23 November 2016


When I had Lucas, I managed 10 days, Max, with formula top ups due to his blood sugars. I was oblivious to the fact that topping him up with formula and filling him up with formula, meant that along with other things I had a rubbish supply. I look back on it now and everything that goes with breastfeeding, some of those signs and factors, I never got the with Lucas and that was due to many things and dried up milk mostly. I was also unaware of the fact I could have said, no, to having formula top ups with Lucas and trying other ways, but being my first baby, I was naive. While in some cases, yes, the doctor or health visitor is always right, sometimes you need to just trust your own body and try it the way you want to and see if you can make it work.

My journey hasn't been easy as such, the photos are from the first latch if you don't want to see a bit of my boob, then I suggest you stop at this point.

This time round I was determined, I was gonna make this work. Iris was going to be exclusively breastfed. The first few days went well. Day 3 my milk came in and I felt like i'd had a boob job, but I was also so uncomfortable. Engorgement is a bitch, I spent ages massaging the lumps out whilst feeding and also when I wasn't feeding into a bottle. Iris was weighed on the second day and she'd lost just about 10% of her weight. She was 6lb 3ozs. She then gained a little on day 6, going to 6lb 4ozs, on day 8 she was down to 6lb 2ozs and they were threatening formula top ups. I declined and seeked advice from some very wonderful people on a group i'm on, who all advised the same. DECLINE DECLINE DECLINE. Lucas had formula top up's and it affected my supply along with other factors, so I knew that I wanted to try for longer before being bullied into it, or until I felt it necessary. They advised a breastfeeding support worker would need to come over to support me and to try hand expressing and giving that in a syringe as a top up.

Day 9 came and a breastfeeding support worker arrived. She told me the 10mls I was expressing, was not enough as a top up, and said formula top ups would be best. I declined, she wasn't particularly very supportive and said, I needed to go and buy a pump, and to offer more top ups. We were getting Iris registered that day, so knew we'd have to go into town anyway, so knew that we had to go and find a pump. She made me feel inadequate, like I was failing, and told me if she hadn't gained weight by the next day that she would have to take Iris in NICU. Struggling to hold the tears back, I just nodded. NICU, the neonatal INTENSIVE care unit, for a small amount of weight loss? Iris was alert, she didn't look underweight, she was just petite.

We headed to town and purchased a medela swing pump. I didn't start pumping that day as needed to click and collect the pump the next day. I just fed as much as I could. The health visitor had arranged a visit on the following day, as well as the breastfeeding support worker. Neither Brad or myself wanted to see the support worker again as, as soon as she left the house I burst into tears and Brad was angry at the threats of NICU, and the pushing of formula. Now I have no problem with formula feeding, Lucas was formula fed, I just really wanted to be successful this time and knew what I wanted this time.

The health visitor turned up on day 10 and was lovely, she was so supportive and she weighed Iris, she had gained 20G! It was small, but it was something. We decided that she was going to cancel the support worker as neither of us wanted her to turn up. Unfortunately she turned up before she had the chance. She had a different tone and was a nicer than the previous day. She signed me off and the health visitor was taking over.

The next weigh in was in just under a week. Iris was weighed and again, had only gained 20g. She wasn't concerned but suggested upping the amount of expressed milk top ups, so instead of 2ozs over night, we went up to 4ozs. A week later, Iris had gained 60g, and was finally only 7ozs off her birth weight, and a week to go until she was a month old. She had to gain another 60g to do it, and we knew she could. I ate oats after oats, I pumped and pumped, I fed and fed, the whole of last week. I was determined. We could do this, we could totally do this.

Yesterday our lovely health visitor turned up and it was the weigh in day. We placed Iris on the scales and 400G!!!! 400! She had done it, and more. I had done it too. Iris had gone from 6lbs 9ozs to 7lbs 8ozs in one week. She's grown out of her first size clothes and is finally in 'up to 1month' clothes.
All the granola, flapjacks and porridge had worked, the 4ozs extra overnight and my milk. No formula, no doctors, and NO NICU, was needed. I did it with my milk.

I pump anything from 3ozs to 5ozs in one sitting. I usually pump once a day at 9:30am, after her 9am feed as thats when I seem to be the most full.
Iris has a great latch, she's feeding well, she's growing and my boobies are doing their job. I'm so proud. It's not been easy. I spent many a night, crying at 1am, due to cluster feeding and being sore and just wanting to go to sleep and to not feel uncomfortable. I preserved and it was worth it. I enjoy breastfeeding and it's so rewarding.

You can do it, and if not then feed how you want. This isn't to put anyone down who formula feeds, Lucas was formula fed and look at him, he's a dream, healthy, happy and bright. Happy baby = happy mum.

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