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Tanya and Violet

I always thought I wanted to breastfeed, I attended the classes that were on offer antenatally and had a vision in my head of how it would all look. Calm birth with hypnobirthing, beautiful bundle being passed to me who would latch straight away and we would be off! Unfortunately, our reality was a little different. Following a very traumatic birth resulting in an emergency cesarean with general anaesthetic Violet had to spend her first day in the Neonatal Unit and subsequent days under close observation. I didn't get the initial cuddles I had spent weeks dreaming about but I was determined to help her best I could.

I didn't know about antenatal expression before I had Violet but I managed to hand express and give what I could to the NICU nurses to feed her. Predominantly Violet was being fed formula, it was keeping her blood sugars steady so I had no issue but I was desperate to get her onto breastmilk and feed her myself.

Our first latched feed was about 15 hours after her birth and it was a moment I won't forget. Violet fed pretty regularly and I was told her latch was great, we were finally off to a good start!

Once we were discharged I started getting blocked ducts. One particular came up as a large grey lump inside my armpit, it was so painful to touch and at the time I had no idea what it was. Thankfully with a bit of extra feeding, massage and warm flannels it went down quickly. However, I still experienced quite a lot of pain during feeds which I just assumed was normal and carried on.

I was very stubborn, after a tricky start I didn't want to give in. I felt like after not giving Violet the birth, I thought she should have had, that I needed to feed her to make up for it. Hindsight, works wonders but it's funny what you think of at the time.

After many weeks of pain, slow weight gain and lots of tears, Violet was assessed and I was told she had a tongue tie and a bubble palate. I had never heard of this before, it wasn't covered in the antenatal classes and I didn't realise the impact such a tiny thing could have on feeding. Thankfully at 13 weeks, her tongue tie was cut and her weight gain improved, the pain decreased significantly and we could finally get into more of a pattern and start to enjoy our journey.

I ended up feeding Violet till she was 2years and 4 months. It was hard at times but by far the best thing I know I could have done. Despite the tricky beginning I am very grateful for the journey we had from start to finish.

Now I am feeding my new baby boy. Already this is proving to be a completely different experience thanks to CMPA but I am still very much, looking forward to seeing where this new journey takes us.

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