In 2013, she was born. So, I was just turned 23 when she was born, one month after my birthday. So, I studied to be a nurse. So she was born during my third year. So I had to take a year out and go back and do the last six months when I’d finished my maternity leave. I’ve got a stubborn personality and I knew it was the thing I needed to do.
I wanted to do everything, right. So, with Georgia, I was very naive, I didn’t really do any reading up on breastfeeding. I did the NCT course, because I was a student so I managed to get it for free. And that was about it. And it was, I think it was an hour-and-a-half session one evening about breastfeeding. I was quite naive going into it, I didn’t realise it would be quite so demanding.
And quite so difficult. I mean, we have a lot more difficulties than, you know, sort of a general breastfeeding journey would have. But then at the same time, who has a general breastfeeding journey?
And when she was two weeks old, I had someone come out to see us, because I was struggling so much with the feeding. And she looked at her and straightaway said, ‘I think she’s probably got a tongue tie’. And I mean, by this point, I’d had a course of antibiotics already for mastitis. I was ripped to shreds. I was in agony with every single feed, I was probably close to the point of sepsis by that point. It was hard. And I think because of my stubbornness I kept going with the breastfeeding. But at the same time, I felt guilty because it was, you know, feeling like I wasn’t getting there with it, and I should.
With Georgia, by the time she was about six weeks, she’d gone from the 50th percentile where she was born down to the 25th percentile. So she was dropping her weight slowly. And we eventually got the tongue tied done at five weeks old. But obviously, by that point, the damage was done to me, we were using bottles all the time. She was mostly on formula and my milk supply was really low, Yeah, so I was just at a point of – I could have stopped, could have easily stopped, and it wouldn’t really have made any difference because my milk supply was that low by that point. And through the tongue tie clinic I was referred to a lactation clinic and they were like angels.
Because I’ve mentioned at the tongue tie clinic that I did want to breastfeed still, you know, even though I was at the point of almost giving up, I did still want to do it. And I went to the lactation clinic, in the hopes that they’d, you know, at least be able to help me up my supply a little bit. You know, I wasn’t expecting miracles. So, that’s what I got, I did get a miracle. The dietician decided that we were eligible for donor milk, so that I could get her off the formula completely.
10 weeks old, we figured out that she had a milk allergy. Because things, although they’d improved, the feeding was going great, her latch was brilliant by that point, I was getting no pain. In between time, we’d sort of been given medication for reflux. And although that made a bit of a difference, it was almost masking the actual issue, although she was still having a couple of bottles a day of the donor milk, we stopped, completely stopped all bottles.
And we just took a few days. I cut dairy out of my diet completely. And I think that was the Wednesday and by the Friday she actually slept.
And she seemed satisfied. So, I did manage to solely breastfeed her, just from me until she was four and a half months from that point. I managed to solely breastfeed her till four and a half months and then from that point, I knew I was going back to my training So, we had to reintroduce the formula in bottles at that point. And I stopped feeding her when she was seven months old, which looking back, I probably didn’t need to do.
My great-grandmother, she was a breastfeeding pro. You know, she fed all of her children till they were toddlers and even went so far as to be a wet nurse. But unfortunately, that support and that knowledge seemed to have dropped. I mean, back in the day you used to have all family round and, you know, you used to stay with parents or siblings who knew everything that they needed to know about breastfeeding to be able to support you.
And yeah, we just seem to have lost that. But yeah, I think the hardest part, with my first was, yeah, that support because my husband – at the time partner – had to go back to training, which for nurses, you know, is like full time work. So, he was due back on shift after two weeks of maternity leave.
So, she was born Wednesday night, we had a couple of days together and then he went back down to Milton Keynes on Sunday night. So it was only day four. So from that point, he was sort of back and forth between us and Milton Keynes, doing his last placement, or two placements I think it was and he didn’t come back permanently until the end of January.
And she was born in September, end of September. So, you know, those first four months, I was basically a single mum. Obviously, I had his support, but it wasn’t constant. You know, a lot of the time he wasn’t here. And, again, although I had my mum’s support, and she was fantastic, there were multiple nights were I rang her in the middle of the night and was crying on the phone and she was like, wait there I’m coming around, and she’d just come and sit with me and cry with me. You know, just anything and you know, she’d be there. And that was absolutely vital for me.
I fell pregnant with Ada, my middle child. And yeah, something just clicked in my head and I had really bad anxiety. I triggered sort of close to the end of the pregnancy, along with the postnatal depression I did have CBT which was face-to-face for her and that did really help. But what really helped with my anxiety at the time was going to a local playgroup which, other than through the pandemic we’ve gone every week that we can since then.