Breast Feeding Week Australia
In Honour of Breastfeeding week last week we set out to get the Feeding stories from our staff here at Boston Bay Family Health Practice…. It took us a little longer than planned… but here they all are….. We love that the clear message through out all of our stories is to SEEK SUPPORT, relax & not put so much pressure on yourself - IT IS HARD!!!! And that we recognise that however it happens.. HAPPY HEALTHY MUM = HAPPY HEALTHY BABY is paramount!
At Boston Bay whilst we follow the WHO Breastfeeding guidelines whenever is it possible.. we also support mothers through whatever feeding journey they chose to take.
I breastfed all 3 of my children. A breastfeeding nazi the whole time and trained as a Breast Feeding Counsellor with Nursing Mothers Australia (the precursor to Breastfeeding Australia).I can honesty say that my first two children never had a bottle and the third only had a bottle from 10 months when I was admitted to hospital extremely ill, worn out with a systemic infection from being so run down trying to feed said 10 month old every 2-3 hours 24 hours a day. When the doctor forced my husband to “take this baby away and don’t bring him back until he can drink from a bottle” - I cried and cried.
Now as a doctor I think breast feeding is best.. but what is better is a healthy mum and happy baby, and how ever you achieve that is fine. If you can, excellent! If you’re having problems then as much breast milk as you can get into your baby’s diet by whatever means you can for as long as you can. If you only manage the colostrum, no problem you’ve won. And if you choose to bottle feed for your own mental and physical health then your bonding with your baby will still be better than if you force yourself to feed while not enjoying it.
Breast feeding is best but good bonding is better. Don’t make parenting any harder than it needs to be. Enjoy your baby!!!
Amelia De Nicola
Like most things in early parenthood, learning to breast feed was harder work than we had anticipated. I am so grateful for the amazing support that we received. It is such an amazing thing, but also involves some sacrifices (especially when those teeth come through - ouch!!)
The early days of breast feeding involved planning and preparation - pillow, foot rest, water, snacks and trying to perfectly align and time that tiny mouth latching on. These days it’s usually Arthur face-planting into my chest wherever we are, his favourite trick at the moment is doing some yoga (downward facing dog) with my nipple in his mouth. What hasn’t changed is his eyes rolling back and the look of complete bliss and contentment at the start of a feed - so satisfying!
Everyone has a different feeding journey (be it breast, bottle, SNS - whatever!) which deserves to be celebrated xx
Three kids and three different stories I’ve had it all. I always thought I would breastfeed all my babes and for as long as I could but the world had different plans. My first was a feeding nazi demanded every hour on the hour, it hurt like hell and I unfortunately lived no where near my doctor or nurse. Unsupported and uneducated I turned to formula at 6 weeks - I felt like a failure until my mum said holly this baby is happy if mums happy! So that’s what I did!
Second babe and I thought I’ve got this! I fed on demand and managed for 6 weeks until I got an infection that didn’t seem to clear and once again living far far away from support, I broke down and bottle fed. I remember calling the nurse to ask for advice and help to no avail. I was disappointed but my babe was happy and fed and that’s all that mattered!
Skip forward 8 years and let’s have another baby, COMPLETELY different story.....great GP, great midwives, great support network - all who listened to my concerns and fears and supported me 110%. I fed on demand, relaxed and focused on the time with my baby! I made it 13 months and loved every single minute!!!! So I’ve had it all and looking back can while heartily say you do you! Don’t feel guilty support your friends and love your babes! Xxx
My breastfeeding journey initially started with no thought of breastfeeding when pregnant with number 1. My whole focus was on labour and birth. That quickly changed and my OCD obsession with correct attachment, positioning and scheduling feeds saw the ongoing struggle with mastitis however I was not going to let that get in the way of my desire to breastfeed. The journey ended sooner than I had wanted however in reflection this shaped my ongoing breastfeeding experiences.
This ‘first’ was what made me grow as a breastfeeding mother. I was more relaxed, picked up on my baby cues and sat back and enjoyed the experience. Managing the juggle of work and breastfeeding in breaks (thanks to BBFHP) enabled me to breastfeed till 17months. This shows just how much of a strain employment can have for women juggling to continue breastfeeding and work. I didn’t want to express and bottle feed as time to express was not my forte and I was terrible at expressing. Thanks to Marika’s advice mastitis didn’t strike its head again during my breastfeeding journey! Yes we all remember those little things we are told.
