Breastfeeding stories

Breastfeeding Stories

Chantelle's Story - October 2014

My name’s Chantelle Hall-Lindop and I am a 22 year old mum with two children (Arabella who is nearly 3 and Alfie who is 5 weeks old)

Let's start with Arabella...  I was a young mum at the age of 19 when I had her and breastfeeding never entered my mind. I didn’t know anyone my age that had done it. Near the end of my pregnancy I said I would try.  I had a rough pregnancy and felt quite down but when labour finally started I was so excited.  When the time came to push I was happy it was all nearly over.  After nearly 2 days of labour she was born within minutes!

I had no understanding of technique or how to get her to latch and felt I had failed when I couldn't get her to take the breast. I waited for my milk to come in but it never did, which just made me feel more like a failure.

So I gave her a bottle but still struggled.  I felt as though I struggled to bond with her. It wasn't because I didn't breastfeed but because I didn't get the support I needed. So many people say bottle is easier but for me that wasn’t true; we had many issues including tongue tie and dairy intolerance. 

So now to Alfie our newest addition, born 5 weeks ago! I was so determined to breastfeed this time that I focused on making sure I was prepared and had all the information I could.  I enjoyed the last few months of pregnancy and was in a good place ready to meet our new baby and had high hopes for breastfeeding. My hopes were raised further as I started to leak like crazy and was optimistic I'd make milk for our baby.

Our son was born very quickly and gave us all a shock with his size! Again I couldn't get baby to latch but I decided he wasn't hungry and to wait but wasn't put off.   Later that night we had our first feed, it wasn't easy, it took a while to get him on and he would come off very easily.  We went home and I continued to struggle to get him in a good position and feeding didn't feel right. 

At 4 days old I went to my local breastfeeding group at Hand in Hand Children’s Centre, Twydall and sat with a peer supporter who helped me to get him to latch properly and reassured me with everything I needed to know.

I sat there for two hours with my huge leaking breasts in front of a room full of women who all looked at me like I was just another mum - no one judged me they all seemed to not even notice me feeding.  I felt safe and relaxed. I was assessed and my baby's latch was checked and my technique was tweaked yet something wasn't working as he was still falling asleep feeding.  The peer supporter recommended I go along to the Medway Breastfeeding Clinic for a more in depth assessment and they diagnosed a tongue tie.  From the moment it was cut things got easier; the improvement was instant and it just got better from there on.

Feeding became easy and stress free - if he was hungry I just fed him. I didn’t need to make a bottle and wait for it to cool. All I could think was I wish I had known more before with Arabella.  I had a rough start breastfeeding but now I'm 5 weeks in and enjoying it and would never look back.

It took me a year to enjoy feeding Arabella and 2 weeks with Alfie and not because I bonded better but because I was able to bond straight away with him.  I tell everyone to try breastfeeding as it's better for you as well as the baby.  No one tells you the fact it's easier than a bottle but also that it benefits your wellbeing – both mentally and physically. I felt better quicker after the birth and much less stressed.  Everyone says how good it is for the baby but it's just as rewarding for the mum.

I hope my story has something in it that can be used and help other mums who are struggling or undecided on what route they want to take. Thanks for reading

Chantelle

Manda and Dexter's story

"I wasn't totally sure if I was going to be able to breastfeed at first but I knew in my heart I really wanted to try.  After naturally giving birth to him, I was given my perfect little bundle all naked and bloody and asked what I wanted to do. Straight away I said breastfeed - so they helped me put him on and straight away he started feeding.  I couldn't believe it! It was so amazing!

After that, breastfeeding wasn't such smooth sailing. For the first couple of weeks Dex wasn't feeding properly as we hadn’t been shown at the hospital and he was full of mucus from the birth. He wasn't interested in feeding as he felt full from the mucus so he lost quite a bit of weight in the first couple of days.

I still think back and say to Martin how proud of myself I am that we did persevere and make it through.  I feel I gave my son the best start there is and created the most amazing bond between us. I couldn't of done it with out the help of Martin and my local Midwifery Care Assistant Bev Bilton.  Bev was amazing! I couldn't of thanked her enough for all that she did as I really throught I would have given up if it wasn't for her, but with her daily and constant support on the phone or in person, Me and Dex pulled through it! We got him feeding properly and regularly and got past the painful part. 

Dex then fed regularly every couple of hours, morning and night, I loved having him in my arms watching him feed and also having that spare hand free to be able to do any other tasks, like texting or changing the channel! When Martin went back to work it was quite a sad time for me and Dex as we loved having him around.  Martin works long hours and we both wanted Martin to be able to have a bit more time with Dexter, Martin only got home at 6pm and Dex would go to bed at 6.30 which only I could do to breastfeed him.  So we decided to make the big decision of Daddy giving a formula bottle feed when going to bed so that they could have that nice time together, and also I got a bit of Mummy time, to watch my 'Hollyoaks'.  

I went along to a Medway Breastfeeding Network drop-in with Hayley and Tamsin when Dex was about 6 or 7 months'ish, they were both lovely and very helpful and spoke through some concerns I had at the time :o) I continued to breastfeed Dex up until he was 10 months old, so only just recently stopped.  I wanted to breastfeed him up till a year but unfortunately I was put on some medication that I could not breastfeed on for a week.  So I felt this was probably the best opportunity to stop.  Luckily he's never been a fussy one anyway and always loved his milk or food where ever it came from... its just me that misses it."


