but you will always be my first born and my inspiration. Thijs, thank you for giving me the chance to be a mother again. I am so proud of you.

 

Lucy x 

 

 

Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Eugenia

The previous trip:
From 2016 to 2017, I was travelling on my bicycle with my partner throughout South
America. We did parts of Venezuela, we then explored Colombia’s beautiful beaches, we
pedalled our way through Ecuador and we found out about Lautaro (our baby) in Peru.
In Ecuador, we stayed with a family of 7 on the coast. We were always talking about life, our
plans, and how different our cultures were, especially with the mum and her grandchildren
...but I remember one day in particular when she started telling my partner and I that she
gave birth to all her sons and daughters in her house and how she squatted when the actual
birth was happening so she could ‘’release’’ them in a ‘’better’’ way...as it was something her
mum and grandmother had told her to do.
She also told us how she drank an alcoholic beverage her family had prepared as soon as
they found out they were pregnant and would leave it hidden under the earth so it could be
fermented and they would drink it a couple of hours after the birth. So yeah, you can imagine
this stuck in my head up until now. Why was she talking about all of these things if we
weren’t really thinking about becoming parents...yet.
Less than a month after that conversation happened, we were expecting our first child.

Planting some roots:

Back then we decided that the best thing to do in order to keep us all safe was to sell
everything and start making our way to Argentina - where my partner is from. Everything was
changing really fast, things were hectic, we didn’t know what to do or to think.
We decided we wanted to do things our way. This meant we would give birth in our house
(even though it is changing now, there is still a long way to go, home births are something
that is not very common to see in Argentina, especially as it has one the highest rates of c-
sections in South America). I mean, all I could remember was this woman in Ecuador telling
us her birthing stories and we just thought that was the path we wanted to take.

Lautaro’s personal choice:
I remember week 33 of my pregnancy as if it was yesterday. It was on a Monday morning
when my main midwife and 2 doulas (one of them was also pregnant at the time), would
come to the house for another check-up. I made breakfast, we drank some mates (a
traditional guarani beverage that is highly consumed in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay),
and we couldn’t stop laughing and talking.
Carolina -my midwife- felt the baby’s heartbeats, Marian and Mercedes -my doulas- were
touching the belly and giving me massages and they were being the most amazing women

and friends I could have ever asked for. The sun had come out that day and things were
truly magical...and they were about to be more intense and magical than ever before in life.
After they left I went to the town centre to get some things. I remember I felt very tired once I
got back home so I decided to lay down for a bit..and I just thought ‘’Ah, I’m really tired
today, must be all the walking, I can’t believe I used to do 100 km a day on a bicycle now I
can’t even walk from the bus stop to my house without getting tired’’

The lifelong trip:

After that everything comes and goes. I thought I had peed myself. It turns out my water
broke during sleep and I found myself calling Carolina, I was shocked, not knowing what to
do and wanting it to be all a dream. But it wasn’t. In reality, I had to take a taxi and headed to
the Maternity ward, and I waited and waited and waited. Our family dream of having our
baby in the house was now shattered ‘’as you will leave this maternity with your baby in your
arms’’.
I gave birth to Lautaro three days after that. I was amazed at how good he smelt and how he
was so tiny yet so big because he just came out of me. He was perfectly fine, we were really
lucky I thought, he weighed 2.270 ks and he had a nice length as well. I wanted to keep him
there with me, I had read so much about the first hour of life and I just wanted us to stay in
that moment forever. But reality is different, as we all know. The nurses took him away and
his dad followed them, so they could perform all these exams they do once the baby is born.
He was born at 8:30 pm, and at 10 pm I went to Neo for the first time to offer him my
blessings...my breasts.

Breastfeeding is the new journey:

Oh boy, little did I know. He latched immediately to my left breast, all the nurses were
surprised to see him eating away from his mum. Doctors wanted to keep him in Neocare
because of legal procedures and to see if he was sucking well enough to be released from
the ward. Every three hours I had to go to Neo to feed him. The first night they allowed me to
stay there for longer periods of time because I genuinely didn’t know what was happening or
what to do. His first latch was perfect...the second one not so much.
My body was not fully prepared to receive Lautaro. My colostrum was still up there
somewhere and during his feedings he would get really nervous (because I was also really
nervous), he would fall asleep (as I would fall asleep too), he would start crying (as I couldn’t
stop crying as I felt minimized because I couldn’t even offer him my milk). Of course, I now
look back and understand my hormones were dancing inside of me, and the situation was
really different from what I had imagined for 8 months in my head. I had just given birth!