Knowing #3 was the final time I would breastfeed this one was the most rewarding and enjoyable. I made the most of feeding at night, every silent momentbreastfeeding. However, this was the first time I actually realised how isolating breastfeeding is. While the family are playing at the beach there I was sitting in the shade breastfeeding! I finally understood how other women felt. However I soon swapped my way of thinking by recognising that breastfeeding wasn’t forever and before long we would all be playing at the beach. ‘Stay in the present’.
Breastfeeding till 2.5 years I witnessed the perceived and social unacceptable and stigmatising practice of breastfeeding beyond 12 months. Having to ‘hide’ the fact you are still breastfeeding due to the lack of breastfeeding support beyond 12 months. Although breastfeeding was an easy journey for me personally there is always something to take from the experience.
My breastfeeding journey has taught me so much as a health professional and I am shocked how much I continue to learn. I’m so excited to see where this next journey will take me. I aim to support those who choose to breastfeed newborns, toddlers or tandem feed as an attempt to normalise breastfeeding. I believe no one can anticipate what breastfeeding will feel like for a woman or baby. The most important thing no matter how you feed your baby is to pause and remind yourself that mothering is an ever going relationship of giving but also receiving, savor the moment and keep your babies close to your hearts.
For me; breastfeeding is one of the hardest things I have ever done. During my pregnancy its not something that I thought too much about and If I’m being honest all I was really focused on was the grand finale- the labour!!
Growing up I remember watching my mum feed my younger sister I would sit next to her and pretend to feed my dolly by lifting up my shirt and putting the dolls mouth to my 4 year old flat chest - I guess I assumed it would be as easy as that and boy was I wrong!
During the first few months of breastfeeding I often thought that I couldn’t keep going.. I remember constantly telling myself, “just get through this night.. just get through this day.. just get through this week” always bargaining with myself to hold on just a little bit more. Physically and emotionally exhausted... crying when the baby cried & not sleeping when the baby slept then combine trying to learn a new skill on top of all that with a savage squawking newborn, a pretty worse for wear sore cracked nipple and a let down spraying milk EVERYWHERE and you’ve got yourself a pretty picture of what the first few weeks, every few hours looked like for us.
Once my baby was born and up on my chest for skin to skin contact (best feeling ever by the way - because duh the labours OVER.. ohh wait here comes the placenta 🤣) I cuddled him, counted his fingers and toes (does everyone do this?) checked to make sure he was in fact a he and then I popped him on my breast.. it was as automatic as swatting a fly away on a summers day.... he fed really well and I remember thinking this is pretty easy.. Netflix and chill for the rest of my maternity leave ... cha chinggg.... the midwife commented on his latch (personally I feel like whoever come up with the term “latch” actually meant to say “clamp”) and at that point it didn’t seem to hurt too much... OK so looking back clearly I was on a pretty high on love at this point.. yes his “latch” (clamp) was good, but my nipples were soooo not ready for what was to come!! They should of ran... I should of prepared them ... by this I don’t mean with a pep talk although maybe a few harsh words could have broken the ice but the style I’m talking is more in line with breaking in a brumbie mixed with some some industrial strength sandpaper and maybe, just maybe they would have handled my baby’s wrath ...if only I knew 🤣
The early hours of the first morning after I had given birth my midwife Ella came in and helped me with the first real feed.. she was wonderful.. and had so much patience & on that note we are so so lucky here in Port Lincoln to have such supportive midwives along with Doctor Bascomb, they are all so dedicated to their work and you can see they absolutely love it... but the point here that I am trying to make .. is you can have all the help in the world, you can have the best doctor & midwives in town backing you, you can read books and listen to friends with experience but at the end of the day it’s still going to be hard, but worth it whether that’s for 1 day, 1 week, 1 month or 1 year... Every journey is completely unique.