Kimberley and Jenson's story

"Breastfeeding was something I was always unsure of before I was pregnant and during the early stages of my pregnancy. After attending Antenatal classes and doing a bit of research in magazines and on the internet, it was something I decided I was going to have a go at.

After a somewhat difficult labour, I was given my beautiful baby boy and immediately he began to feed. As I had to have an epidural, I still had no feeling from the breast area downwards, so I wasn’t really sure if I was doing it properly but as my son seemed content afterwards guessed it must have been okay. Throughout the remainder of my stay in the hospital, which was only overnight, I continued to breastfeed my son using the tips I had been given at my antenatal classes. Several midwives had been to check on me throughout the night and the day I was discharged and they seemed happy enough with my technique. It was only when I got home that I had noticed that my nipples had very small red looking cracks on them. After a day or two at home these cracks got progressively worse and to make matters worse, at that stage my milk had really started to come in. In all honestly every time I fed my son I was in real discomfort to the point where I was crying before every feed.

Luckily, I have a fantastically supportive husband and mum, both of whom said to me there would be no shame in giving up if I found it to painful. I was in two minds what to do, but one thing was for certain I could not continue on like this. I remembered at a ‘Care of Newborns’ antenatal class I attended at my local Sure Start Centre, we were all introduced to Wendy a Breastfeeding Peer Support volunteer with the Medway Breastfeeding Network, so I decided to contact the centre to see if Wendy could help me. Peer Supporters like Wendy, are mums who have breastfed their own children and had extra training to help support other women.

The ladies at the Sure Start Centre were so helpful and supportive and said they would pass my number to Wendy immediately. The very same day Wendy contacted me and arranged to do a home visit the next day. Wendy came as planned we discussed latching techniques and ways in which to hold my son whilst he was feeding. We also discussed ways in which to treat my sore nipples. All in all at the end of our session I felt a lot happier and more confident about feeding. Using all of Wendy’s tips, very quickly my sore nipples healed and feeding became a lot easier. Wendy kept in contact and assured me if I had any questions she was only on the end of the phone. I can honestly say without Wendy’s initial help and then continued support I would of given up breastfeeding. I am so glad I continued, as not only have I found it very easy and convenient especially when being out and about and getting up for night feeds, but I feel it has made the bond between my son and I much stronger.

To any other mums out there having problems with breastfeeding, I can assure you, you may not find it easy at the beginning, but with perseverance and getting the help and support that it is out there, it can become a very enjoyable experience for both mother and baby".


Liane and Freya's story

"My daughter Freya is now 8 months old and I still love feeding her and the bond we share. I visited my local feeding support group during the first few weeks of having her to meet other breastfeeding mummies and for information and tips on how to feed her confidently in public. Feeding discreetly in public was very important to me, more so I didn't feel exposed and self-conscious myself rather than the reactions that I may face. I didn't want to hide myself away whilst feeding and miss out on being a sociable new mummy. I was given tips by Liz (my peer supporter) which has enabled me to feed Freya happily and discreetly where ever we are, at a group, out for lunch or walking around town and even be photographed doing it!!!

Liz informed me that there is legislation in place to protect breastfeeding mummies from being asked to cover up or leave, feeding your baby is perfectly natural and such an amazing experience, what would I be teaching my daughter and others by feeling the need to hide in toilets and other shut off rooms while doing so? I wouldn't eat my lunch with a blanket placed over my head so why give that experience to Freya? Liz suggested wearing a vest top underneath my outfit so I could raise the outer layer while pulling the top of the vest down, keeping my stomach and chest covered and leaving a window for Freya to feed. I practiced at home and was soon feeding her anywhere, feeling completely unexposed and enjoying a very sociable life as a new breastfeeding mummy. Liz handed us all helpful numbers and websites to ensure that there is always somebody available for help and information all hours of the day.

Having support and encouragement in the initial weeks helped me to persevere through establishing our feeding too. Freya and myself made lots of new friends as well as getting the support we needed to feed happily together".

Breastfeeding was something I was always unsure of before I was pregnant and during the early stages of my pregnancy. After attending Antenatal classes and doing a bit of research in magazines and on the internet, it was something I decided I was going to have a go at.

After a somewhat difficult labour, I was given my beautiful baby boy and immediately he began to feed. As I had to have an epidural, I still had no feeling from the breast area downwards, so I wasn’t really sure if I was doing it properly but as my son seemed content afterwards guessed it must have been okay. Throughout the remainder of my stay in the hospital, which was only overnight, I continued to breastfeed my son using the tips I had been given at my antenatal classes. Several midwives had been to check on me throughout the night and the day I was discharged and they seemed happy enough with my technique. It was only when I got home that I had noticed that my nipples had very small red looking cracks on them. After a day or two at home these cracks got progressively worse and to make matters worse, at that stage my milk had really started to come in. In all honestly every time I fed my son I was in real discomfort to the point where I was crying before every feed.


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