I wouldn’t say I had the most positive breastfeeding experience with Ella.
I would have loved to have breastfed her for as long as both of us wanted to continue to. Unfortunately, my milk supply was far too low for this to be possible.
I managed to breastfeed Ella for 3 months in total before my milk completely dried up, though this was supplemented with formula to avoid her starving. There was a ‘cracking point’ at 3 weeks old, when I realised that I wasn’t providing enough milk for Ella. She sucked almost non-stop for 7 hours, and was crying out for more. So we gave her some formula and she guzzled it down.
You can read more about my experience of breastfeeding Ella by clicking here.
I think looking back the main factor for my lack of supply was Ella being in special care in her first few days. She was not with me straight after birth, due to her inhaling meconium and struggling to breath. I hand expressed a tiny amount of colostrum, and did so every 3 hours after, until I was finally able to feed her for the first time 24 hours after birth. She spent her first 3 days in special care. If I wasn’t in there with her, the nurses would ring through to the ward to let me know that Ella needed feeding. But it was probably no more than every 3 hours, and in hindsight, I wish I’d just gone through and fed her more to get my supply going.
When my milk came in, there was no engorgement, just a very slight tingling. I only knew for sure that it had come in from a bit of milk round Ella’s mouth after feeding.
And I never really felt full. The only time was when I didn’t feed Ella for a good 12 hours, due to me having a few drinks! It was one of the rare times that I actually leaked.
And expressing didn’t really work out either. I would sit trying to express for about an hour and manage to get no more than 2ozs. The first time I managed to express, I probably got about 3ozs over the course of a day, with at least 2 hours of expressing in total. I was chuffed showing it to Sean, who then accidentally dropped it on the floor. Sometimes you definitely do have to cry over spilt milk!!! At least the dog enjoyed it!
So, this time round, I’m really looking forward to breastfeeding. I will definitely ‘go with the flow’. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. I know the health of the baby, and my sanity, are the most important factors. But I’m certainly going to do everything I can to help it work.
I’m really hoping there are no issues after birth this time round. But if there are, I know I’ll spend more time in special care, and go through more often to feed, rather than waiting for her to cry out for it. I’ll definitely feed more in the early days to encourage my supply, and will feed on demand over the first few weeks.
I also want to get in to a good habit of expressing. I’m quite independent, and don’t like the idea of being the only source of baby’s food. I want to be able to have at least a little time to myself now and again without having to combine with formula. So, I would really like expressing to work out for this reason.
I’ll be using the NUK Luna Electric Breast Pump for this purpose, as well as the NUK First Choice bottles, which are designed to replicate the mother’s nipple, to allow for ease in combined breast and bottle feeding.
And fingers crossed this time round, it will be a success and we’ll be able to continue long past 3 months.
Many thanks to NUK for sending me the breast pump, bottles and breast pads for the purpose of this and future reviews. Opinions and pictures are my own.