For me- the first few weeks were painful and the following few months became tolerable - my son had a high palate so it took us some time to get the hang of it, well mainly for my nipples to agree to what they were being subjected to... but gradually week by week the process became less of a pro-cess and was a lot more comfortable- this really enabled breastfeeding to be a time of bonding with my beautiful son.. and I allowed myself to enjoy him so much more.. they grow up so fast, and it’s so easy to focus on that and worry when things aren’t going so well that we aren’t enjoying our babies enough- this is where it becomes easy to spiral into dark times because we feel like we just can’t do everything perfect all of the time... you’ll get there... we all go through these patches and there’s help to get out of them when and if we need. I continued on breastfeeding for 18 months and I’m so proud that I persisted and that my body was able to do such a marvelous thing.
Motherhood is an amazing adventure regardless of breast or bottle, cloth or disposables, organic or packaged food, baby led weaning or spoon feeding.. its a hard enough job either way without the implications of judgement.. & with 9 months of pregnancy hormones and then the birth followed by sleepless nights, mum guilt and allll the things we go through on a day to day basis- the most important thing of all is too remember to look after ourselves so we are able to look after those around us too... #fedisbest
I remember irrationally panicking when i was about 36 weeks pregnant with my first child thinking i wasn’t ready for the baby to come, i didn’t have any pajamas for baby & i didn’t know how to breast feed..
I asked mum “what can i do to get ready for breastfeeding?” to which she replied... get some sandpaper from the shed and rub them over your nipples for the next 4 weeks.... i thought she was joking....
I watched a few videos on youtube - but after seeing one mum drink her own milk at then end of the video - I shut that idea down pretty f#*$ing quickly.
I think Breastfeeding is one of those “mother secrets” that people think is going to come naturally & we forget to tell each other how hard it is because we’re so focused on how bad labour is.
Breast feeding in those first 10 days is a nightmare.. from the post birth contractions in the first 48 hours that were ridiculously intense when feeding (as if learning how to latch a baby wasn’t hard enough!!!) to cracked & bleeding nipples... i had to physically stop myself from holding my breath for the first 30 seconds so i could relax enough to “let down”. So many text and phone calls to mum (Dr Kris), Katie and Marika & lots of support from all the amaxing nurses we work with.. i had more than enough tips, tricks and support to keep me going!
I was stubborn & determined, there was no way i was explaining to my aunties that it was too hard.. however i have every sympathy for those who try but can’t get past those first few weeks! But.. i found once those first couple nightmare weeks are over.. (and after a tongue tie revision experience we won’t delve into) it all clicks & the bonding comes - taking 30 mins to sit down with just the two of you is a special time, just to hold their little hands and have a break. And need i mention - so convenient - compared to lugging bottles and formula around every day - preparing a bottle in the freezing cold at 2am was definitely not my idea of taking “the easy option”!
Of course.. the one mum i promised it got easier jsut get through this week - ended up with mastitis and a 6 week nightmare journey not the 10 days i promised….… - soz!
If you are wanting to breastfeed nd need some support - i certainly recommend coming and chatting with Katie or Marika who are lactation support superstars!!!
And Im not a medical or breastfeeding professional by any means, but a few tips from my two experiences so far:
Express!!!! I spent the first few days breast feeding for 30 mins on each side & exhausting both myself and my baby... once i expressed a few times i saw i only got milk for the first 5 minutes and barely a drop for the next 15 minutes (baby of course can get more than a pump can).. but for me i could easily see that my supply was early & breast feeding became a 20 min exercise rather than 60minutes..
TTBB & Hydrogel nipple disks in the fridge! This combination is a cracked nipple’s best friend!
Take a spare t-shirt with you... everywhere!
& if all that still isn’t helping.. pour yourself a stiff drink, have a few mouthfuls to relax & then start breastfeeding.. (baby will be fine - a drink or two isn’t going to hurt)
And if all else fails... grab the bottle.. (And if you can breastfeed but need a night off.. i found the como-tomo bottles were the perfect breast alternative - the only one either of my boys would take at 11 months after trying 47 different types)!!
If you breastfed for a week, a month, a year or 3 years.. ur a hero in my eyes!!
Plus more of our amazing staff stories to come… would you like to share your journey with Us? Email it through x