This is a very personal story about my breastfeeding journey; in celebration of world breastfeeding week I thought I would share it. When I first found out I was pregnant with baby E I always knew I would breastfeed him for at least a year. I didn’t bother to even register myself in breastfeeding classes because I thought it is the most natural thing just like child birth; our bodies will adapt to it without me putting any effort.
Boy oh boy was I wrong!! The minutes following the birth of my son we did skin to skin and it was time to breastfeed, I remember screaming in pain but I persevered for an hour… yes AN HOUR because my son sucked for comfort and the minute they took him far from me he would scream. After an hour a midwife came back to the room and seemed surprised that he was still latched then she suggested a dummy because he’s doing it for comfort.
The next 3 days in the hospital I was breastfeeding despite the pain and my milk not come in. I even spent an entire night cluster-feeding baby E in the hospital. I remember one of the midwives said that my little one is a breastfeeding champ because he would latch and not let go. The day I was discharged from the hospital my baby has already lost more than the suggested 10% of his body weight. I was literally panicking and crying in the hospital because of his weight loss, the nurse suggested that if my milk doesn’t come in that I can give him a little bit of formula but not to worry as it is very common. I still insisted on not supplementing and to continue breastfeeding regardless of the cracked bleeding nipples and the intense pain.
We offered my baby his first bottle of formula and he drank the entire bottle, which was an indication that he was hungry. Then I decided that I would mix feed until I was confident with my supply. I started pumping every 2 hours and then power pumping to increase my supply. My supply wasn’t that great, my little champion started having nipple confusion because of the bottle and dummy. I tried different breastfeeding positions with and without the pillow (if you Google breastfeeding positions chances are we tried it all) then he started latching correctly again. I even called the breastfeeding hotline, that’s how determined I was.
When I noticed that even when I breastfeed him he still seemed hungry I started considering exclusively pumping as an alternative. I did that for about a month. I used to pump around 30ml every 3 hours if not less which was extremely discouraging because my baby was at that stage drinking 140ml bottle every 2-3 hours and I was making way less than his needs. Not to mention the mummy blues, dealing with a newborn and trying to recover from childbirth and add feeling like a failure in the breastfeeding department. I was always a high achiever and strived for good results throughout my life and I refused to fail in this.
I started researching then I came across Fenugreek and its benefits then I purchased it in tablet form. I was also taking another tablet called breastfeeding gold that boosts supply and I started drinking breastfeeding tea! I was still continuing to pump and to power pump every few days. My supply did increase but not by a lot it was still nowhere near the 140ml mark; then as any desperate first time mummy I resolved to prescription medicine when I read about Motilium (Domperidone) and its side effect in increasing milk supply.
I went to my GP to ask for the prescription he was hesitant but I insisted, Could you tell I was really stubborn? I got my prescription and I was pumping around 100ml sometimes, which was great, but it was the result of the medicine plus the tea and the herbal tablets. Every time I ran out of my prescription I went to get another because I would notice a huge drop in my supply if I don’t take the Motilium. After 2 months I decided to stop the Motilium because I was traveling overseas. My son was 5 months by then, I also decided to stop pumping at this stage and let him latch on. We managed for around another month then he lost interest and my milk dried up. During the 6 months we did breastfeed I did get my moment of glory and breastfed in public, which was something I was really anxious about; however I always wanted to do since I was pregnant because it is such a bad-a*# moment and you feel so empowered.
Now he’s a healthy almost 10 months old baby, who is meeting all his milestones and he is in the 98th percentile for his weight and height. I feel proud that I did manage to breastfeed my son even if it wasn’t exclusively. I also feel proud that I formula feed him when needed. Most people don’t know how hard I tried to exclusively breastfeed him only close family members. Until this day I get constantly questioned why I don’t breastfeed him or why we stopped!
My breastfeeding journey wasn’t what I expected to be but I’m happy that I tried and persevered through it when giving up completely was the easiest option.
How long did you manage to breastfeed your child?
Thanks for stopping by ladies