On that Friday the lactation consultant came for a visit and she offered her tips and would
explain the importance of a correct latch. But I still wouldn’t get it right, I didn’t understand
why Lautaro wouldn’t eat if I was offering -perhaps too intensively because I wanted him to
gain weight and suck on properly so we could be in our house- and he would keep on
refusing.
All the nurses started coming to see me, and we all reached the conclusion that my nipples
were not really out for him to find a proper way of feeding, so the doctors decided to put a
feeding tube on Lautaro’s nose. It was horrible to see him like this, I felt even more guilty,
depressed like no one was really understanding how much I wanted to feed him. I kept
talking to the nurses and one of them suggested ‘’what if you pump yourself and we give him
your milk instead of formula?’’. And that is what saved us.
I started pumping myself and soon enough Lautaro was steadily gaining weight and he was
happy and well enough. I spoke to the doctors and asked them if we could give it another try
to breastfeeding and they agreed but ‘’Lautaro would still have the tube just in case though’’.
I realised I had to calm myself down first if I wanted Lautaro to latch on and feed himself. I
understood the importance of the milk I produce and how everything I eat would give him the
nutrients he needed as well. I came to terms with the way I gave birth because he was now
with us and he was getting better by the day. I realised I had to let go of many beliefs,
feelings of despair and sadness, because I now had met the truest joy, the truest light, and
the truest love, and above all, I realised we were so very lucky to be experiencing all of this
because it was a truly humbling experience.
Two weeks later we were officially on our way home.

Time is going by:
It wasn’t until Lautaro was born that I knew the meaning of the phrase ‘’time flies’’. He is now
7 months old, loves his boobies and his boobie time. He has perfectioned his feeding
techniques, well, to be fair both of us have. We sleep together so he is on a ‘’self-service’’
regime during night feedings, and nowadays two of his teeth are coming out, so you can
imagine what is like: breastfeeding 24/7.
All our family members were telling us we should give him formula because we needed to
rest and they would explain how babies gain weight faster if they are formula-fed, (and if it is
your case I completely respect you and will never judge you), but for us as a family, for my
baby and I, for our relationship, breastfeeding was the only way we wanted to feed our son
and it was the right thing to do for us..still is.
I have now become a breastfeeding enthusiast, even if a couple of years ago a part of me
was still somehow ‘’shocked’’ whenever I saw someone breastfeeding. I love it, and I want to
normalize it, because it is the most normal, beautiful, mammal thing we do. We give love and
nurture our babies.

Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Emily

When I fell pregnant with my first I knew I really wanted to breastfeed. I hadn’t really thought about
how I’d feel if I couldn’t as I knew I really wanted to. I spoke with my midwife and attended NCT
classes which really promoted breastfeeding. Luckily when my first was born he latched on straight
away. This is easy I thought. Once I was home and 3 days in he fed from 11pm until 4am when I
woke my partner up to take him away. This was the day my milk came in hence the feeding all night
long. For the next few days my nipples were so sore when he latched on, it hurt so much I can
remember biting down on my hand. Within a few days it had past and I was really enjoying feeding
him. Day 10 arrived and he got weighed, he’d lost 10% of his birth weight so the midwife said I
needed to top him up with formula. I didn’t want to do this as I wanted to exclusively breastfeed, I
spent the next 2 days crying. They came to weigh him again and weren’t happy that I hadn’t topped
him up with formula, I’d tried expressing and topping him up with that, They told me if he wasn’t
topped up with formula he would end up in hospital. As a first time mum I “did as I was told,” and
topped him up. Once he retured to his birth weight I stopped the formula feeds and began soley
breastfeeding again. At 3 weeks old I was finding that he was really hard to settle at night and was
constantly bringing his legs up. He would also feed on one breast and poo (green poo) before
feeding on the other side and pooing again. Several visits to the GP and he was diagnosed with cows
milk protein intolerance and was prescribed some special formula. After a few days he was like a
different baby. I did some research and discovered I could continue breastfeeding if I gave up dairy
however it takes 2 weeks to leave your body. For 2 long weeks I pumped my milk and poured it
down the sink in order to keep up my supple. I was determined to continue feeding, I really loved
feeding him and felt that our feeding journey had only just begun. After 2 weeks I returned to
feeding him, still giving him the odd bottle of formula. I remaind dairy free for 8 months until I
returned to work full time and made the decision to stop.
18 months later I gave birth to my second baby boy, again he latched on straight away. During my
stay in hospital I had several chats with the breastfeeding support worker where she checked my
latch and assured me we were doing it right. I was discharged at 6pm and by 1am I was on the
phone to them crying. My baby wouldn’t latch on and was screaming, I was told that he’ll latch
when hes hungry. It was a long night. Luckily I managed to speak to my community mideife first
thing the next day and she requested an early home visit. The midwife came and supported me with
my latch and position. My nipples were sore for a while and we have had days/nights where it felt
like he fed for ages. He didn’t lose much birth weight but took a while to return to his birth weight
due to reflux. Hes 9 months old now and we’re still breastfeeding. Since starting weaning he only
has 3 feeds a day, morning, morning nap and evening. He does however wake every 2 hours for a
feed. Des[ite the lack of sleep I am loving every minute of it and have no plans to stop anytime soon.

Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Leah

I was anxious throughout my whole pregnancy. It all started around week 6 when I'd had some heavy bleeding, a dash to the hospital to check if everything was okay fuelled with nerves, this sort of set the tone for my whole pregnancy. The bleeding continued on and off throughout the first trimester, every time I was scanned the baby was fine. And on we went. I'd met my partner in September '16 and we moved in together soon after. I was pregnant by the 5th month marking us living together, completely planned so no surprise just joy that it hadn't taken us very long to conceive. I'd lost my older sister to cancer in my 20's, had many failed relationships along with a history of child abuse which resulted in years of therapy so getting pregnant was a huge deal to me I wouldn't take the blessing for granted. I wanted to protect the baby I'd wanted for so long as the thought of miscarrying was, well just not happening. So on we went. My morning sickness was horrendous, I was sick like nothing I've ever felt before. Most foods along with body products like shampoo made me gag horrendously, I had to eat every hour and a half white bread and sliced cheese one of the few meals I could stomach. I drank sparkling mineral water only for months, at times I cried the sickness was so intense. Then along came week 20 and I started to get my appetite back. Slowly I started to exercise and found my new rhythm as a pregnant woman. I was working as a nanny at the time which had been my chosen career for 20 odd years but the long days had me exhausted so I quit at week 26. From this time on I took care of myself, my partner and our growing baby along with catching up on paperwork and looking for a new place for us to live as we were in shared accommodation. All our scans went well. The baby was growing and I enjoyed feeling her wriggle and kick day to day. The anxiety never subsided though and I took extreme care going about my day to day life. Around week 30 another type of sickness set in and I felt dizzy and weak a lot of the time which carried on until I gave birth. Eating wine gums and drinking ginger beer was a saviour albeit very unhealthy it was all I could do to help. Trips to the shops were hard, I managed to keep up my daily walks which I was happy about as it gave me time to bond with the baby singing and talking as I went. 

 

Fast forward to week 36, baby was breech so I employed lots of ideas to help move her which worked. I was happy as a csection was not on my to do list. By week 38 talk of induction was happening. This is where it all went wrong for me. I never wanted an induction but I was influenced greatly by my family  situation and bearing in mind that my babies placenta might stop working past 40 weeks I got scared. 40 weeks and still no sign of our baby. Induction booked for 41+3. Nervously we went along to the hospital not knowing what to expect my pessary was inserted on a Sunday afternoon and the time between this and our daughter being born was far from the wholesome birth experience I had written up in my birthing plan. 

 

Contractions started within 1/2 hour and at first they were remotely manageable. After around an hour of experiencing 7 contractions every 10 minutes I was a wreck. It burnt like hell. It was like the weight of an elephant was pressing down on my uterous. I paced the halls. I took gas and air. We were transferred to the Labour Ward as soon as a room was free and there I sat contracting like a maniac for 48 hours. I was in agony so I opted for an epidural which worked for some time and the wore off completely. I sat unable to move in my hospital bed being examined continuously awaiting full dilation in a haze of drugs with those awful belts wrapped round my stomach monitoring the baby who everyone said 'seemed very calm' throughout. 

 

Finally I dilated. I pushed for over an hour with no joy. I had more pain relief and was advised that my baby would need help being delivered. At this point I cried and agreed to an instrumental delivery because again - a csection was not on my to do list. The recovery time was not an option as my partner had to work long hours so I would need my strength to look after the baby. More pain relief, unable to feel anything from my breasts down I was guided by the hospital staff on what was happening and when I am needed to push. Forceps and suction were needed and our baby girl was born at 2:39pm 7/11/17 weighing 4.2kgs, 62cms long. My partner saw her first he held her as I was having her placenta manually removed. She was out. I felt relief. And on we went. 

 

I lost a lot of blood and we both caught an infection due to the length of time my waters had been broken. Our girl was taken to the NICU and I was left to recover on Ward. Well that I did not do. I couldn't walk but I needed to be near my baby so my partner pushed me in a wheelchair to sit with her. It was harrowing. I was so weak and she was ill. I had severe bladder and bowel incontenance and so began my road to recovery after my instrumental birth experience. Home we went on day 6, to be honest I didn't want to leave the hospital as I had support, at home it was unknown how I would cope. I muddled through. I am still muddling through. On I go. 

