_MG_9635I have always been very pro-breastfeeding and always knew that if I ever had children that I would breastfeed. Right through my pregnancy with my son Gearoid I never ever thought that I would have any problems. When Gearoid was born, after a long tough birth I was taken aback when he wouldn’t latch.

The midwife didn’t try to help me and just told me to try again later. We were landed on the postnatal ward and my husband was asked to leave as it was in the middle of the night. Gearoid started crying, I tried and tried to latch him all night and couldn’t get him to latch. I rang the bell a few times and each time a midwife came, looked annoyed, turned off the bell and said she would come to me when she had a chance, she never did, and she wasn’t too busy to help as I could hear her laughing and chatting with other staff down the corridor.

By the time morning came Gearoid was in such distress, he was disturbing the other babies, he was hungry, I was exhausted as it was my third night without sleep and I asked for a bottle of formula, it arrived straight away- no problems getting help there!

I cried bitter tears giving it to him, but he was much happier. All that day I asked for help and didn’t get it- in fairness the staff that day were very busy. At 5pm and after a few more bottles of formula the female doctor who delivered Gearoid came to see me. I told her that I was getting no support with BF Gearoid, that I was fine, but exhausted, and wanted to go home. She granted my early discharge. I rang my husband and asked him to collect us.

On the way home we stopped at an all night chemist, where a bought the only pump they had- a hand pump, and a steriliser and bottles. That night I tried latching Gearoid, and pumping- neither successful. The next day I rang a friend in New York, who recommended a double electric pump- I went out and got it. Oh the absolute relief when I was able to express colostrum. Gearoid got his last formula bottle at 2 days old and got a colostrum bottle that evening. He never received formula again. Despite seeing a lactation consultant I was not successful in getting him to latch and I exclusively expressed for him for 19 months. He is the light of my life and I still feel very sad that I could breastfeed him in the normal natural way, but I did my best. I often look of photos of me smiling with him in that hospital, but beneath that smile was a very worried and unhappy first time mom.

My very special daughter was born in February this year, and I prepared well by attending breastfeeding classes before the birth and making sure I got some support in the hospital. My husband also posted on the breastfeeding board with my questions from the maternity bed and that was a huge help. My daughter is now 7 months and I love love love breastfeeding her. We have had a few stumbling blocks along the way, but nothing that I couldn’t handle. It’s such an amazing magical experience- every feed is pure magic. I can’t explain it. The health benefits are brilliant obviously, but so is the experience. Id get pregnant again just to BF!