I am in tears reading some of theses stories...lovely to hear that there are other mums out there who love breastfeeding as I seem to be the unusual one among the groups I go to.
Here's mine...DS1 was 5 weeks old when I developed gallstones and pancreatitis. I was admitted to hospital for a week on fluids only to be told by a very rushed consultant that I'd have to stop breastfeeding as they were putting me on morphine and I would be having any solid food so my milk would probably dry up anyway. I was just starting to enjoy the feeds (after the initial 'gritting teeth' stage). I sent my DH off to ask any midwife he could find about how to bottle feed and what we needed to buy and he stumbled across a breastfeeding specialist. She came to speak to me and encouraged me to keep going, after getting very cross with the consultant for getting it so wrong! I expressed like mad in the hospital and DS1 had a mixture of my expressed milk and formula given to him by my MIL, but that's a whole other story 8 weeks later I had my gallbladder removed but I managed to keep breastfeeding for a year.
Two years later DS2 and DD were born (twins) and I was told by a midwife I asked to help me latch them on in hospital that I probably wouldn't be able to feed twins and not to worry about giving them formula straight away. She seemed a little taken aback by my sharp response and dirty look and I didn't see her again! A year later I am still breastfeeding.
I think if you are really determined (and a bit bloody minded like I am, I hate being told I can't do something!) and you have the right support, it's amazing what you can achieve.
I had an emcs with DS2 but had educated myself about bfing after an unsuccessful attempt with DS1. He took to it like a pro but went into heart failure at 10 days old, needed a major operation and was then in ICU/HDU for 2 weeks. I was hugely supported by icu staff and DS2's cardiologist, he was still feeding at two. I really think I've given my wee boy the best possible start.
My DS was born at 28 weeks, tiny and unable to breathe on his own. He was whisked away from the operating theatre and I only saw him again 30 hours later.
After I woke up in recovery the nurses were absolutely no help in answering my questions about milk and hand expressing. I googled YouTube videos and tried to copy what I saw. (Phone reception in hospital was awful though so it took ages to load even the shortest film.) I kept trying to squeeze some milk out of my poor boobs, every 2 hours day and night, but only ever got a few drops of colostrum. One of the NICU nurses soaked them up with a cue tip and rubbed the inside of DS's mouth with it - "every drop is precious", she said, and this would get him a taste for milk.
Finally, on day 3 my milk came in. I pumped every 3 hours, day and night, for the next 2 months. My family and OH wanted me to get some sleep at night, but I was desperate to provide as much as I could for my DS and his tiny, fragile body. I fought with the admittedly well-meaning medical staff who wanted to add fortifier to the milk or even supplement with formula to speed up his weight gain. He only ever got my milk in hospital.
At some point I was diagnosed with 'retained products' from the CS and had to take 4 courses of antibiotics. I felt awful to 'pollute' my milk...
His NG tube came out and we tried proper breastfeeding a day before he came home. To my amazement, he got the hang of it really quickly. I was so proud! His weight began to shoot up. This was sadly also when his reflux kicked off. He would projectile vomit at most feeds and be constantly in agony. It broke my heart to watch. I cut all dairy from my diet and radically cut down my consumption of acidic foods, fruit, juices, chocolate, 'windy' vegetables. He still vomited a lot, but never had to take any reflux drugs.
10 1/2 months and problems with oversupply, reflux, nursing strikes and a bout of thrush later, DS is still exclusively breastfed (and getting 2 meals of solids a day, some of which are cooked with bm from the freezer). Sometimes I get frustrated because DS will only feed while we are lying down - which makes outings very difficult - but as soon as I feel him snuggle himself against me, or see him giggle or gurgle after a good feed, I know I would not want to have it any other way.
I am so proud of the determination and energy with which he has willed himself to grow and overcome so many obstacles in his path to date. Earlier today he was discharged from the pediatrician's care as a healthy, bouncing boy. Onwards and upwards for my little miracle!
Have now read the whole thread and am loving your stories. Some of you have had such tough times.
I would not want to be sanctimonious or preachy about breastfeeding at all and would never tell another mother what she should do - each to her own. But I am secretly pleased that SIL is now breastfeeding her second baby after seeing from me that it is possible, even under difficult circumstances.
My dd was exclusively BF until 6 months. She was never very keen on solids, but we thought that she was just a fussy eater. So I kept on breastfeeding, including at night, because it seemed that was the only way to get some calories in.
Little did I guess that the reason for her poor appetite was a massive tumour which was squashing her stomach and limiting the blood supply to it. By the time she was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma (cancer of the liver) at 14 months, it was the size of a grapefruit.
Breastfeeding was an absolute godsend in that situation. I breastfed her during every medical procedure -- blood tests, ultrasounds, even having her blood pressure checked, as without it she quickly got very distressed.
Most hepatoblastoma patients have to have a nasogastric tube for feeds as they lose so much weight during chemo. Dd also lost her (already tiny) appetite, but never lost weight, because she kept on breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding got us through six rounds of chemo, 33 hours attached to a drip stand. It got us through being isolated in hospital with neutropenic sepsis. It contributed to an amazingly quick recovery from surgery (when half her liver was removed) -- I breastfed her on the intensive care unit. She had a neck line removed, abdo drain removed, numerous dressings changed, all without a peep because she was feeding. The comfort and security she derived from it was immense. And for me, i was so happy to be able to do something tangible for her, in those awful dark days when I thought I might lose her.
I'm so grateful for breastfeeding. I was always a fan, but now I just can't express how amazing I think it is.
She's 22 months now. 3 months cancer free. Still breastfeeding (and chewing on chicken legs).
DS didn't "get" bfing to begin with and wasn't latching properly, so I had my first experience of painful mastitis when he was about 2 weeks old. For 4 weeks I had a painful tearful time every feed until one day it just clicked. I aimed to get to 6 months, then 8 months, then it became a year of feeding. Finally fed him for 2.5yrs and only strangers on the internet know this, my friends and family just presumed I gave up when he was 10 months and I had to travel abroad for a week leaving my parents to give him bottles of formula. I didn't give up, I expressed every day I was away and we just continued when I returned home!
I am really proud of having done this for DS. My DD was only bfed for 4 months before I succumbed to pressure from my mother to give up. I miss his little hand patting my cheek whilst he fed and asking for "tummy milk" at bedtime. DS is 5 now and never ill, he just completed reception with 100% attendance, I hope that bfing has contributed in some way to his good health.
Well done everyone on bfing, for long stretches or short, it's not easy and sometimes it's not glamorous but that's motherhood!
My little boy was born at 36+2, and was teeny. I knew I wanted to breastfeed him but he couldn't/wouldn't latch on for the first four days, so I expressed and he was tube and then bottle fed my milk topped up with formula. I remember on the fourth day in hospital, when we were due to go home, we were having skin to skin on the bed and he just started 'pecking' his way across my chest to find my nipple. I was awestruck and so very pleased.
I had awful issues with positioning and pain during feeds. In fact, I was pretty much ready to give up every day for the first three or four months. I had quite severe oversupply as well. I was far too stubborn to actually stop though. I had lots of help from children's centre staff and an excellent lactation consultant, and it just all got much easier as DS got older and bigger.
When I was pregnant I always thought I'd feed for six months. Then I revised it down to three months when I was having so many issues and my confidence was shot (despite the fact that DS was gaining weight like I was producing Jersey gold top). I felt like three months was decades away, but suddenly it was there, and then it was six months, and then a year. DS has weaned himself at just under two years, and I'm so proud to have fed him for that length of time. I never realised just how much I'd miss it though. I'd never have believed you a year and a half ago