 

5 months later and our baby is beautiful. She has hit all her developmental milestones so far, we've had the most beautiful breastfeeding experience (after a painful establishment as most must endure) in which I am able to exclusively breastfeed her night and day with no pumping. I love this time we have together and in some way it compensates the agony I have had to face and still face daily. From the pelvis down I am weak to my knees, going to the loo walking etc have all taken time to establish new strengths. I've been back and forth to various doctors but all the tests I've had so far show no major damage nothing that extensive physio cannot fix. My belly still sits at 4 months pregnant and I'm okay with that. It's taken time to get my head around the fact I have had this experience but talking it out helps, I've been able to gain knowledge and know others too have been affected the same way and my case is in no way the worst. I am fortunate. I am blessed. She is here. 

 

And on we go. Me and my daughter attended our first playgroup yesterday, one of many activities I can't wait to see her grow and flourish in. 

 

I pray all you pregnant first time mums out there have the birthing experience that you desire. Seek advice on alternatives and be prepared. I am blessed to have my baby and a very supportive partner and to me that is all that matters from here on out. Minnie Valentina Apollonio, a gift from God. 

 

 

Thank you for reading my story!

Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Julia



When I was pregnant with my little girl I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I attended prenatal breastfeeding classes and bought some nipple cream and thought that was it. 

When she arrived I couldn’t feed her straight away as due to some complications with the birth. The Midwife helped me with the first feed and pretty much clamped her to my breast for about 30mins. 
For the first 24 hours the baby just wasn’t interested in feeding at all, she’d just go to sleep. Alone in the hospital I was terrified that she was dehydrated and just sat there with her asleep on my chest willing her to wake up and latch on. After the first night it was all on...she was so hungry and I had no idea what I was doing. I’d used up all the antenatally expressed colostrum that I had bought to the hospital and the hospital Midwife offered to express colostrum for me. In my exhausted state I agreed; it was pretty humiliating. 
Once we were home I tried so hard to feed her, through toe curling latches, extreme engorgement, severely damaged nipples and a hungry, constantly screaming baby. My husband and I developed this ridiculous routine of him holding my breast while I tried to latch baby on...if only we had filmed it, it could have been used as a “how not to breastfeed” video 😬
On day 8 I had a melt down and decided to ring a lactation consultant. She agreed to see me the same day and gave me nipple shields to help empty my red, sore, engorged breasts. Baby had a severe tongue and upper lip tie. We decided to leave it alone and see how we got on. She also had terrible reflux and wind and was always hungry. 
I was told by health visitors to stretch out her feeds to 2-3 hourly but this only made things worse.
At 6 weeks we decided to get the tongue and lip tie treated. Things got better, but I continued to use the nipple shields until she was about 3 months old. I was too scared to stop using them and every time I tried to wean her off them I convinced myself she wasn’t getting any milk.  Feeds would take well over an hour and were very frequent, she’d constantly fall asleep while feeding.
At about 10 weeks her weight started to drop. I was told by health visitors to top up feeds with formula and that my milk wasn’t enough for my baby. 
So another visit to the lovely lactation consultant gave me confidence to ditch the shields and try to learn to breastfeed without them. After a couple of weeks spent at home continuously nursing, something clicked. I was finally feeding my baby. It wasn’t taking over an hour. She was gaining weight. I couldn’t believe it. After feeling like a failure for 3 months with a scrawny, underweight, hungry, crying little baby, my girl got little rolls and chubby cheeks. 
She’s now 7 months old and still nursing. I’m back at work part time too and pumping so that she can continue to have breastmilk when we are apart. 
I love nursing now, except the biting with the new teeth...I don’t love that 😂
I wish I had known about your page in those early days. It turns out I just needed some support and advice to be able to continuing nursing my bubba. 

 

Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Emily

 

 

Growing up, I had watched my mum breastfeeding my younger sisters and it always seemed so natural and normal. I had always assumed I would also breastfeed my children with no problem and when I became pregnant this was reinforced further. To be honest, I hadn’t given much thought to the possibility of not being able to. As my pregnancy progressed, I read a little about breastfeeding and there was a separate breastfeeding session within the NCT course I was on which we attended. During this taught session, I could answer a lot of the questions and felt pretty clued up. My midwife asked if I’d plan on breastfeeding. I said yes and this was the end of the discussion.

So fast forward to the birth of my daughter. I’d written in my birth plan that it was important to me that I attempt breastfeeding as soon as possible and as soon as she was born she was put to my breast. She didn’t latch and the midwives reassured me that this is normal and to just spend time doing lots of skin to skin and we’d get there. Six hours after she was born, she still hadn’t latched but I wasn’t too worried. At that point, a midwife support worker asked if I would try hand expressing into a syringe to feed my baby. Of course I would but I had no idea how to! I was grateful for her to just do it for me and collect enough to feed my baby. After all, I’d had a six day labour which ended in a forceps delivery and I was beyond exhausted.

