Breastfeeding 1,2 and 3

When you are pregnant, breastfeeding is a hot topic. It is discussed in antenatal classes, on social media and in the labour ward. How you feed your baby is a very personal choice. I have never been one for pushing it onto someone who, for whatever reason, just thinks it isn’t for them. But for me, from the day the 2 lines on the pregnancy test turned blue, breastfeeding was the obvious choice. I had boobs, they made milk – easy peasy right?

Wrong.

After the birth of my first baby – a traumatic and long labour ending in a crash C section under general anaesthetic, I was in no fit state to feed my baby in any way shape or form, and my daughter wasn’t up to feeding either. She started life in special care with drips and a tube up her nose, down which I would syringe the tiny amounts of colostrum I was expressing several times a day. My boobs hurt, in fact everything hurt, and I couldn’t see how breastfeeding would ever be established. But it was, and by the time we came home, my daughter fed every 3-4 hours. We battled through mastitis with the help of antibiotics, warm compresses and an industrial quantity of paracetamol, and our breastfeeding journey continued for 10 happy months.

Second baby, another journey. My son was born 6 weeks prematurely, and couldn’t suck. Again, I expressed tiny, regular amounts of colostrum and dutifully syringed them down his tube. Once my milk came in, I hooked myself up to the electric pump like a cow, and pumped ounce after ounce for him. It was so satisfying seeing that precious milk filling up bottle after bottle, and being able to offer my son the best nutrition even though he couldn’t suck. Every time he was tube fed, I would put him to the breast to encourage latching – and one day, he got it. That was it, we were off!

Third time round, I was certain we would have an easier start. This baby wouldn’t be a special care baby – wrong again. Baby 3 was born 4 weeks early, and had breathing problems. Cue another SCBU unit, another baby in an incubator. This time, there was no need for a feeding tube as his sucking reflex was well developed, and despite the CPAP mask over his face, I breastfed from day 1. Within 24 hours, he was strong enough to have the breathing support removed, and the following day we were home with a baby who loved boobs, and continued to do so for many months. 

Breastfeeding is not always as simple as whipping out a boob and directing into the waiting mouth of your newborn. For me it was never that easy. Some days were a real battle, where I could have happily reached for a bottle of formula and called it a day. But I am glad I didn’t. Not because formula is evil (it’s really not), but because breastfeeding was what I wanted for my babies, and I am so proud to say I did it.

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15 Comments

  1. Trisha Thomas
    April 11, 2014 / 11:03 pm

    Well Done Kate! I managed to breast feed both of my girls even with Sophie going into special care too. She had a bad start where we kept losing her heartbeat that ended up in an emergency c section. Very scary.- the nurse came to me with the tiniest of syringes to express. Then the next day they brought her to me where she latched on perfectly. Holly I fed whilst still in recovery after a planned c section. Its very natural to do and I’m glad I got to experience it.

  2. April 11, 2014 / 11:03 pm

    Such an open and honest post. I always love reading posts about breastfeeding as I often felt like giving up when I was breastfeeding my son but I am glad I kept going.

  3. Michelle Murray
    April 11, 2014 / 11:04 pm

    I have nominated you for the most inspiring blog award – I love reading your blog xx

  4. Julie
    April 11, 2014 / 11:04 pm

    Well done for not giving up and getting there in the end!

  5. April 11, 2014 / 11:04 pm

    You are incredible lady. Sticking at it & successfully feeding all three of your lovely babies despite the hardest of starts x

    • April 11, 2014 / 11:07 pm

      Thank you – right back at ya! x x

    • April 18, 2014 / 8:54 pm

      Just stopping back from #MMWBH x

  6. Nayna Kanabar
    April 11, 2014 / 11:05 pm

    You have been so brave and its brilliant that you persevered .Alot of women would have given up. Well done.

  7. April 11, 2014 / 11:10 pm

    Well done Kate you are amazing hun you should be so proud x

  8. April 12, 2014 / 12:26 am

    You have done fantastic. Breastfeeding is hard. I just couldn’t do it – I tried y best with my first two, and tied myself up in knots about not being able to do it – tears everywhere. So when it came to my third, my husband told the midwife that we would like to bottle feed. And in all honesty – I bonded with my third the quickest. I suppose I just did what was right for me, and right for my babies at the time. You have done the same, and what a great job you have done 🙂 xxx

  9. April 12, 2014 / 2:15 pm

    Oh wow, you really had a time of it. Good on you for persevering. I never had to syringe feed, it sounds like a really tough time.x

  10. April 16, 2014 / 8:38 pm

    Wow, well done for breastfeeding all your children even in such difficult circumstances. I was very lucky to have a very straightforward birth and a baby who was pretty easy to feed from the start. I can’t imagine quite how hard it must be when your baby is so tiny or sick. Really inspiring to see it can still be done. #MMWBH

  11. April 16, 2014 / 9:26 pm

    Amazing! Well done you for battling through and BF your kids, despite all the challenges. Hope this helps other mums facing SCBU see what is possible… #MMWBH

  12. May 21, 2014 / 9:56 am

    wow, what a story, im planning to breastfeed and actually yesterday said that will see how it goes, this post gave me optimism that if things are not working out you can always find ways around it

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