Of all the things I have accomplished, successfully breastfeeding Flynn has been one of my greatest milestones as a mother.
I understand to some that breastfeeding may seem trivial. And I don’t doubt that there is some premium formulas out on the market for babies who are unable to be breastfeed. Or mothers who were unsuccessful to breast feed their babies due to trauma, post natal depression or their milk not coming in. I can empathize because I was one of these mothers with my firstborn son Lucas…
Around ten days post partum, I developed an extremely high fever of 40 degrees Celsius. I felt dreadful. I also noticed that my lochia was developing large clots, so I instinctively knew that something was off. I ended up being admitted into hospital with a bad case of endometritis, which is an infection or inflammation of the inner lining of the uterus. Plus to top things off I had a bladder infection and mastitis, so it’s safe to say that I was in poor health. After a consultation with the ED gynocologist, I was going to be administered a strong dose of IV antibiotics and was advised not to breastfeed Lucas. I was told that it would be unsafe and harmful for the him. I was devastated!
My husband remained brave through it all. Knowing that he had the daunting task of nursing a ten day old baby on his own whilst I was recovering in the hospital. I remained there for about three days recuperating, and once I was discharged I could start breastfeeding him again. However due to a low supply caused by infrequent pumping, I needed to take prescribed medication to help increase my production. But the tablets were making it too difficult for Lucas to feed as my let downs were so strong that it would make him gag and retch. As a result I slowly weaned him onto a bottle, and he was fully weaned by about 12 weeks. A part of me was crushed and I accepted that I had failed as a Mother. I was so hard on myself, and I initially thought that being a mum meant that I had to be nothing short of perfect. But today if I could give myself some motherly advice I would suggest to be a bit kinder to myself. Being a first time mum is overwhelming, with the sleepless nights, teething periods, wonder weeks and trying to figure out what is making them cry for the millionth time. But once we managed to get through the first 12 months, Lucas thrived into a vivacious little boy who reached all of his milestones.
Fast forward to when I fell pregnant with Flynn, I mentally prepared myself that I will be able to breast feed again. However if I was unsuccessful for whatever reason, I knew Flynn and I would be okay. Thankfully once he was born, he had no attachment issues and gained an incredible amount of weight. Even the visiting midwife was surprised with the little fatty. I won’t deny that I had some ‘teething issues’ as I did experience some pain, particularly on the left hand side. Flynn would squeeze my nipple onto his pallet so hard that it would make me wince, but I pushed through the pain with some relief and help from pumping. A friend recommended that I look into the Breast Pump brand Spectra as I needed a new one that had a double pump feature. I ended up purchasing the S9 Portable Double Electric Breast Pump. I received it in the mail the following day and tested it immediately. It went beyond my expectations as it is small and compact and incredibly quiet. Plus I think the thing that I liked most about the pump is the massage function, which is specifically designed so that you can have a letdown. Also you can’t beat the price, $250AUD is a steal for a high quality breast pump.
Another thing that can occur when you are a breastfeeding mother is the reduction in milk supply when you are due for your period. I really hoped that I would be one of the lucky ones and go without a period for at least 12 months, but nope. My supply halved, and Flynn was beginning to get really fussy and grumpy. I did some research on lactation cookies, and ended up purchasing some biscuits from Pinky McKay’s website called Boobie Bikkies. There is no denying that they work, because they actually do! And it is a far better alternative to prescribed medication. It is thanks to the special ingredients that includes oats, flax seeds and brewers yeast. Boobie Bikkies are a little bit on the expensive side, so you can always try and make them yourself as there are several recipes on the Internet. Or if you are lucky enough, there may be some local support groups on Facebook who help breastfeeding mums out with home made lactation biscuits or muffins.
Today, Flynn is three months old and I have managed to surpass my first child’s breastfeeding journey. I feel incredibly proud of myself to have gotten this far, and I hope to be able to go further. It has been healing experience for me, and has created a deep bond for the both of us. If you have any breastfeeding stories I would love to hear from you.
That’s it for now…