I was naïve, I thought breastfeeding was easy.....

We all know breast is best- you don't need me to tell you that, but I was totally naïve about how hard breastfeeding can be! I went to all the pre-natal classes and had this rosy expectation that after I delivered our precious baby we would have beautiful skin to skin bonding where the baby would then just migrate down & voila, child is feeding! It's natural, doesn't it just happen- apparently not! The more I talk to people, the more I now realise that for many, it doesn't just happen, it can be hard & for me having great support, was the only reason I got there.


Miss E arrived at 36 weeks (that's another story!), largely healthy & well. I will never forget that first moment I held my beautiful girl & the overwhelming love I felt instantly (I'm tearing up now), we shared skin to skin contact and across the afternoon tried to feed, but Miss E just wasn't ready. After no success it was time to express, to share those precious drops of colostrum. We spent a few days in special care nursery with some minor complications and everyday we practiced to breastfeed with the support of Midwives, Lactation consultants & my wonderful Husband, everyday thinking today was going to be the day, but we needed more time. After a few days, Miss E was taking just enough expressed breast milk (EBM) from a bottle to go home.


I was happy to go home, as I knew I had the support of my private midwife, my mum staying for a little while, my husband and a pantry- I was starving in hospital! Initially we thought it would only be a few more days until she got a little bit stronger and so I got into my routine; attempt to breastfeed, no success, then bottle feed, then express, then clean up & then start again. As the days turned into weeks, this got exhausting, I remember crawling back into bed in the middle of the night bawling to my husband, 'I can't do this anymore, I give up'.


Each time the Midwife would visit, we would set a new plan, we tried boobie biscuits (who knows if they even do anything, but they were delicious & I was willing to try anything!), nipple shields and every position under the sun and then day by day, there was a glimmer of hope, she started drinking with a shield with EBM bottle top ups (was then ridiculously windy, but was 'breastfeeding' of sorts), and then stopped needing the 'top ups' and then started to do some feeds without the shield and then after a month we got there. I could finally leave the house for more than 2 hours!!!


The more people I talk to, the more I realise I was lucky, for others it's even harder. In retrospect, for me it was really worth all of the tears, frustration and self doubt, but I am thankful to my support crew that got me over the line. Breastfeeding is such wonderful nutrition, is a beautiful opportunity to bond with your baby, is convenient & free, but I honestly get why some people don't breastfeed.


If you are experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding, know that you are not alone, surround yourself with the support that you need, buy a good water bottle- breastfeeding is thirsty work, plenty of delicious snacks, try not to be hard on yourself- and always remember you're doing a great job, regardless of the outcome. I wish you the best xx

#breastfeeding #support

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Your Family Dietitian

Gold Coast, Australia

Jacqueline Cotugno

Dietitian-Nutritionist (APD),

Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE)

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© 2021 by Jacqueline Cotugno.