“Breastfeeding was always something I wanted to do. I watched my mum breastfeed my brother who is 11 years younger than me, and this made breastfeeding normal. Also as a GP I know the health benefits for my baby so I really wanted to succeed at it.
I have Type 1 diabetes so was worried how this would impact it. I luckily have a friend who is a midwife who supported me by explaining I should hand express colostrum before birth. My mum was a fantastic help showing me how to do it and catching the tiny drops of colostrum. In the end this was vital as my baby required special care for a few days. It was a huge challenge in those early days going back and forth to SCBU and I had to top up with formula. My husband and mum both supported me and gave me the strength to keep breastfeeding.
Despite my medical background I lacked confidence in how to transition to fully breastfeeding once he was out of SCBU. I met a wonderful midwife who encouraged me to exclusively breastfeed. It was a success and we have never looked back. I love the independence it gives us both and the closeness it brings to our relationship.
My baby is now 11 weeks old and has had two hospital stays with urine infections. Breastfeeding has been a huge help with hydration and comfort. I feel so relieved we persevered through those early days and that I called on the support around me to help.”
“I feel that my breastfeeding journey through two babies has been very positive on the whole. In the beginning my first son latched on straight away in hospital and although I had no previous experience to know if it was right, it felt right. I felt a connection, both physically and emotionally, with him.
I was expecting to encounter problems as I had many friends who had experienced difficulties, and therefore almost looked for there to be problems. To check I was doing the right thing, I read ‘The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding’ and connected with my postnatal yoga group to share experiences and questions. I knew also that there were milk spots in our area (breastfeeding support groups) and could go to these if I needed to. I did actually go to one when my son was 17 weeks old with a friend whose baby was 11 weeks with a suspected tongue tie and found it a positive experience with tea, cake and friendly people. Ultimately though, as my son was 17 weeks and a very healthy weight, I knew things were okay.
Knowing what to wear when out and about was also a challenge for me. It was the height of summer and I wasn’t very confident about my boobs and having them on display for all to see. I did buy some specific breastfeeding clothing but also joined the Facebook group, ‘Can I breastfeed in it UK‘ for tips and learnt about OUOD (One Up One Down) and tucking a muslin into a bra strap for some coverage.
An issue related to my boobs is that they are not exactly gravity defying (unfortunately) as well as being large and so I asked a friend who had been in the same situation and had breastfed three babies what she did and she told me about shoving a muslin under the boob to joist it up a bit.
All in all, I realise how lucky I am that I have had a very positive journey and have found things relatively easy, but I was glad that there were lots of avenues of support I could turn to if I needed.”
To mark Scotland’s breastfeeding week, we’ve published a guest blog from Donor Milk Bank Co-ordinator Debbie Barnett, highlighting the importance of donor milk for sick and preterm babies.
NBCW 2016 was a great success, with guest blogs and celebration of women’s stories on social media (#celebratebreastfeeding)