Your Breastfeeding Resource

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My Breastfeeding story by Margaret Corson of Me and My Baby Photos

My first child, my little girl Elisabeth, what a story we have to tell of her. It has taken me 4 years to feel like I didn’t fail her and feel like, actually, I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. The birth didn’t go to plan, I had more drugs in me than I anticipated and it was an assisted birth. I say this because in hindsight this all impacted the beginning of our breastfeeding journey. Emotionally, I was already all over the place. Physically, I was not in the shape I thought I would be. It was excruciating to sit and all the information I had been given was about sitting and feeding. The first piece of useful advice I was given was how to feed lying down! It was magical, but unfortunately it came days after birth. This was my second revelation….knowledge is key. I should have done a heck of a lot more research than I did as the “nose to nipple knitted boob” was not happening for me. But, I knew one thing, I wasn’t giving up that easily. A lot of people round me were saying just bottle feed, but I had my reasons and I wanted to keep trying. We weren’t even at a week old yet! I was fortunate to be so stubborn and keep insisting that I just wanted more help to eventually (after a couple of trips to the safari ward due to weight loss) we got given a reference to a breast feeding counselor and told about support groups in Lincoln. A very lovely nurse on Safari Ward and these new revelations that help was available (and possible) were the real beginning of our story. They began to unpick what I had difficulty with, reveal reasons behind some of the aspects that were hindering our progress in feeding and weight gain and introduced me to the best group of friends I could have imagined having when becoming a mum. Most importantly, they gave me confidence and with this came a better emotional self and feeding started clicking in to place. We then had a journey that lasted over a year and there were tears again (from me) when she no longer chose to feed. It’s taken me till now to realise that all the ‘problems’ weren’t a negative but showed me my strength and actually it was a great learning experience. Then on top of that, showed me that these ‘problems’ shouldn’t have been ‘problems’ as they were very common new born behaviours that are overlooked and never really talked about and you have to almost find out the hard way. It was great to see though, 3 years on when I had my second child the experience couldn’t have been more different. I was filled with a lot more knowledge and ready to roll. We still had our scenarios to overcome, but just normal how to feed a new born baby with a very active 3 year old wanting and craving attention this time. Adjusting again to a whole new journey and trying to stay positive in amongst the very normal sleep deprivation and sometimes loooooong nights. I do feel when I talk about my stories it paints maybe a negative picture of breastfeeding, but please don’t get me wrong. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and if I had a third child I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. I just wish someone had been this honest with me from the start so I was emotionally ready for what was to come. It’s not always the case of textbook perfect and every mother (and father) will react differently to situations thrown at them. I’m really lucky to of had a fantastic husband who supported me in ways I’d never had imagined needing support. He took on the bottle top ups we had to give Elisabeth in the first 3 weeks to wake her up as this was too stressful for me, he also had to put up with all the dirty nappies while I slept and caught up much needed energy from feeding and expressing (which felt like constantly) for the first 3 weeks. He drove us to (what seemed like endless) appointments. And then in a blink of an eye, he was back at work and we were coping and loving every second of breastfeeding and motherhood. We worked hard to get to that point but eventually all the cogs fit and it was a dream come true. Then we entered the world of needing to feed out in public! Well, for someone as shy as me about body parts cue fantastic friends reassuring me all was fine; Finding out that Mother Care had a room I could go to if I wanted privacy while in town; Everyone being so cool about it, again this ‘problem’ my mind had was no longer a problem.

Top tips to pass on – if your pregnant and reading this…..think about it more. Get yourself ready for feeding your baby. Really think about the ‘what if’s ‘ Ask questions to midwives, people you know who have breastfed/bottle fed, find out about local support networks for breastfeeding mums. They are fantastic spaces, filled with a wealth of knowledgeable people ready to help where and how they can. The internet also holds a wealth of information about lots of different aspects of Breastfeeding. If you’ve had a baby and reading this….smile, enjoy and every question has an answer. Some you have to find within yourself, others can be answered with science and research.

Margaret

My Breastfeeding journey so far…

Hi my name is Zoe and I became the proud Mummy of my son Edward on the 31st December 2017. I am going to share my experience so far with breastfeeding and hope that some of you may relate or feel reassured by some of what I will share.

