Thanks for hopping over from Odd Socks and Lollipops and welcome to my post for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Day 6 The People Behind The Breastfeeder; sponsors today include ARDO Breastpumps who are giving away a Calypso Single Breastpump, Breastvest who are offering an essential breastvest duo (1x black and 1x white) in your size and Mother Loves Cookies who are providing a box of delicious lactation cookies for our Grand Prize winner. Over £700 worth of goodies are up for grabs entries via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.
To start with just after having Elsa in hospital, when I was really, really struggling with breastfeeding and thinking I might give up any day, I just didn’t know which way to turn. It wasn’t for lack of support. It was quite the opposite. I was in hospital for the six very long days after Elsa’s birth and I must have had advice from about 15 different medical people at different stages of the day and night. They all said slightly different things. I remember being so very confused about what to do. Even though I was so desperate to leave hospital on day six I seriously doubted my ability to be able to continue to feed my daughter. I felt rather helpless. But leave I did – into what felt like The Great Unknown.
At home I had a visit from my midwife and I had a hallelujah moment. This midwife listened to my rant about everyone telling me different things about feeding and she said very wisely that my job was to take all their advice and work out which bits are best for me and then stick with it. She also told me about my local breastfeeding clinic.
I wasn’t sure about the breastfeeding clinic. Breastfeeding was so painful and this would be my first breastfeed in public and I just didn’t feel ready. I think my husband talked me into going, so go along I did thinking that I could just talk to them and I might not have to feed my baby in front of them.
When I arrived at the clinic at my local Children’s Centre the atmosphere was immediately very calming and friendly. I realised I was silly to have thought it might be intimidating. It was hardly feeding “in public”. The lovely ladies there (who were all breastfeeding peer supporters or lactation consultants) offered me tea and cake and I felt quite relaxed. Naturally, as we’d stopped walking Elsa promptly woke up and cried for a feed. One supporter offered to watch me feed her and so I went ahead, realising that it could do no harm.
To cut a long story short it was on one of my visits to this clinic that a lactation consultant discovered that Elsa was tongue tied. It was a revelation. Finally a reason why every breastfeed hurt like hell! We had asked them to check in hospital, but they didn’t find anything – more on this later. If I hadn’t had gone to the breastfeeding clinic then I may never have found out about the tongue tie and I’m fairly certain that getting it cut meant the breastfeeding improved. I know I couldn’t have continued feeding with that pain. I went back to a similar clinic after my second was born, and they too diagnosed the tongue tie after the hospital had failed to. You can find your local breastfeeding support group on this link.
I wish there was more awareness for tongue tie on the NHS. I think it would help many more mums continue to breastfeed. There is a great page on the NCT website here all about tongue tie. The NCT state on this page that “We have written to Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter MP calling on him to improve the diagnosis and treatment of tongue-tie in the UK, saving the NHS money and parents and babies stress and anxiety. We’re calling for more professionals trained to recognise and deal with the problem as current NHS treatment is often patchy and sometimes non-existent.”
My husband supported me brilliantly through this incredibly hard time. He listened to my rants and swearing over the days about not being able to do it (as he should have – he didn’t have to experience the pain first hand, only the pain of listening to me!). He positioned my daughter’s head on my boob so that the latch was correct (I felt like I needed three hands – my two to keep her scratchy fingers out of the way of my boob and his one to place her head there). He found the lactation consultant to divide her tongue tie and booked her in for the very next morning. He even bought my nipple shields! He knows a fair bit about breastfeeding. Not quite as much as he knows about breastfeeding clothes and different nursing accesses through helping me set up Milk & Mummy, but that’s a whole other blog post!
For more on the people behind the breastfeeder please hop on over My Thoughts On Things where you can also gain further entries into the grand prize draw. Full terms and conditions can be found on the Keeping Britain Breastfeeding website. UK residents only.