Baby Maddie turned two weeks’ old yesterday, and everything is going pretty swimmingly… Besides the breastfeeding. I never knew it would be so tricky!
I was in the recovery room in hospital when I encountered my first experience of breastfeeding. I was busy languishing in a heavy morphine haze, which, by the way did nothing to quell the agonising pain in my stomach once the feeling came back to my legs and bottom half following the spinal block. I was busy heartily vomiting into a cardboard bedpan when the midwife asked if I wanted to have a go. I mean, what else did I have on the itinerary? In between mouthfuls of projectile bile, I managed to nod in agreement, while secretly wondering how the hell I’d manage to hold the baby to my breast (or babies – at that point, I was pretty much seeing double) safely and long enough not to puke on her.
One of the midwive’s assistants offered to massage my boobs – to help get the colostrum following. I think she realised I could barely see straight, so I appreciated the hands-on approach, while my head swayed about on my neck trying to focus on events happening in the room, and this woman’s hands pummelling my breasts. Surreal.
Later that evening, when I’d sobered up somewhat, I felt stronger and in less pain, so began my first proper attempts at breastfeeding. As best I could I went about things in military mode trying to feed Maddie according to the exact positions and ways I had learnt in various antenatal classes. I was constantly fussing, pulling her off, resetting her, putting her back on, nose to nipple etc etc, without really knowing what I was doing or whether any latch was right or not. It all felt sore – what was I doing wrong?
Managing a teeny lolling head and sprawling arms that seemed forever in the way was also overwhelming, I mean, my God, I might break the baby just trying to position her! Plus the fact that I was in agony with my c-section and had to use every part of my being to pull myself up in bed to get my nipple in the right position for her to be able to latch.
After the first full week of feeding, I found being more relaxed and letting my baby find her own way on the nipple worked so much better for both of us. She seemed to know more than me what to do – so who was I to correct her? Things were going well. Boobs and baby starting doing good. Until one night. From 8pm until about 2am Maddie just wanted to feed. I realised at around 1am that perhaps the reason she had been relentless was because she just wasn’t getting the milk she needed from the breast. I started to panic that my supply had dried up, so did the reasonable thing and burst into tears. We decided to give her formula, she guzzled that down and settled immediately after her bottle. I was devastated. It was the first time I realised how important breastfeeding was to me, and how I didn’t want to lose that bonding experience, and most importantly, not be able to provide milk for my baby.
After a sleepless night searching google on my phone, I came across online specialist health service WellVine, a company I’d already been acquainted with via My Baba. I signed up for a video call (which, by the way, you can organise fairly instantly at such flexible times) and was paired with lactation and breast feeding expert Sharon George, who confirmed my appointment for the following day at 7pm, and I have to say, booking with Sharon was the wisest thing I could have done.
My vlog contains footage of my follow-up care appointment with Sharon – another fantastic part of their service is that you’re always booked in with the same expert. It makes flashing your boob on web cam so much more easier! Sharon was so friendly and put me immediately at ease, I was comfortable in confiding in her.
More drama had unfolded by the time I spoke to Sharon a second time, as my right nipple was suddenly incredibly sore. The outside of my boob looked like it had been slapped – an angry red mark staring back at me in the mirror. I’d developed mastitis!
What I love and can whole heartedly recommend about WellVine is that they offer a simple way for a new or expectant mum to video call a highly experienced lactation consultant for face-to-face expert breastfeeding advice – from the comfort of your own home. Genius. I’m sure most new mums are the same as me – pretty sick of endless hospital appointments, and trips out – especially when recovering from a c-section!
WellVine‘s network of highly experienced lactation consultants are International Board Certified (IBCLC), which, by the way, is the premier global professional qualification for breastfeeding support. They’re each trained to provide expert breastfeeding advice, they possess decades of experience in helping mums on a range of issues when it comes to breastfeeding – and believe me, I’m starting to experience that range one by one first hand!
WellVine lactation consultants have helped hundreds of mums on a range of breastfeeding matters, such as: preparing for and learning how to breastfeed, through to helping with breastfeeding challenges such as help with milk supply issues; breast and nipple pain; advice on latching baby; weight gain issues in baby; night time breastfeeding; feeding babies on expressed milk; baby tongue tie; guidance on breast compressions, and much more.
WellVine offer a subscription service which I’m signing up to to – breastfeeding has proved to be a journey of trial and error, error, and error! My left nipple has got to get involved in giving me grief at some point!
After both appointments Sharon has sent through summaries of what we’ve discussed (very helpful for mums with baby brain – you don’t have to make notes, or try and remember everything said), and links to helpful websites with her recommendations on what to do to resolve the problem. I can’t believe their monthly subscription plan is only £20 a month, they may regret signing me up to that – you can book as many follow-up call appointments as you need, whenever you need them. I have a feeling Sharon is going to get to know me very well!
Breastfeeding is a journey and I’m pretty sure I’m still only at the start, but the changes I’ve made following the appointments I’ve had with WellVine have easily resolved two of my issues… Next week will no doubt bring new dramas and new problems to solve I’m sure!
WellVine are currently offering our readers JELLIEDAIRY01 for 10% off all of WellVine’s services i.e both subscription (£20.00/month for unlimited video call consultations) and one-off appointments.