Throughout the night I managed to get a couple of millilitres of colostrum into my baby via syringe but she still hadn’t mastered latching. From everywhere I’d read and heard, new babies fed roughly every 2 hours so why hadn’t my baby even cried for milk? Again, I was reassured that it had been a long labour and a stressful delivery and her head may be hurting and she’s tired and may not have fancied feeding. Also, their little tummies can get full of mucous so they feel full despite not having had milk. About sixteen hours after she was born, a breastfeeding counsellor came to see me in my hospital bed to offer support. I was in a lot of pain from an episiotomy despite regular pain relief so couldn’t sit upright. She suggested lying on my side and getting baby to latch that way. She stayed about ten minutes, baby hadn’t latched and she said ‘don’t worry, she’ll pick it up at some point' and off she went. This was fine except, when? How long would it take? For now, I was resigned to hand expressing and giving my baby small amounts of milk via a syringe.

Twenty four hours after the birth, a midwife came round and asked if I’d like to go home. To be honest, I wish I’d have said no. I wanted to say that I was worried that my baby hadn’t fed and no one could tell me why. I wanted my baby to have at least latched once before leaving the safety of the hospital. But I was also desperate to get home after such a long labour and no sleep for almost a week. Because I was able to hand express enough to give her, we made the decision to go home. So off we went and arrived home with our precious new baby...who wasn’t at all interested in feeding. She didn’t really give any clues that she wanted feeding and never really cried so I just guessed that we should try every few hours. We went to bed that first night home and it was the best night’s sleep I’d had in a couple of months! Not what we were expecting on the first night with a newborn baby! She only woke once that first night for a feed, where I hand expressed a few millilitres to give her. In hindsight, I probably should have set an alarm but I honestly thought she’d wake as we were always told that babies wake frequently.

Throughout the next day, we made several attempts to get her latched. A midwife came to visit who could help me for a few minutes but had to leave due to other visits which I totally get as I know how stretched the services are. On the second night home, we noticed she’d had hardly any wet nappies and was very sleepy. We tried the usual stripping off, splashing with cold water etc. to wake her enough to feed but by this point she was too sleepy to even swallow what we put in her mouth with the syringe. My milk obviously hadn’t come in by this point as we were only day 2 so a bottle of expressed milk wasn’t possible. You might be wondering why I didn’t just give a little bit of formula at this point but to be honest, it hadn’t even crossed my mind. I didn’t have any in the house and no one suggested it any point which I was glad about as for me personally, it wasn’t an option at this point.

I called a community midwife at 11:30 that night and explained what was going on and she asked us to come in to the local community hospital to check her over for jaundice. She was given the all clear for jaundice but said that she was a little dehydrated. I felt so guilty that I hadn’t given her enough but equally, as a first time mum very new to all this, it’s really hard to know what you should be doing. It turns out, hand expressing is actually pretty hard and is quite a skill! That evening, the midwife asked me if she could do the hand expressing for me. I’d never been so relieved to have a stranger quite literally ‘milk' me! She got loads more than I’d been able to and it made me realise how much she should have been having. Despite not wanting to give a formula feed, I absolutely would have if my baby’s health had truly been at risk.

Until my milk came in, I continued to hand express day and night into little cups which she would lap up like a cat. I felt reassured that she was getting enough but my goodness, hand expressing was hard! My husband even had to help as I was getting terrible neck pain from doing it. I don’t think either of us thought we’d be having to do this...it certainly took our marriage to another level! I was looking forward to my milk coming in so that I could at least express with my pump and bottle feed to make it a little easier. I mentioned this to the midwife who said that it was really important that I didn’t go down this route as baby may then be even less likely to ever master breastfeeding. I felt really stuck because I wasn’t getting much support with getting her to latch but also being told not to bottle feed as it would hinder our chances further.

On day four, my milk came in and despite being advised not to, I expressed milk and gave in a bottle. I’m so glad I trusted my gut in doing this. I was still frequently trying to get her to latch herself by doing lots of skin to skin and reading everything going on the best positions and what I could do to help her. But this kid was just not interested. On day six, the nursery nurse who works with my health visiting team came to my house for an hour to give us some support. My midwife had told me that she’s specifically trained in breastfeeding and that I should finally get the support I needed. I was feeling hopeful that she’d be able to wave her magic wand and get my baby breastfeeding. So for a whole hour, the nursery nurse just kept forcing a screaming, hungry baby at my breast until she had to give in and say that it was no good. So off she went. My only hope of getting my baby to breastfeed. I felt pretty deflated but not willing to give up hope.

