Breastfeeding Heroes Series:
It is such a privilege to work with new families as a lactation consultant in Perth.
With permission from families and without using real names I would like to share with you some breastfeeding hero stories from last year during the COVID lock down period.
Jane had little Ida at 42 weeks gestation, she weighed 3730g ( a good size). She had a Caesarian Section. Ida was not compromised at birth and had good APGAR scores: 9 and 9 to prove this. Ida had a breastfeed within an hour of her birth. Sadly Jane got nipple damage from this first feed. Ida was examined for tongue tie by all health providers at the time and no one felt this was the possible cause for the nipple trauma.
Jane had good breast growth in pregnancy, her milk came in on day 3. Jane expressed and finger fed Ida for the first 3 days because of the damage. The nipple damage took sometime to heal. Her nipples were swabbed to check for infection, infection was not seen.
I saw them when Ida was 4 weeks old. Jane still had very sore nipples at this stage. We got Ida to breastfeed on the home visit: she took 10mL from the right breast and 8mL from left. At this visit we did a post feed express and got 50mL right breast and 70mL left breast, so there was still plenty more milk available that Ida did not take from the feed. Position and attachment were adjusted however Jane still had lots of pain with feeding.
Here is the plan we did from this visit to address: Ida getting the milk she required to grow well, for Jane to produce the milk needed, for Jane to feel supported and to address her pain with feeding.
At 6 weeks Ida was breastfeeding sometimes and getting very small feeds when she did. Nipple pain Jane experienced was slightly less. They were using the Calma teat for top ups and it appeared to be better than the past teat. I revisited to help with attachment again.
Over the proceeding weeks we continued to have contact with Jane reporting very little progress to full breastfeeding. We discussed “You can lead a horse to water but you cant make it drink”, we discussed just continuing to gently offer the breast and give Ida every opportunity. I shared with Jane a story about the oldest baby I had seen go to the breast in this sort of situation. This baby was 18 weeks when he took to fully breastfeeding. He and his mother were on a flight from Melbourne, he was very unsettled on the flight so she tried breastfeeding and low and behold they got off the plane in Perth fully breastfeeding never to look back!
Jane and Ida continued to have maybe one breastfeed a day until she was 11 weeks.
We continued to have weekly calls.
Then there was a text from Jane when Ida was 16 weeks old:
“I’ve been away for 2 weeks, up at Exmouth staying with my parents. We are going really well. Ida is breastfeeding full time! I cut back my pumps over the 2 weeks and now I have had a couple of days without pumping. It’s the best! Very happy and still don’t really believe it. Definitely helped having my mum around to help with cooking and washing + didn’t have any distractions up here X. She is 16 weeks today. Yes it’s a real mystery. I didn’t quite believe it possible but the other woman you told me about still gave me some hope”
Some babies just need to take their time!!
More inspirational Lactation Consultant Perth breastfeeding hero stories to come.