Even before conception, Heidi always knew she wanted to breastfeed. So when we finally fell pregnant, that was always the plan, to exclusively breastfeed for 4-6months until Heidi went back to full time work. Feeding always seems a controversial topic of conversation, you can never please everyone no matter how you decide to feed! It seemed like many people didn't have a nice word for us, they just told us all the horror stories associated with breastfeeding. So we never bought anything associated with feeding when baby shopping. We knew if we didn't have a bottle in the house at 4am when the baby is screaming, we'd have no option but to persevere with latching.
When Woody was born, he didn’t seem to have any trouble latching. Heidi had some discomfort, but that was expected, but Heidi's discomfort worsened to the extent of agony! She was screaming when he was latching, and he was screaming through frustration and hunger!
When Woody had an assessment, we found out he had a slight tongue tie. This was snipped to hopefully help with feeding, but he also has a very high palate which wasn’t helping. We tried nipple shields to elongate Heidi’s nipple but there was no change. Heidi’s nipples starting cracking and bleeding. Woody lost 8% of his birth weight, and had jaundice, neither of which are uncommon for a new baby! Neither Heidi nor Woody were happy, we need to make some changes! Woody was literally, sucking Heidi’s nipples off!
We returned to hospital for a couple of days for some support, and eventually decided to combination feed. We had already researched breast pumps when we were pregnant and had seen that Medela had amazing reviews. The hospital used Medela, and it worked really well for us so it was a no brainer really. We bought the electric Swing pump, storage bottles and teats, and we also bought the calma so Woody would’t become unaccustomed to how breastfeeding felt.
The swing pump was an instant relief for Heidi, it was nowhere near as painful as latching, but it was still quite painful. So we bought the smaller breast shields, which pretty much eliminated the pain! Heidi tries to express hourly to increase her milk flow, but isn’t having much success and produces only enough for two feeds per day.
An electric breast pump on days out isn’t convenient! So we also have the Harmony manual breast pump, which we find just as effective as the swing pump. Heidi gets full use from both pumps, the storage bottles and all the teats. She is happy, and that’s the most important thing; if mummy isn’t happy, baby isn’t happy. It doesn’t matter how you choose to feed as long as they’re both healthy and happy!
Woody never managed to latch without Heidi being in excruciating pain, but he did manage to switch from the calma teat to the breast without any problems at all. Although Heidi can only produce enough milk for two feeds a day, the Medela range has given us the opportunity to still feed Woody some breast milk, without having to latch. Woody is now 5 weeks old, Heidi has a routine and it’s going well. There are no plans to stop expressing anytime soon.