When I had my first, my goal was to breastfeed for approximately a year since that seemed like an average goal. I ended up having my son six weeks early, and breastfeeding was very difficult, even with great help at the hospital. I told them no bottles were to be used at the hospital, so he was mostly fed through the nasal tube until we improved our breastfeeding relationship. Thankfully, I had loads of colostrum and had been leaking from 26wks pregnant. Pumping was going well, so I was providing more than enough for him in NICU for three weeks and had some left to donate. Breastfeeding wise, we ended up using a nipple shield for four months.
You know, I kept using the shield for all those months because I was so scared of mastitis and nipple problems. Every feed took over an hour, and my mil researched it and shared that they commonly make feeds take a lot longer. I finally got up the nerve to try without it and it went really well. Whew!! Such a relief and the feeds were then so much faster, closer to 10-20 min max. Wow! Finally life moved forward!
From five weeks onwards, I was bleeding two weeks of every month and at one point six weeks straight. (I realised that in hindsight) I was finally tested and had an ultrasound and found out I had PCOS. I went on progesterone for a month when he was 11months old, and instead of continuing to breastfeed, I just weaned him. (Not a decision I would make again) I topped him up with formula once I ran out of frozen milk and used cow's milk once the formula tin was gone. We call him our "experimental child" as it was after we had him that we researched vaccines, breastmilk, antibiotics, pamol, cloth nappies, natural stuff in general.
With my second, the plan was to breastfeed on demand until he naturally weaned, which we did with little issue, thankfully! I did have blocked ducts lead toward mastitis, but with immediate rest, heat, massaging, and high dose vit C (sodium ascorbate), I managed to beat it in a few hours right as the fever started to kick in (more than once!) For me it happens when I get really run down. I fed him until he weaned when I got pregnant with our fourth. I had a short time of nursing aversion when pregnant with our third, and that was extremely baffling and emotional. I hadn't heard of nursing aversion before, so the experience was very confusing at first. Now I share about aversions often so mums know how to get help if they experience it. Sadly, we lost baby three very early on, but baby four came along the next month, much to our delight and surprise! white items to wear for little women
Baby Clay is now nine months and it's been an interesting experience with lip and tongue ties. I just got used to being a bit sore with every feed, you know? It became the norm. I was really careful the first few weeks to get the latch as good as possible, but then I slacked off a bit. We eventually got his ties sorted, which was actually pretty traumatic for me, and I think it has helped somewhat. We plan to bf until natural weaning occurs, but I admit that it's somethhing we have to take one day at a time so it doesn't overwhelm me.
The biggest help in my breastfeeding education was attending Dr. Suzanne Humphries Infant Immunity Seminar in Pukekohe about 3.5 years ago now. It was, without a doubt, the most beneficial thing I could have done at that point. My second was six weeks old, and I left there feeling so empowered! It is on YouTube now, nicely done, so I will link it in the comments if it interests you. I can't recommend it highly enough. It was a game changer for me as a mum.
Anyway, that's my novel!
I'm gutted I will miss the Timaru Latch on as I am out of town, and I can't join another as we will be travelling all morning.