Positive breastfeeding stories, I'll start by sharing mine...(35 Posts)
Prayerforbeatrice tears in my eyes after reading that. Wishing you and dd all the very best x
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
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 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).
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.
I've had 2 emcs, and 2 completely easy, uneventful breastfeeding experiences.
Dd is now nearly 3. I stopped breastfeeding her (down to bedtime only from 18 months) last week with no tears or sadness from either of us. She now has milk from her Peter Rabbit cup
Ds is 11 months and feeds around 3-4 times a day, more if he's teething, with a couple of night feeds.
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!
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.
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'm really lucky and have had a very easy time of it compared to some of you ladies. But wanted to post and say that sometimes it can just turn out to be really easy.
DD latched on like a pro after she was born, though was really sleepy and the hardest part was getting her awake enough to feed. Took a good week or two before she'd reliably wake up for a feed. I found it sore in the beginning when she latched, but it stopped after the first 10 seconds, once she started feeding properly, and only lasted a couple of weeks. The only other issue I had was a blocked duct a few weeks later, but some paracetomal and lots of strategic feeding fixed it. I fed her for 14 months.
DS is still very young, and he didn't want to feed for the first day or so. But, now he's started, I can't stop him! I did get a minor cracked nipple as his latch was bad to begin, but was still on painkillers from the birth so it wasn't too painful. Lots of lansinoh and a few days fixed it.
Cluster feeding is tedious, both DS and DD have done it. But IMO the convenience of breastfeeding, and its super calming properties are well worth the few days of discomfort at the beginning!
Hundreds of lovely positive pics in this youtube collection
I had an EMCS and the first two weeks were painful. one health visitor gave me totally the wrong tips about breastfeeding insisting to keep my daughter feeding for 20 minutes and that I sit up very straight and stiff. After 2 weeks I went to my local breastfeeding cafe and it was the best think I did... the advisors were lovely, got so many hints and tips that a week later I was feeding in a bus stop with no issue.
Lansinoh was a life saver and at 18 months I am still bf my daughter, and through stomach bugs and noroviruses and so on, she has never been dehydrated as my milk kept her going when she lost her appetite.,..
Oh, and as a superficial bonus, breastfeeding helped me get back into my size 8 pre-pregnancy clothes by 3 months.
Not the skinny jeans though, they are in the Oxfam pile I call it Baby Lipo.
I always assumed I would breastfeed as it is, fortunately, the norm among my family and close friends. My sister and I were both breastfed and are rarely ill, have done well academically, etc, and I wanted to give my own children the same start if I possibly could.
My son was born at 36 weeks, generally well but sleepy and jaundiced with low blood sugars at first, and would latch but not suck, so was given formula top-ups until my milk came in. The midwives were (mostly) great though, and showed me how to hand express colostrum, kept helping me with latch, and so on. I got great advice by telephone from our local infant feeding coordinator too. By day 4, we were home and DS had started to get the concept, and we stopped top-ups. After that, off we went, and were ebf ever since.
He is now 5 months, over 75th centile weight and height (zoomed up from 30th at birth), never been ill, noisy, happy, and full of beans I am planning to continue to 12 months, or as close as I can get to it.
I am proud of myself for doing it, glad we were able to, and also proud of my DH for being such a brilliant support - bringing me drinks, food, DVDs, generally encouraging me and looking after me. It made me sad when I read those Radio 4 comments about breastfeeding harming the parents' relationship - it's been quite the opposite for us - I've seen how dedicated he is to me and to his child's health.
I have had wobbles, particularly when most of my antenatal group switched to formula early on and started talking negatively about breastfeeding. It helped me to
chuck them ahem, read this when I was questioning whether breastfeeding really was important or not. I'm a doctor with a research background and I need to see the hard evidence before believing anything.
PS I was also one of the lucky ones. BF zapped my giant uterus right back into tiny after just a week or so.
However it was also the cause of my extreme sleep deprivation which led to extreme weight loss
After a good birth with DD, she was put on my chest for skin-to-skin and pretty much helped herself to my boob. A MW showed me how to feed lying down and this was such a lifesaver as I was so tired. Was told to feed 'every 3-4 hours' though which wasn't enough. My milk did not come in until day 5 and DD was passing urates and losing weight. She had a tiny emergency formula top-up and then my milk came in. She latched really well from Day 1 but something was wrong - my nipples were very damaged and she was so colicky. With the help of online fora I self-diagnosed PTT and paid for a private lactation consultant to diagnose it. We travelled for 3 hrs to get it snipped when she was 14 weeks.
I'm still not sure whether the snip had a huge effect but in any case breastfeeding simply became much easier after about 3 months. However, I blamed breastfeeding and my own lack of experience for the fact that DD's sleep was so bad. The other babies I knew of were formula fed and slept beautifully. I felt angry that I had been sold such a crock of shit wrt breastfeeding.
I was touch-and-go whether to give up at 6 months, but in the end kept going. Then something happened: it became not just easy but great and super handy. I saw that ff was not a magical answer to being a happy mother: many of the previously sleeping babies had stopped sleeping and I saw how tiring it was to have to wash, sterilise and prep bottles at the end of a long day. I breastfed DD until she was 13months. So far (she's now 18 months) she has a bionic immune system. I like to think the breastfeeding has helped a little with this, but tbh it's probably just as a result of my slatternly ways wrt to housework!
After what looked like a good start with DD having a good latch, we went home and (long story short) it turned out she wasn't feeding at all. Very scary zombie baby, orange with jaundice, dehydrated and with low blood sugar. Went home from hospital too early I think. Ended up, via the the paeds ward, back on the maternity unit, bless them forever for taking me back. DD's jaundice didn't need treatment, they just took us back to help me.
