Thursday, 25 August 2016

Our Breastfeeding Struggles & Free Breastfeeding Support For Mums

Today I'm sharing with you the struggles that I faced when beginning my breastfeeding journey with my youngest child, and introducing a fantastic service that I only wish had been around back then as it would have been so very helpful to me - a free breastfeeding Q & A service provided by Wellvine.

Most people assume that when you're having your third baby, you have everything pretty much sussed out.

You've done it all before and you know what you're doing when it comes to things like bathing, nappy changing, feeding and so on.

But for me, things were different with my third...I found that my approach to parenting had changed a little and the ideals I had were different...I wanted a more active role in deciding how the birth should be, I wanted to try things such as cord ties which I'd never used before...and the biggest change for me was feeding.

Throughout my first pregnancy, I had been told that I wouldn't be able to breastfeed due to the medication that I needed to take to treat my Graves disease...I agreed straight away of course, I didn't want to take any risks with my health, it was important that I was healthy so that I could look after my baby.

When my second came along, things were less certain - I was no longer on regular medication but the Drs did say that I needed to be prepared to be put onto it following the birth if my body needed it, so I was able to try breastfeeding if I wanted to but I may have had to stop if medication was necessary.

I was unsure of what to do, and I didn't receive any encouragement to try when I said this to the midwife on the day of the birth - she simply gave me a bottle, so I gave it to him and that was that.

But I felt disappointed.

And when I fell pregnant for a third time, I knew I wanted it to be different - I knew I wanted to try breast feeding.

I tried to prepare myself as much as I could before hand, I read books and asked questions of my friends who had breastfed for years, I thought I was ready.

When Sailor was born, he latched on in the theatre straight away and the midwife even declared him to be "feeding like a pro!" - I was delighted, I thought we'd cracked it and that we'd never look back.

Fast forward to 12 hours later, sobbing in my hospital bed at 3 am, with my baby screaming and me trying desperately over and over again to get him to latch on - and things couldn't have been further from our great start.

I really struggled in those first few weeks - Sailor had tongue tie which needed to be snipped but nobody was available in my area to do it right away, he had a poor sucking reflex too and struggled to even feed from a bottle - instead he had to be fed by syringe.

There was one particular night when neither of us had slept a wink, when I had spent the entire night trying to get him to latch on to no avail, trying to pump as much as I could and syringe feed it to him but he seemed to need more than I could provide and I didn't know what to do.

I pressed my buzzer and when the nurse came she found me crying my eyes out, there were a million questions I wanted to ask her but I was too upset - instead I just sputtered "It's useless, maybe I should just give him formula"

I think I hoped that she'd encourage me or comfort me, give me a bit of a pep talk...but she didn't. She went and got some formula, handed it to me and left.

That almost broke me but I was determined not to give up on breastfeeding, I had no issue with formula feeding at all but I didn't feel that we had been able to give breastfeeding a real go yet and that was something I wanted to do. And so I spent those first few weeks pumping every few hours - trying in between pumping sessions to get him to latch, struggling to be able to do so because my large breasts made things more difficult than I had imagined.

I thought I was well prepared for breastfeeding but there were so many aspects of it that I knew nothing about, and I really needed support.

Support which, in my hospital at least, just wasn't available to me.

I remember asking questions every time a nurse came near in the hospital, I remember bombarding the lactation consultant with questions every time I saw her in the first weeks but yet always thinking of things I should have asked later that night when it was just us at home and we were facing yet more feeding difficulties.

I found it so difficult and I wished there was somebody I could call out of hours, to ask for help and advice.

It was in those dark hours that I struggled the most, when I most needed support and advice, when I most felt like throwing the towel in.

This is why I am supporting Wellvine's new Breastfeeding Q & A service - the service is completely free of charge and gives breastfeeding mums a place to ask their questions, where they will be answered by an experienced, qualified professional.

So many breastfeeding mums find themselves faced with problems out of normal working hours, and without professionals to call on we can often find ourselves looking for answers on mum forums and facebook groups - and while this support from other mums is of course valuable, you're only getting answers based on their own experiences and there's no saying that it will always be medically sound advice you're receiving.

