We catch up with Emily as she tells us about her first breastfeeding journey with son Charlie. As a midwife, Emily has experience supporting others to breastfeed however explains how this was very different when it becomes her personal journey. Emily lives in the UK with her newborn Charlie, and partner Billy.
How did you feel about breastfeeding before birth?
I was very keen to give breastfeeding a go prior to having Charlie, however I was aware that it cannot always be the easiest thing to do so I tried to not put too much pressure on myself. I had taken some herbal supplements to help increase my milk supply and I had done some expressing of colostrum from 36 weeks to again increase my supply.
Tell us about your first latch or the latching experience in the first few days?
I have had experience supporting women to breastfeed however when it comes to you doing it, it was a completely different experience. I was all fingers and thumbs and didn’t really know what position to be in or where to put Charlie, so the first day and night I was buzzing for help a lot. I remember curling my toes when Charlie first latched - not because it was painful it was just a very different experience and there was a little pinch however it soon eased, and Charlie took to it like a natural.
How did breastfeeding your new baby make you feel?
As Charlie had an infection and had been quite unwell it was very important to me that I continued to breastfeed him to give him all the goodness from the breast milk to help fight the infection. I loved the fact that I could feed him and that if he was fractious or crying if I fed him, he settled. I remember being up in the middle of the night on New Year’s Eve on the postnatal ward, my husband was asleep on the pull-out bed beside me and I was breastfeeding Charlie watching fireworks out of the window. He was doing great and I just remember feeling so happy and proud of him being able to feed so well at only 1 day old.
Did you have any complications with breastfeeding?
We had to stay in hospital for a week due to Charlie being on antibiotics. Whilst admitted he also became jaundiced which led to him being really sleepy and not wanting to feed. I had expressed some colostrum prior to going into hospital so I had this and the midwives supported me to express milk on the ward so that we had extra for him as he was too tired to feed from the breast. Once he had phototherapy for the jaundice and his antibiotics started to work, he perked back up and had more energy to feed.
Did you express milk? And how was that experience?
I am approaching 6 months of breastfeeding Charlie and I still express once or twice a day - normally on a morning. Sometimes if he wakes before midnight my husband will give him this whilst I get some sleep as I get up with him any other times through the night. However, I am storing some of my milk as we approach weaning with Charlie as I want a stash for using when cooking his meals.
How did you feel breastfeeding in front of others or in public?
I was nervous that in public he would become wound up and upset and not latch and I would be sitting there with him crying and unable to feed him. I was more worried about the attention this would bring. I felt more confident if I was out with my husband as I knew there was another pair of hands about and that should anyone say anything he was there. I didn’t have much experience feeding in public as the lockdown for corona was announced but I feel like I would be more confident feeding out in public now as he latches very easily.
What tips or advice would you give to mums-to-be?
Take all the support offered by professionals in the early days. It’s very tempting to get home from the hospital as soon as possible however these early days are when you build your confidence and you have support 24/7. Also do not put pressure on yourself for anything and just do what is best for you and your baby.
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