Todays story is by Olivia you can connect with her via Instagram @olivia_the_hinge
"I always knew I'd breastfeed, my mum fed me until I was nearly 2 and it just felt right to me.
After my daughter's birth I felt I'd 'failed' at the whole birthing business so I was determined to nail breastfeeding.
My daughter just wouldn't open her mouth wide enough to latch effectively as a newborn. Ironically I'm a midwife and was desperately asking the midwives on the ward if it looked ok, isn't it crazy how your own self belief and knowledge disappears once you're a mother!!
I kept being told, her poos have changed on day 2, they wouldn't happen with a bad latch. Eventually once home, with agonising cracked nipples a midwife finally mentioned tongue tie. What I find frustrating is midwives aren't trained to diagnose tongue ties (unless they undertake further education) yet we're the ones on the front line looking for them but not really sure half the time. I booked to see a tongue tie specialist on day 7, thankfully at this point my daughter hadn't lost much weight at all and even with her dire latch was easily getting plenty of milk.
She was diagnosed with an anterior tongue tie and lip tie, we had the tongue tie divided at the that appointment. Instantly feeding was much more comfortable, the relief was incredible. I was crying with happiness and with guilt at her having to endure the procedure. The lactation consultant also diagnosed me with breast thrush, my nipples were pink as opposed to the dark brown of my areola. This also explained some
This also explained some of the agony I was feeling, like sucking shards of glass through my nipples during a feed and burning afterwards wasn't just down to the poor latch but thrush too.
Getting rid of the thrush and therefore letting my cracked nipples heal took a long long journey. Supplements, diet and medication went on for 6 weeks. I had to fight with my GP for medication, my daughter started to falter in her weight gain during this period, despite having so much milk at the beginning.
I was stressed out and in pain, still trying to recover from a large postpartum haemorrhage. In the end I took domperidone a drug to boost my milk supply, a difficult decision of risk versus benefit. This whole time I had people who were trying to be kind suggesting I supplement my daughter with formula. This made me angry and upset, I found breastfeeding a very very emotional experience. I felt my milk supply or lack of a direct correlation between my ability as a mother.
If I couldn't nourish my child I was a crap mother. Ridiculous, I know! Once you're out of that haze you can see how silly you were. But as a vulnerable, new mother, trying to find her feet and a stubborn streak making you keep slogging at feeding you can get completely absorbed in to judging yourself.
The domperidone did it's job and after 4 weeks of a reducing dose I had a bountiful supply. In hind sight I think I could have forgone the drugs and used good old fashioned skin to skin and techniques to reduce my stress.
At nearly 20 months my daughter is still breastfed, the only milk she has ever drank is from me. A fact I'm so proud of. My daughter's latch has always been poor but thankfully no longer painful. I'm plagued by blocked ducts and have had bouts of thrush again but we're still going! I've wanted to throw in the towel many times and I've cried many many tears but breastfeeding is my way of mothering. I'm a strong believer in parenting using your instincts, I still even with a toddler have still even with a toddler have an overwhelming urge to hold her to my breast for comfort, nutrition, sleep and everything in between.
Breastfeeding has moulded me as a mother, it helped me transition to my new role, thank goodness for my stubborn streak!!"