Posted on 19 September 2018
I had trouble breast feeding my son. The problems went on for months; I had cracked nipples, latch problems, low supply, used nipple shields, and formula top ups. It was only recently I found out my son has a tongue tie. We persevered, eventually got rid of the nipple shields and happily breast fed for 15 months. When I fell pregnant with my daughter I didn’t fear breast feeding. I had conquered it with my son and expected it to come naturally with my daughter. Like you see in movies, she will lay on my tummy, I look at her lovingly and she latches. Ha! I was sadly wrong.
Day 2 of breast feeding, my milk was in and my nipples had cracked quite severely. I spoke to the lactation consultant and she came up with a plan for me. I fed from the other side and pumped and finger fed from the sore side. It worked a treat for 24 hours and I felt healed enough to try again. Almost straight away my nipple cracked. I felt deflated but had conquered this before and felt strong enough to do it again. My nipple healed after 4 days or so. I was using nipple shields because Winnie couldn’t latch very well and when she did it caused a lot of pain. We kept going for a few weeks before I decided to see a lactation consultant. She came to my house and we went through latching techniques and positions. I managed to get a latch that didn’t cause me toe curling pain. A week later I got mastitis! It was worse than child birth! Not as in the pain but the fact that the pain lasted for every.single.feed and it burned! I seriously would have chosen my drug free child birth over breast feeding with mastitis any day. It took 2 courses of antibiotics before the mastitis cleared up and once it did Winnie got oral thrush and I got nipple thrush. I started to lose faith, I didn’t know if I could keep going. The pain was excruciating and I dreaded every feed. My husband was so supportive, he was my rock when I was emotional and broken.
Once the mastitis and oral thrush finally cleared up, I still had pain whilst breast feeding. It wasn’t burning or stinging but it was uncomfortable. I decided to see another lactation consultant to work out what was going on. She diagnosed Winnie with an upper lip and tongue tie and recommended getting it lasered. I’m a researcher, so off I went doing a lot of research on lip and tongue ties. One of the biggest factors for my decision was actually my son’s speech. He was nearly 3 and had just started speech therapy because he was having difficulty with his words. Tongue ties, being one of the main factors of speech issues cemented the decisions to get Winnie’s lip and tongue lasered.
24 hours after the procedure and I honestly thought we had made the worst decision of our lives. She wouldn’t latch, I tried in the shower, in the bath, sitting on the couch doing skin to skin but nothing worked. Again, I was broken and emotional. I couldn’t believe that after everything we had already been through, something that was suppose to help had made it so much worse. For 24 hours Winnie barley ate, she wouldn’t even take breast milk from a syringe. I spoke to the LC who reassured me and explained that sometimes this happens. I won’t go into all the details, a week later she was latching beautifully. I still had slight pain but nothing like I did before. Fast forward to now, Winnie is almost 7 months old and we are still breast feeding with zero pain and have the most beautiful bond I could have ever imagined.
I am a firm believer in fed is best, my son was mixed fed for the first 3 months of his life and Winnie has been exclusively breast fed. Everyone’s journey and struggles are different. I wanted to share my experience to hopefully help other women out there know that they are not alone. Breast feeding is bloody hard! I feel like I was prepared the second time around but even the preparation didn’t make it any easier. Be gentle on yourself, it’s an emotional time and you can feel like you’re failing. YOU ARE NOT FAILING. As long as your Bub is fed and happy you are doing a great job.
Photography: Haylie D Photography
Special thanks to Pindara Private Hospital