Monday, January 28, 2013

When breastfeeding is hard

I had issues breastfeeding Little Miss 4 when she was born - after a horrific labour my milk supply was dismal at best so we started life together expressing and offering formula top-ups....needless to say both of us were exhausted and I suffered badly from Post Natal Depression. The guilt and pressure I placed on myself and the fear of being judged by others if I didn't breastfeed was enormous.

I swore that if ever I was to have another child and breastfeeding didn't work out I wouldn't be so hard on myself. This was easier said than done.

During my pregnancy with Little Mr 0 I spoke often to my Obstetrician about my horrific first labour in an effort to not have it repeated. He did not disappoint, he was amazing and worth every cent that we paid (I am sure we are funding his beach house or motorbike or maybe even both).

However, my milk supply was still dismal and I relived the whole process of expressing and offering formula top-ups. Added to the mix with Little Mr 0 was his poor attachment when breastfeeding, which lead to badly cracked nipples - we just couldn't get it right. I engaged the services of two different lactation consultants and while both offered great advice, Little Mr 0 still couldn't latch properly.

We had a break from breastfeeding for a few days to allow me to heal, so I expressed every feed and gave him bottles. Then we tried again....with the same result, bad attachment and excruciating pain.

As a family we made the decision to go onto formula to allow Hubby to help out at night and to create a happy mummy, happy baby environment. This decision was not easy - even though I vowed to not place pressure on myself, I still did. We talked a lot about it though and decided that it was the best decision for us.

Some tips that I discovered during the process:
  • Ask for help
    If you need help with breastfeeding, ask for it. While it is easy for some mums to breastfed, for others it isn't. There are great resources available through your maternity hospital, the Australian Breastfeeding Association, Early Childhood Centres and private lactation consultants.

  • Hydrogel pads
    Available from chemists and online are Hydrogel pads (the above link is for the Medela brand but there are others on the market). They are advanced nipple therapy for mums with severe sore or cracked nipples.

  • Lansinoh Lanolin
    This cream soothes, heals and protects sore nipples. It is safe for mum and baby and there is no need to remove it before breastfeeding.

  • Fresh air
    Letting your nipples get some fresh air and even some sunlight can work wonders in the healing process.

  • Electric pumps
    If you need to express a lot I would recommend sourcing an electric pump. I struggled with a hand pump for a couple of days until a good friend of mine was able to lend me one. You can also hire hospital grade ones from your local chemist.

  • Be kind to yourself
    Always be kind to yourself and talk about whatever issues you may be having with your partner, family or friends - it really helps.

Did you have issues breastfeeding?


  1. OMG!!!! Did I have problems!!! My little girl (1st baby) now 2 was a shocker! She had shocking reflux, poor attachement and I ended up with nipple thrush (which I had for 3 mths), blocked ducts, mastitis and a hospital trip! The only thing that got me through was ABA! It is soooo true that you do need to ask for help and take support whenever anyone offers it to you! Little Man (4mths) is a much better feeder and has been a good feeder! I think it is important to what is best for you and your family and of course your baby! Happy mummy= happy baby= happy everyone!
    Always ask for help.....I call tresillian all the time for support with both kids!Another resource!!

    1. I am glad that Bubs #2 is a better feeder for you :)