One from the archives as it’s all going to be coming back very very soon!
This post has been a long time coming, I’m going to really have to rack my brain for memories of what we did from the very beginning and this was only 18months ago… Eek!!
I’ll apologise now as this is going to be a fairly long post, but I think it’s important to write it all down. When I was struggling I trawled the internet for something like this and unfortunately I didn’t come across it…you’ll read what I managed to find further down!
Way before I found out I was pregnant I had already decided I was going to breastfeed, not thinking that things might not actually go to plan! I had luckily been given some bottles,sterilising stuff and a brand new pump, not that I thought I would need them though.
When Bets arrived, I was very lucky to have skin to skin immediately, a feeling I’ll never forget. Things then went a little pear shaped but everything was brought under control fairly quickly, well to me anyway. The midwife who was with us during the birth then seemed to leave us for a little bit, although this memory is a little vague I remember ‘giving’ Bets her first feed,well I thought I did anyway but the midwife hadn’t checked her latch.
Due to circumstances after the birth I had to stay in hospital for the night, which at the time I was not best pleased about but in hindsight it was the best thing for us! The midwife on the ward that night was fantastic. We had started to struggle with feeding, Bets couldn’t latch and was getting hungry. The midwife came over and sort of assessed the situation…”the reason she’s struggling to latch is that you have ‘flat’ nipples dear”. Great, what on earth am I going to do now, I didn’t want to just give up but if my nipples didn’t do what they were supposed to what could I do? She explained there were things on the market that could help ‘draw’ my nipples out over time but for now the best thing would be to get nipple shields!
That night meant I was on a double breast pump and feeding Bets through a syringe. This was strange as I wasn’t doing what I had thought all along I would be, but in the circumstances you just do what you have to do. The midwife constantly helped me position her to try and latch but she just wasn’t having it. She had a great suck but unfortunately for her there just wasn’t something big enough to suck.
I text mum to bring some nipple shields for me the following day, read the instructions and thankfully she was on. (At least that’s what we thought)
Once home I was searching for these items that would supposedly ‘draw’ my nipples out. I managed to find two different methods along with lots of wives tales of things to try…
Number 1: Lansinoh Latch Assist
I imagine this would be a great product if you had realised or been told wayyyy before in your pregnancy that this product would help draw out your nipples, but trying to use it when you’ve HAD a baby and you’re producing milk isn’t great. It hardly brought my nipples out and would just fill up with milk and then drop off and then I’d be soaked in my own milk! Not great.
Number 2: Avent Niplette
Again another product which is recommended for use during pregnancy. This unfortunately did exactly the same thing. They would suck the nipple out fill with milk and drop off within about 20seconds.
So I was pretty stuck…both items that had been recommend didn’t work, what do I do next? People on the internet suggested I use my breast pump as that draws your nipples out repeatedly, which I was doing after every feed anyway because I insisted if she wouldn’t latch properly she would at least have my milk and feed from a bottle so along side this I was using the nipple shields.
This went on for about 3 weeks but then Bets hadn’t managed to get back to birth weight (annoyingly the midwife who didn’t check her latch also may have got her birth weight wrong, as she admitted to us, she could never work out the conversions. So Bets had been recorded at 3520g which is 7lbs 12oz however because she had lost so much weight in 3weeks the health visitor and other midwives believed she may have been 3250g which is 7lbs 2oz, slightly different) This meant that we really needed to work out this feeding malarky. I was really worried they were going to give her formula, I felt I just had to step it up a notch and find a way of getting this right.
I watched youtube video after youtube video about getting the right latch, but we just couldn’t get it right, she would just scream and scream and get herself all worked up! I constantly looked at the breastfeeding phone numbers and in the end one evening I gave in a called the La Leche League. I was on the phone to the lady for 45minutes, she was brilliant but told me everything I already knew. The best advice was to get myself to a breast feeding support group and told me where there was one close.
I was nervous about going as I felt a little bit of a let down to my baby, but I knew deep down if I wanted to carry on I had to do it. Thank god it was the next day..for an hour and a half I sat with other new mums who had exactly the same problems as me…it was so nice to finally realise it wasn’t just me. The lady who ran the class was brilliant, we sat and worked out different positions, she psychically tried to latch Bets, which showed me I wasn’t being firm enough, she also looked at my nipple shields and straight away she told me they weren’t the right size and I wasn’t putting them on right. So I bought new ones and at the next class we worked out together making sure they went on right, just everything about it gave me more fight to do it. After two classes and trying every feed she was so nearly there, I watched one more youtube video of a lady telling you to just let them scream, they will latch when they want food.
I put everything into practice and after 6weeks of hard hard work she latched! The relief, I couldn’t move from whatever strange position I had got myself in, she was on!
Week by week went by, she was putting on like 9oz -14oz a week it was unbelievable! We had finally worked breastfeeding out, hurrah!
I wish so much that my midwife during my pregnancy had looked at my nipples, maybe then I would have found out I had flat nipples and been able to do something about it. That 6 weeks has got to of been the longest ever when you’re having to feed every 3hours. But hey we then managed to feed for 17 brilliant months…I’m so glad I stuck with it.
If anyone would like any help or generally just a chat about things please don’t hesitate to get in touch.