The following day, I spoke to another midwife who suggested I go to my local breastfeeding cafe for support which had never been mentioned until this point. I was assured that if they couldn’t help, not much could...how reassuring! For the first time since my baby’s birth, I cried because it suddenly hit me that perhaps by baby would never master breastfeeding. I felt so sad as it was something I desperately wanted to do. My husband was fantastic, as were my whole family in supporting me and not once did they suggest I give up but also put no pressure on me to battle on. To this day I’m so grateful for this. I made the decision at this time, that if I had to express milk using my pump for the next six months, then this is what I would do.

The following day (day 7) I went off to my local breastfeeding cafe and met a midwife there who changed everything. She did a full assessment of my baby, including checking for tongue tie and her jaw and just looked at me and said ‘she’ll be fine and will feed from you’. Confident? Yes. But she was absolutely right. It also turns out she was my mums midwife almost 30 years ago which was wonderful to know. What eventually enabled my baby to feed was nipple shields. It turns out that my baby’s mouth couldn’t open fully due to her forceps delivery and by using nipple shields, she could open her mouth just enough to latch. The moment she latched, I burst out crying. I was just so happy. I also didn’t really mind at that point if this was all we ever managed, I was just so relieved!

We continued using these for the next week, day and night. When she was 2 weeks old, the same midwife managed to get her to latch for the first time without a shield. From then, we used the shields for most feeds, especially at night time when she was too sleepy to latch properly and she’d do the occasional feed without them. I was absolutely OK with the idea of potentially using nipple shields for the entirety of our breastfeeding journey, however long that might be because to me, that was better than not being able to feed my baby at all. Over the next couple of weeks, we managed to wean her off the shields in the day, just using them at night. They did make feeding in public even harder for a first time mum but from quite early on I was adamant that I if my baby needed feeding, she’d get fed, wherever we were. I soon became very confident, realising there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Luckily I’ve never experienced any negativity from the public. By week 6, we had stopped using shields altogether.

I’m really happy to say that, 9 months down the line we are still breastfeeding and see no signs of stopping anytime soon. It’s now become so easy, I don’t even think about it. All the hard work in the early days truly paid off. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve certainly still had our ups and downs with over supply, engorgement and nursing strikes but with the right support, I feel we’re out the other end. I feel quite emotional when I think that one day, our breastfeeding journey will come to an end but I feel so proud of what we’ve achieved together.

My advice to pregnant women planning on breastfeeding and new mothers at the beginning of their breastfeeding journey would be to seek support early on and insist on daily help in the early days if you’re struggling. Get to your local breastfeeding cafe or seek help from the specialist feeding team at your hospital and perhaps seek support from a cranial osteopath (something I wish we’d done). I also found Facebook support groups, Instagram accounts offering support and other mums an incredible help in those early days and sometimes still fall back on them now if we have struggles or questions. Luckily, I never felt that I was mentally suffering with these difficulties which is why it’s so easy for me to say ‘don’t give up’. I also realise that this isn’t the case for a lot of new mothers and there should be no shame in introducing formula feeds for your baby.

We often hear the term ‘fed is best’ which is of course right, but in my opinion information and support is surely better no matter which route you end up going down in making sure your baby is fed. Whether that be exclusively breastfed, bottle fed with expressed milk, combination feeding or formula fed, a healthy and happy baby is paramount.

Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Jennie

 

When I was pregnant with my daughter I honestly didn’t give much thought to breastfeeding. We went to the NCT breastfeeding session but very much thought I’ll give it a go but if it doesn’t work out I’ll formula feed.

When I look back now I’m a little shocked that no one around me told me that feeding a baby is a big deal! My mum breastfed me and my mother-in-law breastfed too yet neither of them spoke to me about it. I had one friend who I’d seen breastfeeding a few years previously but she was combi feeding so I genuinely thought all babies were mostly fed from bottles and this was the norm. 

Breastfeeding was straight forward for us. After a planned c section for breech presentation Lennie latched on immediately. She fed well, only dropped a little of her birth weight and I was terrified of her crying so just offered boob every time she made a peep. 

At two weeks old her feeding changed. Was there something wrong with my baby?! Breastfeeding is natural why is it so hard?! Why was she feeding so much?! 

Luckily my friend who’d had her baby just a few months before told me about cluster feeding so I started to read. I read and read and I learned and it kept me going. 

Several of the mums in my NCT group stopped breastfeeding fairly early and made comments about how Lennie still feeding frequently at night didn’t seem right (we were in the 4 month sleep regression). My confidence was knocked and I felt isolated. Thankfully around that time I met two other mums who were still breastfeeding and I think my friendship with them helped me to keep going.

