Michelle’s story –
“I knew I wanted to breastfeed from the moment I found out I was pregnant with Abigail, but knew it may be hard. I had hoped for a natural birth, but due to my age and her arriving late, I had to be induced which failed twice. I had to have caesarean section in the end, and Abigail arrived safe and sound.
Whilst in the recovery room, I struggled to feed Abigail, she just wouldn’t latch and refused every time I tried. I had to hand express and use a syringe to feed her.
I continued to express in hospital and gave it to Abigail using bottles. When I was home, I carried on feeding this way, while still trying to get her on to the breast.
When the midwife came for Abigail’s first checks, she weighed her and we found out that Abigail had lost 10% of her birth weight. I continued to express and bottle fed her for a while whilst monitoring her weight gain.
I got lots of advice from the Medway Breastfeeding Network, and all the great peer supporters, I looked at different positions to help latch her on. It seemed that giving Abigail bottles had caused nipple confusion but it was the only thing at the time that she would take, as she was refusing the breast.
One day, someone told me about nipple shields. I felt that this was a turning point for Abigail and I – I didn’t even know about nipple shields so this was brilliant. I really wanted to breastfeed so was willing to try anything.
Abigail latched on to the shields with no problem. I was still expressing to top up if required and I was able to build up a supply in the freezer.
After a while I wanted to see if she would latch without the shield, but she didn’t at first. After a few weeks of trying her without the shield, one day she latched on to the breast by herself – I was so pleased!
We had nailed it at last – I thought I’d have to express to feed or use shields but she did it by herself.
I now breastfeed her during the day and she has expressed milk at night.
I’m very passionate about breastfeeding and donate to the milk bank at the hospital. Without the Medway Breastfeeding Network supporting me, I don’t think I could have done it. It has been a really hard journey but it’s been so worth it.
Not just for Abigail and I – but for other babies too!”