What I knew before my baby arrived:

I knew that breastfeeding had many benefits for baby and myself, they are easy enough to research and google. I think the most important benefits are bonding with my baby and providing all the nutrients and goodness my baby needs. So, while I was pregnant my partner and I attended the fortnightly midwife appointment, the topic was around feeding and I expressed my wish to breastfeed my baby and asked for a demonstration using the knitted boob. I was directed to explore further a website to support breastfeeding. The early signs/cues that baby wanted feeding were discussed briefly and a demonstration given of how to successfully attach baby to the boob; ensuring lots of breast tissue goes into baby’s mouth. We further attended an antenatal class that discussed breastfeeding in more detail. The main thing I took from this class was that babies are just like adults and eat and drink when they want to; no matter what time of day or night. We completed two very useful group activities; the first was to identify the early feeding cues babies show us and then what happens after using visual aids. Initially you see baby open their eyes and look around; they then begin to open their mouth and search for the breast to feed…it then showed a picture of a very unhappy crying baby. I asked the question “What happens if you miss all the early feeding cues and baby is crying their eyes out because they are so hungry?” the midwife advised this is the best time to pass over to Dad (or someone else supporting you) for skin on skin or a cuddle to calm baby down, baby’s breathing will calm, baby will relax and then you can try and attach baby to the breast successfully for their feed. The second activity was to measure how much breastmilk a baby needs at 1 day old, 3 days old, 1 week old and 1 month old (I was thinking I have absolutely no idea) it surprised me how small a baby’s stomach is and how little they can consume initially; a baby’s stomach starts the size of a small marble and at 1 month old their stomachs are still only as small as a ping pong ball…no wonder they need feeding often.

What I know now about breastfeeding:

The day arrived when my son was born and he was so beautiful and now I have to love, look after and provide for my baby as a new parent. The midwife asked if I was ready to try feeding my baby…I was ready to try and thought to myself wow well this is no knitted boob I have to do this myself now, with a real baby (I have no idea what I need to do really, I mean I remember everything from the groups but now I have to actually breastfeed). The midwife was great and helped me to get a good latch for my baby to feed, due to just giving birth (and being stitched up) we did the laying down position where I laid on my side, my baby close to my body laid on their side to breastfeed. I went onto the ward for all my baby checks that they do and to feed again before being discharged. I decided to stay an extra night in hospital to get breastfeeding right and feel comfortable doing it myself before going home…where I would have no help instantly (scary thought really). I am so pleased I did stay that extra night as after a few assisted latches by the midwifes; I began to successfully do it myself. I also got a few practical tips to assist the feeding; for example, gently blowing on my baby’s face to remind them to continue to feed or stroking their back, head or tickling their feet. Also a few different positions to try, I was familiar with hand expressing to help the colostrum and then later milk flow. The team around me were fantastic and I felt more confident and ready to go home. In the early days at home my stitches were very sore and it was very painful to sit down and generally move; I therefore continued to breastfeed using the laying down on my side position until I felt more healed to sit for prolonged periods of time to feed.

What I wish I knew before breastfeeding:

I had my midwife day 3 visit and my baby had lost some weight and was jaundice, I was so upset and worried, I didn’t really realise that babies lose weight and sometimes it can be quite a lot from their birth weight. I felt like I was failing at breastfeeding, I wasn’t supplying enough food or nutrients for my baby. I just felt terrible and started to think maybe I should just bottle feed my baby and then I know they will be getting enough food. From speaking to my friends who breastfed and my Mum I was reassured that I am doing a great job, breastfeeding is a skill both baby and I have to learn to do. I wished someone had discussed with me sooner that when breastfeeding it can take time for the milk supply to build up and the milk starts to come through on day 3. Therefore, I may not have felt so bad about myself and felt like I wasn’t providing enough food for my son. Also, I wish I knew before I started breastfeeding how I could use techniques to build up my milk supply, as well as compressing (similar to hand expressing) my boob as baby suckled for the milk to increase the amount they consumed.

Breastfeeding can be challenging at times; your nipples can become sore but it is definitely worth it for your baby and yourself. Initially it isn’t easy however it does get better and your confidence to feed just grows and grows, relax, breath and give yourself a break (as humans we can be so critical of ourselves) say well done and remind yourself it is hard but be kind to yourself and remember your baby loves you unconditionally as you do them. Having my son look up at me adoringly fills my heart with love and I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world. Good luck with your breastfeeding journeys and remember you are not the only one who may have struggled at some point; you are not alone and help is out there for you. I hope sharing this may help someone else in their journey.

Zoe

My Breastfeeding journey's

Hi Sarah, I have two children, Buddy who is 3 and 8 months old and Olive who is 3 weeks old. I breastfed Buddy for 19 months and have been breastfeeding Olive since birth.

