Wondering if breast is best? Marie shares her struggles and
successes with nursing in her breastfeeding story.
Submitted by: Marie (New Zeeland)
I always wanted to breast feed my baby when she was born. I had heard all of the ‘Breast is Best’ arguments and assumed that it would be the most natural and easy thing in the world.
Shortly after my little girl was born, she nuzzled at my breast for the first time laying next to me. It was the most amazing and connecting experience and felt so right. After a few hours she was ready to feed again and I found that I didn’t have a clue how to hold her, position her or how to sit comfortably myself. I had plenty of help from the midwives at The Jubilee Birth Centre, and by the time I went home I had the choice of three different positions and felt I would get the hang of feeding soon.
It was really tough on the early days as I was tired from the birth and not getting much ( if any) sleep. I started to dread feeding times as I still was not getting the positioning right and was finding that feeding my daughter was painful as a result.
After two weeks I felt hot and flu-like with extremely tender breasts. I had Mastitis. I was put on antibiotics and had to express my milk every three hours to relieve the pain and ensure my milk supply was kept up. After a few days the redness and flu-like feeling was replaced by an intense, deep-routed pain while feeding and expressing. It kept getting worse and I was advised by my community midwife to see my GP.
After speaking with the Lactation Consultant at the hospital, my GP prescribed medication for myself and my baby. We had thrush that kept transferring from my breasts to my baby’s mouth and back again. The pain was excruciating and my baby would not stay latched on for any length of time. I questioned why I was putting myself through breast feeding and came so close to giving up entirely.
Instead I realized that I had come this far and desperately did not want to give up. I introduced a small formula top up for my baby so she was getting enough milk, kept expressing to keep my supply going and sort as much help and advice as I could. The help is out there and the amount of Breast Feeding support groups out there suggested to me that not everyone finds it as plain sailing as I assumed it would be. After 3-4 day of being on medication I noticed an improvement in my daughter’s latching on and less pain as time continued.
At around five weeks I can thankfully say that I actually started to enjoy feeding for the first time. I had come so close to giving up and dreaded feeding times but now at nine weeks postpartum, I am so glad I continued. I am proud to be feeding my little girl and giving her the best start in life I possibly can. Nothing beats looking down at my baby feeding, taking in the details of her tiny face, hearing her little sucks and gulps and feeling like we have the most unique bond in the world.
An update – having emigrated from the UK to New Zealand, when my daughter was 8 months old, I continued to breastfeed her, believing it would be the best and easiest method of feeding her during this time. Providing comfort and stability while everything else changed around her.
At 15 months old she still has two breastfeeds a day, one first thing in the morning and one at night before bedtime, I can honestly say, looking back that I am so pleased that I carried on feeding through all the difficulties breastfeeding threw at me and if I have another child I would do it all again. Breast IS Best!