Frankie's Breastfeeding Story | Breastfeeding Awareness Week 2020

My breastfeeding story felt like a full on novel, it took me 3 and a half months before I was able to solely breastfeed and it felt like it took all of me to commit to it. I feel lucky I have been able to continue.

I had an emergency C section and I was told that my body might not know that it needed to make milk yet, so to be patient. 

Before I got to meet Arlo, I was told to hand express into a syringe every 3 hours so that he could get colostrum through his NG tube..."it's really important they get this from you" I was told. So my husband and I hand expressed, we didn't know what we were doing, we laughed off the awkwardness and we cheered when we got 0.2ml into a syringe. 

I slowly got more, but there was a day when they told me to use the pump where I got nothing. They had to give Arlo formula and I felt like I had let him down. Arlo then started throwing up and when we aspirated him, we were getting green bile. They told us they thought he had NEC, he had to go nil by mouth for 36 hours and have TPN. That felt awful. I saw he was hungry, they had to try multiple times to get the long line in. I felt unable to help my baby. 

So I expressed, every 3 hours round the clock, next to Arlo when I could. When he was able we gravity fed, used a dummy for oral stimulation, he fed from a cup and I kept putting him to the breast. It's like he didn't know what to do, nothing natural about this, I thought. 

By the end of our time in NICU he was able to take 2 full breastfeeds with nipple shields and the rest was still Ng tube. As he got bigger, we dropped the tube feeds and swapped for the bottle. 

He still wasnt latching well. 3 months after he was born, a nurse looked at his latch and saw he had tongue tie. We got it cut. The nurse was amazing, she showed me how to latch him properly and a little while after that he was feeding from me without a nipple shield. I was elated. 

I've had endless nights of cluster feeding, CMPA, thrush, cracked nipples, blocked ducts, which they do NOT tell you about before having a baby, but I wouldn't change it. I love feeding a sleepy baby, even if he does like to stick his fingers in my mouth whilst he does it!

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