The free breastfeeding Q & A service provides mums with access to the help and advice of people such as Katherine Fisher - an IBCLC certified Lactation Consultant (the highest standard of breastfeeding credential) with 20 years experience, with particular expertise in low milk supply, oversupply, tongue tie, breast hypoplasia, breastfeeding after breast surgery, induced lactation for adoptive mothers, breastfeeding multiples and more.

So how does it work?

It really couldn't be simpler! You simply go online and post your questions. The response you receive is personalised and tailored to you, not a generic one-size-fits-all reply - and you don't even have to remember to log back on to find your answer, it will be sent directly to your email inbox.

Advice is given between 8am-10pm, and response time can be as fast as 15 minutes! If you post a question late at night, it will be answered the next day.

The breastfeeding Q & A service is run by Wellvine, who are the very first on demand platform for maternal and children's healthcare. They connect parents and mums to be to top quality pregnancy and children's healthcare specialists using on demand video calls, anytime - anywhere!

This includes not only Doctors, but also lactation consultants (if you need a more in depth consultation than the free Q & A service), nutritionists and even children's sleep consultants which is a service I would be VERY keen to try myself.

Wellvine is accessible via the website or the free app, and a £20.00 per month subscription gives you UNLIMITED access to all of Wellvines health care professionals, or you can book a one-off consultation using the pay as you go service.

The Breastfeeding Q & A would have been so very useful to me when I was first feeding Sailor, I only wish it had been around then.

To try out the free service for yourself and ask any questions you may have about breastfeeding, just click here

Or to find out more about Wellvines's services, please click HERE

*This is a collaborative post, but all thoughts, opinions & experiences are my own

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  1. What a fab service, I'm sorry that you had such a crappy time. I struggled to breastfeed Ava, due to mastitis I could only feed her for 3 weeks and being pregnant again I'm torn with how to feed my second baby. I think I'll definitely try breastfeeding again and knowing that there is this service available is brilliant. x

  2. I don't remember getting a lot of breastfeeding support first time round and I ended up swapping to formula feeding at 5 months. It's challenging at times and what I found the worst was the monotony - my son would just feed for ages and I never knew whether to stop him or not. Thankfully, my two subsequent babies were amazing feeders and I still feed our 13 month old now. I'm proud of this fact but know how difficult it can be. Well done for investigating and advertising adequate support.
    Alice from x

  3. Love this post. I do t think anyone realises how hard breastfeeding is until they have tried it!! The breastfeeding q and a service sounds really good, I could have done with it when Kier was born!!


  4. What a terrible experince you had! I cant believe you didnt get more support to help you breastfeed, it really is terrible. It really is important and does make all the difference when new mums get the right breastfeeding support and the WellVine service sounds fantastic for times like this. Emily #SundayBest

  5. What a great service to offer and be able to ask questions. I have had three children and with my first I had a huge struggle to feed and was searching for help and it would have been lovely to ask a few questions. #sundaystars

  6. I bet that was awful in the beginning. I was extremely lucky that Edith took to feeding really well and we've never really had any major issues. Any little issues we did have we had the support of our local breastfeeding team who were brilliant.


  7. I feel for you. Both my boys were and still have tongue ties. I struggled for 12 weeks with my first. He had his tongue tie divided 3 times but the pain was too much and we switched to formula. My 2nd boy has also had 3 tongue tie snips. It still hurts but we are still bf now at 22 months. I agree that bf mum's need support. I've linked up my post on how to identify tongue-tie today to #SundayBest

  8. I'm so sorry you didn't get the support you required. Such a shame. Hopefully this sort of service will help others. The national breastfeeding helping is also an excellent resource #sundaybest

  9. What a fab service in those earls days any help is so much appreciated isn't it. Thanks for hosting! #sundaybest

  10. I tried and failed to feed both of mine. But I definitely don't regret it, I tried my best but it wasn't meant to be x#sundaybest

  11. You know, I think it's appalling that the government doesn't do more to fund support for mums with breastfeeding. The support that is out there is nearly all done by volunteers - like me! - and there still isn't enough. It's worth remembering that the National Breastfeeding Helpline is there too, again volunteers but all fully trained, impartial and amazingly supportive x

  12. Oh bless you! Breastfeeding can be so difficult. I didn't get no support or advice whilst I was pregnant = just a 10 minute talk on the phone to a midwife I hadn't even met!


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