Rebecca's Breastfeeding Story

Rebecca's Breastfeeding Story

Breastfeeding my first baby didn’t quite go to plan. I assumed that being something so natural, my baby and I would just know what to do. Everything looked fine when we went home for the first time but I ran into trouble in the days following and the pain I was experiencing led to exclusively expressing breastmilk for the next six months.

Fast forward now to baby number 2 – my son, Fletcher. I did all the preparation that I could as I was determined to meet my goal this time of breastfeeding exclusively for six months and then continuing until he self-weaned. I was very fortunate that in the final weeks of my pregnancy, the Mater Parenting Support Centre opened its doors. I made an appointment with a lactation consultant and discussed my previous breastfeeding journey and my goals, and collected everything I needed to begin antenatally expressing colostrum just in case there was a need for it.

Other than a slight delay having our first feed, when Fletcher was born everything seemed to be going very well. I offered the breast frequently, my milk came in on day 3 and he lost very little weight. I was having a little bit of pain and so I worked with a lactation consultant on the ward and we looked at different positions to try.

Two weeks after going home I was still experiencing nipple pain. Fletcher was making clicking sounds when he was feeding and getting milk everywhere, he struggled with wind pain and was vomiting most of his feeds. The pain was enough to induce tears each feed so it was clear we needed some assistance. I contacted the Parenting Support Centre and was offered an appointment with a lactation consultant the very next day. We worked on positioning and attachment and came up with a plan which was written down for me to take home. It was extremely frustrating for me when things weren’t falling into place but reassuring that this time around I had a plan in place and was getting help. 

Fletcher had a few functional issues and a shallow latch which were corrected but it took some time to see improvement. We had regular follow up appointments with a lactation consultant which encouraged me to keep going week to week, and it was wonderful having the option of a telehealth appointment so we didn’t need to make the trek in every time, which is much easier with a young baby.

We are now 10 months into our breastfeeding journey and very pleased to report that we did meet our first goal of six months exclusively breastfeeding and still going strong. I am so proud that we made it over the hurdles so I can offer Fletcher not only the nutrition but the comfort that nursing brings to him (it really does, it’s amazing!).

It has most certainly been a team effort! I am forever grateful for the support of the wonderful staff at the Mater Parenting Support Centre, without whom I don’t think I would’ve kept going when things were tough. Having access to a team of lactation consultants for the first six months of Fletcher’s life made all the difference, as well as surrounding ourselves with a village of supportive women through our local ABA group meetings (which we still attend). I highly recommend for any new mum who doesn’t think things feel quite right to pick up the phone and seek assistance. There is support waiting on the end of the phone and I am so glad that I called. 

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