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.
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.