In the next of our Feeding Friday instalments, Lizzie shares with us her journey with baby April. After a difficult start, this Mama has done incredibly well to get as far as she has. Read it and you’ll see. Important to know that a less than ideal start does not mean a doomed feeding experience.
Breastfeeding is hard. I thought I was either going to be able to do it or not.
We had the most incredible birth experience but when it came to the skin to skin and feeding time I only got half an hour as my placenta wouldn’t deliver. I was straddled across a bed pan being catheterised and then needed stitching after the placenta finally delivered. Pete ended up feeding April with an aptamil ready bottle and she guzzled about half the bottle.
April hadn’t fed for about twelve hours but the midwives were happy that she looked like she knew what she was doing and that I had her in the right position. They said that because she had eaten so much and her tummy was only 5mls in size that she probably wouldn’t be hungry for a while and so were happy for us to go home.
We had a chilled out evening as April was mostly sleeping and then a horrific night as she literally cried all night. I tried to feed her all night but she couldn’t latch on or if she did it was for just a few seconds and then fell off.
By the morning we were very concerned that she had hardly eaten for over twenty four hours. I couldn’t see it but Pete thought she looked jaundiced. We knew we had a midwife coming round that day but had no clue what time it would be so we rang the community midwives and it went straight through to answer machine so we then rang MB2 who also tried to get hold of the community midwives. They couldn’t get through either so called us back and told us to come to A&E.
We were seen quickly in A&E and in the meantime our community midwife turned up at our house where my Mum was. The kind midwife then came up to the hospital and did all her checks there. She said that as she had had a few wet and dirty nappies that she would be fine but by then the Drs had checked April’s blood sugars and she was hypoglycaemic and dehydrated. We then got sent to Neptune Ward where we were very well looked after but April had to have an NG tube put up her nose and into her stomach which she then had aptamil formula fed to her through.
April also ended up having to have a couple of days of IV antibiotics as the treatment for a baby that isn’t feeding and a baby that has an infection are the same, as the symptoms are so similar. Once her blood sugars had returned to normal within about five minutes, I was encouraged to try and breast feed every three hours and then to pump milk ready for the next NG feed so I could get my milk flowing and so we could feed her what breast milk I could get out, via the NG and then top her up with aptamil. I did this for 48 hours straight with about five hours sleep over this period and it was exhausting.
On the Sunday afternoon the consultant came on his rounds and confirmed that the blood cultures taken had shown no signs of infection and so we were able to go home that evening which was a relief. A breastfeeding support lady came to see how I was feeding April and she said as the midwives had said, that she was in the correct position but just needed a lot of practice. I bottle fed and breast fed whilst April was learning to feed and after a lot of hard work April finally got it! Yay!
April fed really well on the breast after an initially horrible start and has continued to do so for almost six months without any hiccups with the exception of when she literally sucked a blister into my nipple which left me with only one functioning nipple for a couple of days and an angry baby who was rather hungry despite five hours pretty much straight feeding! I rested my mutilated nipple for a couple of days and used the miracle cream that is Lansinoh which allowed me to heal really quickly and get back to breastfeeding.
On the whole my breastfeeding experience has been a really positive one with a rocky start and a minor inconvenience towards the six month mark. I’ve really enjoyed it and I’m really pleased that I persevered at the beginning.