Hannah and Isla
Despite being a Type 1 diabetic, I had a reasonably uneventful pregnancy until around 31 weeks when I was diagnosed with Pre-Eclampsia. This meant I was then in and out of hospital for 4 weeks, until at 35 + 2 I was admitted. During this stay, I was then treated for a suspected blood clot on the lungs and was told I would be in hospital until my baby was born. My breastfeeding journey started at 36 weeks when I began expressing colostrum! Isla ended up being born at 36 + 3. It was a very traumatic delivery with a 3.2l haemorrhage and I was in High Dependency Unit for 2 nights. I will not lie when I say this made establishing breastfeeding quite difficult. Isla latched on when I was still in HDU but I had been warned my milk may not come in due to my blood loss, and she had to stay on the maternity ward with my husband overnight the first
night, so she was already being supplemented with formula.
I hand expressed a small amount of colostrum to send over to the ward when we were separated. When I was back on the main ward, Isla was also jaundiced, so she was under the UV lights for 36 hours in total during our week-long stay, which also made feeding her harder. Though she latched really well, she was sleepy so we couldn’t sustain our feeds. I expressed day and night every 3 hours during this time, as well as feeding directly from the breast and topping up with formula. When we were discharged, Isla struggled to gain weight, it was slow and steady but not as much as she should have been gaining. This time was so hard for me as I felt like I wasn’t doing my best for her.
She was generally a happy baby but she had stomach trouble and a rash that we were told was baby acne. I suspected something else was at play as when she was mainly drinking expressed milk and nursing directly, these symptoms minimised. We were admitted to hospital with faltering weight gain at 7 weeks, and it was discussed that she may have a dairy allergy so I cut out dairy. Her rash disappeared, and so did her stomach problems, and she began to gain weight, we managed to remove the top ups and stop expressing! Thanks to the first Covid Lockdown I was then somewhat isolated with what ended up being PTSD and severe anxiety stemming from the birth, but I truly believe breastfeeding helped me so much mentally, I absolutely love nursing. I now have a tall, energetic, cheeky 2 year old who still loves the boob! My journey has been tough, but has made me passionate about helping other families and I am so proud to be involved with LWBS, it such an amazing group and a much needed resource for the area.