Lennie stopped feeding just before her first birthday. It was very natural no fuss no pressure no symbolic final feed she just stopped. 

By then I was already 6 weeks pregnant so I’m convinced that had something to do with it!

Fast forward 9 months and my baby boy was born. Just 19 months behind his sister it was so different to the first time. 

I was complacent about breastfeeding, I knew what I was doing this time.

After a second c section and a bad reaction to the a aesthetic my little boy was feeding well but I knew his latch was terrible. However, there wasn’t much I could do about it while I vomited over his head for the first 12 hours! 

By day 2 my nipples were scabbed and every feed the pain was toe curling. 

If this was my first baby I’d have given up but I knew I could make it work and it was the best option for us. I spoke to a lactation consultant over Skype and went to a cranial osteopath. I was basically topless with a constant supply of nipple cream for a week and by day ten my nipples were healed, my little boy was past his birth weight and we were back on track.

My son has just turned 6 months and we’ve exclusively breastfed throughout. 

We chose not to express or give a bottle as my husband gets up before 6 every morning with my daughter so doesn’t have the scope to take on a night feed too. With two young babies this is just the best way to divide and conquer! 

I’ve definitely learnt breastfeeding is a lottery. My son is very efficient only really on the boob for 10 mins at a time which has been so helpful with a toddler running around needing entertainment. 

I hope to feed him to a year like I did my daughter but at the moment we’re very much going with the flow and will continue to do what works best for us as a whole family. 

 

Little Sunday Story Time Peach by Sophie

When I was pregnant I had full intentions of trying to breastfeed. I thought it was normal, my body had created this growing human inside me therefore to carry on giving our baby the nutrients from my body was just natural. 

When Tabitha was born she latched on pretty much right away and her little mouth created the perfect latch yes it hurt, my boobs where huuuuge but I was fully aware of that happening in the start. 

Unfortunately when she was 6hours old, she had stopped breathing 3 times, with the third being an instant rush to neonatal unit. "What milk would you like us to give your baby" a nurse came and asked me. "My milk, she's breastfed and has been feeding off me all morning" but apparently she was too unwell to feed and they wouldn't allow me to pump. I was devastated. But this was the start of our dedicated breastfeeding journey together. 

 

During our time in hospital I hand expressed every two hours to send down to Nicu the only milk her tiny tummy could handle was mine. And finally 24 hours after she was admitted to Nicu I demanded I fed her myself, i was so proud. 

 

Day 6 we came home, Tabitha lost 10.5% of her birth weight and I kept being encouraged to feed her formula but I new it wasn't right for her, for us. So I persevered, I started pumping after each feed and feeding her with a cup like we did in the nursery before being sent home. 

 

Within 3 weeks her weight was back upto 7lb 8 3/4oz and she was filling into her newborn clothes. I was tired but I new it was worth it. Tabitha wasn't even a month old and I was getting questioned on how long I'm planning on feeding for? I didn't know there was a timescale I just thought a baby fed either breast or bottle surely it didn't matter. 

I loved breastfeeding, I loved the 3am cuddles when it was quiet and just us two. 

These questions continued, at 4 months we went along to our local breastfeeding support group where I mentioned that feeding had been quite hard since around, she was fussing, really windy and arching her back. At this point I was told Tabitha had a slight Tounge tie, which explains not only why she lost so much weight but why it took her a little time to gain. I felt personally she was too old to get it cut and I was taught other positions to feed that may help with the discomfort. 

 

We carried on, 6 months we introduced solids.. what did she prefer? Boob! Around 8 months she really took to her food but I decided to continue feeding on demand, it settled her and provided her with comfort she needed. After learning about Tounge tie and re positioning our feeding techniques Tabitha was gaining weight nicely and we had no further issues. 

 

At 10 months I returned to work, only two days a week but it was hard to start, she refused a bottle id express around 18oz in a 8 hour day for her but the cuddles after work were so lovely, I continued to pump at work every 2/3 hours mimicking our usual feeding so I didn't get sore. Luckily this worked well and I have a great team I work with that understood what I needed to do for our daughter. By the time I'd been back to work a month Tabitha had decided to take a bottle and finally found comfort from that along with her muslin she takes everywhere. 

 

ONE YEAR arrived.. one whole year of booby magic. Tabitha still fed on demand all day everyday out in public, through the night. But I was happy I was proud i gave her everything she needed. 

 

Here is a photo of me feeding on our wedding day. 

 

I stopped expressing at 18months it got to a point where I was getting uncomfortable but also we introduced cows milk too which Tabitha had taken too well. If she is unwell I will still express to give her my milk from a bottle if it's needed. 

 

At almost 21 months I am still feeding on demand. We are still co sleeping, my husband is extremely supportive of this journey. I am so proud of our breastfeeding journey together. She will now ask for "booboob" and it makes me feel so happy I can provide her with what she needs. 

