Relatch until its Right

A customer recently shared her baby feeding story with us….

She writes “Im a solo mother of 2 under 2. Both my kids were born by emergency c-section. It was very scary the first time. I went into labour naturally, everything seemed to be going fine, then the doctors discovered my daughter was breach and had been for quite some time.

Breastfeeding after a c-section is not the easiest thing in the world. As if it isnt scary enough being a first-time mum, and trying to learn how to breastfeed, its even harder when your body can’t and/or won’t do what you want it to. But we got there eventually. I thought everything was going ok, until I got home. It took me 11 days of failed latches before I finally ‘got it’. Who ever said “breast feeding is natural, and you’ll instictively know what to do” is crazy. I was sore, bleeding and had cracked nipples, but I carried on trying. Eventually I went back to all the books and looked at the pictures and did it all step by step.

When she was 4 months old I got mastitis, bad. I woke up and gave her her midnight feed, when I woke up in the morning, I could barely move the left side of my body. Every joint ached down the entire side. I had chills, and hot flashes and just wanted to sleep. I had no idea what was happening, until I pulled out the Plunket Thriving Under 5 book and read up on mastitis and self-diagnosed myself. I went to the doctor was put on anti-biotics. Thankfully I was still able to feed her. Within 24 hours I was feeling much better. But a month later I got it again, only this time it wasnt the same. This time it was on the other side, and it was all in the nipple. It felt like my boob was on fire everytime I tried to feed her, so I ended up expressing on that one side for a couple of days. It was another trip to the doctor for more antibiotics.

I carried on breastfeeding till my daughter was 16 months old when she self-weaned, as I was pregnant, (I was extremely sad when she stopped).

When my son was born, again I went into labour naturally, and everything was going great. After I’d been in labour for 12 hours the midwife discovered he was coming down prosterior, and had pretty much gotten himself stuck and wasn’t going to be coming naturally afterall. I was whisked away for another c-section. At least this time I knew what to expect (or so I thought). His birth was extremely quick and everything with him was perfect. It was after that, that things went downhill.

The epidural was wearing off, and I was in a lot of pain, they topped it up, but it only lasted a few minutes. The doctors had found a bleed that they couldn’t control, so my mum (my support person) and the midwives were all raced out of the room while I was put fully under so they could fix the problem. It was a good couple of hours before I came out and got to hold my baby, who by that stage was starving.

Again I thought everything was going great when it came to the breastfeeding. When I came out of the hospital he was latching perfectly everytime. But thats when the trouble started. I knew I had a flat nipple on one side so it was always harder to latch on one side over the other. It didn’t matter what I did he was hurting me, and I didnt know how to fix it.

Thankfully in Hastings we have the Baby Cafe with qualified lactation consultants. I was a regular visitor to them, and the breast pump became my new best friend.

We discovered he was a lazy latcher and would just lie there and lick the milk as it dribbled out.

I took him to the chiropractor and found he had his neck, jaw and back out of joint. After 2 visits to him, my son was latching better but the damage was done. I was so sore and split open I got mastitis and thrush.

When he was 2 weeks old, 4 weeks old and 6 weeks old, I told my mum I was going to give up, I’d had enough. My nipples were on fire and I was in tears everytime he latched. He wouldn’t drink when I wore a nipple shield and so I ended up putting him on expressed milk and topped him up with formula. I felt like I’d failed.

Things went so well with my daughter and I fed her for so long. I had put a lot of pressure on myself.

I decided to read the information you get from the hospital about breastfeeding, and in there it stated it can take up to 8 weeks to establish a good breastfeeding routine, so with pure stubborness I decided to keep going. I would feed him and unlatch and relatch him as many times as it took to get a good latch, and would top him up with formula.

I asked Plunket how I could get him back onto just breastmilk and she told me to go for 48 hours with nothing but breastmilk, and to feed him whenever he was hungry. So I did.

He is now almost 5 months old and we are still going strong.

It was a rough start but I am glad I stuck to it.