Breastfeeding has been equally challenging as rewarding. There were many times I wanted to give up, was convinced I wasn’t making enough milk or that I couldn’t take it being all on me anymore. The early months are very hard, but it did get easier as Buddy became more efficient at feeding and his digestive system matured.
There is a growth spurt around 3 weeks when Buddy (and I’m assuming Olive will soon!) cluster fed constantly! I felt like all I did was feed for hours and was convinced he was too hungry for the milk I could supply. But I had a good breastfeeding support worker and friend who had breastfed to keep me supported and going. They told me Buddy was cluster feeding to boost my milk supply. It was part of the process. I’m glad I stuck with it. Buddy is rarely ill and gets over anything he does pick up quickly.
I found a definite pro to breastfeeding in not having to sterilise or carry bottles n formula with me, or get up to prepare feeds in the night.
In the end as I weaned Buddy from his last feed at 19 months, I felt sad that it was ending. A massive contrast to those early months when I was declaring that I was giving up almost daily!
Now I have started a new journey with breastfeeding my daughter Olive. It’s only been 3 weeks, I have found it a bit easier than the early days with Buddy as I know what to expect and understand that feeding her on demand, little n often will boost my milk. She regained her birth weight a lot quicker than Buddy did at her age.
However, there are new challenges as she hiccups n has trapped wind and some spitting up after feeding. Some people have said breastfed babies don’t suffer with these issues as much, however we are living proof that they do. The nights have been long!
I would like to say to any mums trying breastfeeding, to get support and advice. Check position and latch if your breasts are sore. Don’t doubt you can make enough milk for your baby, those cluster feeds are to boost your supply.
Hope this helps Sarah. If you have any further questions I’d be happy to help.
Kind regards
Katy Acton x

My Breastfeeding Journey with Premature Babies

Hiya Sarah, I'd be glad to assist, thank you.

I'm the mum to 2 boys, 2 premmies in fact. My first little man arrived quite early at 31 weeks weighing 3lb by emergency section and was quite poorly so bit by bit I expressed and gave it into the neonatal unit so they could tube feed as he hadn't developed the sucking reflex yet.
I tried to latch him on when the time came but he took better to the bottle. I didn't want to confuse him and just wanted him feeding and getting his weight up so I continued to express and bottle feed him until he was discharged 5 weeks later.
On getting him home he was changed over to a high calorie formula to get his weight up.
My second little man arrived at 36 weeks @ 5lb 7 and again I expressed, he had no interest in latching on no matter how hard I tried. I wanted what was best for baby so I continued to express and feed him myself till he was 5 months.
It got to the stage that I had to stop as my first born is only 2 and between looking after him expressing and feeding the little one I was worn out. But I think I did my best.
At times when my first little man was in the neonatal unit that expressing was about the only thing I could do for him as you feel so helpless!
But I'd also like to add I think there is a lot of pressure put on mums to breast feed and keep at it. I think it should be your own decision. Sometimes its difficult for you or your child won't latch like mine did. Just try and find out what works for both of you. Motherhood is demanding enough without people making you feel inadequate about things. Its learning and adjusting. So do what feels right x
Rosie 😉
My breastfeeding Journey 

Hi Sarah, Hope you are well?  I’m still breastfeeding at 15 Months...

I think at the start (and probably all the way through) it’s 10% milk production 90% determination/stubbornness.
You cannot ask too many people for help, ask everyone that offers to check the latch, make sure you have it down and stay in hospital as long as you can with everyone supporting you to get it right. Even then it might be wrong and that’s ok- find someone else to ask! The support groups at Surestart are brilliant! Other mums will tell you honestly too.
Don’t be afraid to use nipple shields - it’s not giving in and won’t mean you have to stop, instead it may just give your sore nipples the break they need to carry on!
In the early days get everything you need in one place, a drink in a bottle, a book, your phone is charged up and you’ve had a wee! Because cluster feeding is normal and your not going to do much other than feed and snuggle for hours.
A thermos mug is good for hot drinks - and microwaved tea tastes just as good the second and third time round when it’s hot!
When they get bigger a breastfeeding necklace is amazing otherwise they can’t concentrate on feeding for more than 10 seconds! Either that or they fiddle with anything they can get their hands on!
Don’t spend loads of money on breastfeeding clothes. There are groups on Facebook that are amazing “can I breastfeed in it uk!” I wish I had found this sooner. High street clothes that are easy to feed in, love it!
Everyone will ask if your “still” breastfeeding. Ignore them and do what you want and what is good for your family. Your body, your child, your choice.
Drink the wine! There are loads of studies that say it’s ok to have a glass or two and still feed - no need to pump and dump. This is most important!
If you chose to give a bottle as well as breastfeeding don’t stop! If you stop you may find they won’t take a bottle again. We had it nailed at around 10 weeks, 1 bottle a day of expressed milk then stopped for a couple of weeks as hubby was poorly. Took months to get back to taking a bottle again!
Enjoy the snoozy milky cuddles now, you will miss it when they stop. They are only little for such a short time.
Worry less and just go with your gut instinct, everyone else is making it up as they go too
I have no idea how to stop breastfeeding so just going to carry on until Grace decides otherwise!
Sophie xx
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Links you may useful: 
iFeed Infant Feeding Support & Information - http://www.ifeedproject.co.uk/

Side Lying Breastfeeding Position | CloudMom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_AizOPWYL8

How do I know if my baby is properly latched?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKVxVfCGHqw

BreastStart Lincoln: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LincolnBreaststart/

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With special thanks to Margaret from Me & My Baby Photos for helping to put this page together, and of course the ladies in our community that have volunteered their breastfeeding stories.  We hope you have found this resource useful. Please leave us a comment below, we'd love to hear your story too, and your useful tips & resources.

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