People ask me why I still feed my daughter.. because it's milk that my body made for her. And when she's ready she'll stop. But for now we're happy boobin. 

 

Little Sunday Story time Peach by Suzy

I have been asked by the wonderful Maria here at Little Peach Mama to share with you lovely lot my story. I am a mother to two gorgeous girls, age 4 and 20 months. With both, I had relatively straight forward pregnancies and deliveries ( although I was "blessed" with preeclampsia with my first -but you can read more about that on my own blog) With both girls, I would say th I had a "successful" breastfeeding journey and I absolutely adored every minute of it. However, both experiences were very different and that is what I would like to share with you today.

When I was pregnant with Lily, I didn't really think about formula feeding. I work in the NHS and the benefits of breastfeeding are fairly plastered around the wards and waiting areas in most of the buildings I work in. When I was 31 weeks pregnant, my first niece was born and my sister in law took to breastfeeding like a pro, so naturally I thought I would follow suit. 

At 40+1 I delivered a beautiful baby girl who was immediately brought up to my chest and encouraged to attach to my boob. She didn't latch and didn't really show much interest in it until a couple of hours later. When up in the ward, the midwives were so lovely. Gary had been sent away as she was born at 2am so they attached her for me lying down and we both snuggled together- bliss. I then managed to get her to feed a couple of times after so I was allowed home, just 10 hours after giving birth. A couple of hours after getting home, I received a phone call from my local authority breastfeeding support service to check how things was going and how I was feeling, and arranged to come out and see me the next day. They were so incredibly supportive and we practiced lots of different holds and and techniques to ensure Lily and I were comfy and were off to the best start possible.

Of course I had the common struggles with breastfeeding, the Pamela Anderson-esque engaged boobs, the cracked nipples, the sore back from trying to protect this tiny bundle of joy but soon those things all settled and I remember when she was 6 days old, both Lily and I had our first lunch out in public. I felt like an absolute boss, as if this little peanut and I could rule the world. Things continued this way, feeding on demand and getting herself into her own routine once solids were established. Unfortunately, when I went back to work, my body decided that we had completed our quota and at about 11 months old, Lily moved onto formula and then cows milk and she has never looked back. She still adores milk and has it first thing in thee morning and before bed at night.

My second experience of breastfeeding with Ivy was quite different. As I've said, I would still say it was successful but it wasn't an easy road to get started. Ivy was born in a water bath and has been a totally water baby ever since. She latched on with ease and seemed to be feeding really well from the offset. We got home quickly again and I was ecstatic. My two girls  got to meet for the first time and I cried with happiness at my perfect family. 

That first night home was a long one as Ivy fed pretty much constantly between the hours of 11pm-4am...cluster feeding to get my supply up was my thought, I remembered Lily doing something similar. Little did I know that this was going to be the start of a tricky road. Now this is going to be quite a graphic post, but it is the real life and it did get better, much better. When you first begin breastfeeding, your nipples ache and crack and they have to learn to toughen up. So second time round when the cracking began, out came the Lansinoh Creme and on I went trying to keep two little people alive. I remember calling the breastfeeding support team who had been so helpful with Lily. Their advice was to keep going and things will settle themselves so another few days of cold cabbage leaves and lots of nipple cream continued. About this time, my nipples started bleeding and I ended up doing own thorough research. I quickly realised that Ivy's latch wasn't right and so she was in fact just slowing ripping me. Fortunately for me, but not for her, my friend was also going through the same horrendous ordeal as I was with her second bambino not latching. Having her there to text and share tips with definitely got me through some difficult nights. I also can't thank my hubby enough for letting me sit completely topless all evening, airing my boobs, without trying to jump on me! It did get better and I was soon able to feel the difference between a good and bad latch, and able to correct it when it wasn't right....it was toe curling, silent screaming at 3am trying not to wake the house up sore! It took quite few weeks for my scabby nipples to heal up and they definitely have changed in appearance quite a bit. Every feed would knock the scab off and that post milk dribble down Ivy's face was tinged red so she actually looked more like baby Dracula.

When she was 3 weeks old, I was confidently feeding in public and together we made it to about 7 and a half months. She became so uninterested and independent that we decide to switch to formula at around that age. I've often wondered if our difficult start was part of the reason I wasn't able to feed her as long as I had wanted to? I guess i'll never really know. I do feel as a second time mum I was treated differently and wasn't as readily offered the same services, although they were available. There was also an element that I felt "I knew what I was doing" If you ever need advice, please don't struggle in silence, there is plenty of people, including Maria who have amazing knowledge and will always be willing help...so just reach out.

Lots of love,

Suzy x