The stay ended up being a week as I did get mastitis so IV antibiotics. Fortunately caught in time, as I was in hospital, so I didn't feel too rough with it, and it bought me extra time being waited on (well, fed, sort of) in hospital, with a lovely breastfeeding specialist midwife helping too. I don't think we'd have succeeded without that. I do wish we could opt to stay in hospital if we wanted to, until the baby is gaining weight again, so we were sure they were feeding right. I really wasn't ready to go home the first time - with no family support, DH and I were terrified!!
It took a while to get BF established even then, and I'm very grateful to two peer-to-peer BF counsellor friends who dropped everything to rush round to help me, sleep-deprived and slightly crazed, that first day home (before hospital return and after). It turned out that a tongue tie was making it very hard for DD to feed, and I had blisters, so after a lot of thought, we had that divided in the hospital when she was 9 weeks, and what a difference it made straight away. She loved poking her tongue out after that! A local BF support group, with HV, helped too.
In the end, exclusively BF until 6 months, then partial to 9 months when I had to go back to work. Pros: less bottle washing, no prep time on night feeds,probably the best food source, helped me drop the baby weight; Cons: no sharing the night duty, cluster feeding, not being able to go anywhere alone for the first 4 months or so (doesn't seem so bad in hindsight but it felt then like it'd never end!.
DD went to SCBU after an EMCS, and I didn't get to see her for 19 hours. When I did, I said I wanted to BF -she'd already had formula. But I arranged myself, with lots of help, and she knew what to do.
It was hard at first, finding a way to feed her that didn't hurt my wound, then getting sore nipples because the latch was poor (I didn't know - never done it before!). But copious lansinoh and a lovely lactation consultant sorted us out.
She regained her birth weight in six days, and occasionally put on more than a pound a week, going up two centiles - I felt so proud that I was nourishing her well, a real achievement after my 'failure' at giving birth.
We EBFed until six months, and she's still a great lover of boob. And at ten months, I get to look at her, big and strong, and think 'I did that'
Similar to poppers story.
Ds was born at 32 weeks. The midwives wheeled the breast pump into my room at about midnight and asked me to try and express, I had no idea what I was doing!
I managed to get a few ml which was taken down to icu. I continued to express daily whilst ds was in hospital, refused to let them give him formula. I expressed between hospital visits, every spare minute that I wasn't with ds or sleeping if eating I was expressing.
I began to try to feed ds in the hospital but he didn't really get it. We persevered and each visit I tried again.
I battled through the start of mastitis, luckily with a lot of compressed and help from the midwives and my partner I got over it quickly. I was quite inconsolable when my dp made me go to bed to rest, do much pain and so tired!
I also had thrush which I passed onto ds. Both of us then had to be treated.
Ds then contracted mrsa and I had to stop feeding him for a while and tube feeding restarted.
When ds was 4 weeks I stayed in the family room at the hospital and for 3 full days did feeding on demand. It was pretty much suck or starve as his feeding tube had been taken out!
I didn't sleep for 3 days as I wanted to make sure I fed ds when ever he needed it. He was so stubborn and refused to feed! Just wanted to sleep! On the Monday morning ds was weighed and had put on 1oz I weight. As he'd gained weight we were allowed to go home!
I'm had I persevered. So many people told me to bottle feed him to get him home sooner. Ds is now 5 months and feeding is still going well. 2 friends who gave birth the week after me gave up breast feeding at 8 weeks. I'm glad I'm still going!
Such an amazing feeling being able to do it.
Ds1, classic cascade-of-intervention birth, every one going bar forceps and cs. Sleepy, jaundiced, not feeding frequently enough. Bullied into test weighing before and after feeds (!!!) and topping up with formula. Came home at 8 days after phototherapy, refusing the breast well over half the time. Spent the next three weeks patiently trying to get him to take breast, endlessly expressing and giving that milk and formula top-ups, and receiving brilliant advice and encouragement from MN (under another name back then). He eventually stopped refusing and had his last ever formula at 4 weeks. We never looked back. Bf him exclusively to 6.5 months and continued bf until he was 4 and a half.
Ds2, arrived when ds1 was 2.4. Fed ds1 throughout my pregnancy. Fast and frightening birth, meconium in waters, cord round neck, heart rate dropping, ventouse. Bounced back once out, fed almost straight away and fed like a dream from then on in. Never had formula, never needed to express. Tandem fed for over two years and then continued feeding just ds2 until he was three. So lovely and so easy. Nights feeds did trail on into the second year for both dc, which I admit got wearing, but overall bf made my life and my mothering so very much easier and more pleasant in a whole host of ways, and was a lovely experience apart from those first few nightmare weeks.
Thinking of how things turned around with ds1 - there were days I was in despair, close to giving up - I would say we were a) lucky, b) bloody-minded, c) supported. I was lucky enough not to be in pain from feeding - that might have pushed me over the edge tbh. And the access we had to knowledge and support made all the difference. I don't like to think of it as an 'achievement', although it possibly was one, as only a few factos separate me from someone for whom bf didn't work out although they desperately wanted it to. And what I would like to see is everyone having the support they need to continue for as long as they want to.
Sorry sausage fingers.. Her on. She came home at 37 weeks on top ups ditched them by 39 weeks and is still feeding at 23 months... Despite tongue tie, lip tie and severe reflux and cmpi which means we've both been dairy and soya free since Nov 2011. She is my proudest achievement.
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