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"Breastfeeding challenges and support"

About: King Edward Memorial Hospital / Breastfeeding Centre of WA King Edward Memorial Hospital / Maternity

(as a service user),

Due to my child being breech, I had to have a c-section delivery. I had heard this can sometimes cause your milk coming in to be delayed, and this was the case for me.

I had my child at King Edward Memorial Hospital. I stayed for a few nights whilst I continuously pumped every 2-3 hours trying to get my milk in. Eventually, after pumping and getting nothing I started to get a few mls of colostrum coming through. Latching was an issue for us straight away, my child would not latch on properly. They were also a very slow bottle feeder and would get tired before finishing the milk, so we had to also finger/tube feed my child.

It was a very tiring time at the hospital, recovering from surgery and trying to feed my baby. The midwives were helpful and supportive, although sometimes had conflicting ideas and suggestions which was confusing at times.

One midwife commented after a few days, that my nipples were flat and to try a nipple shield. I had never thought of my nipples being flat, but I guess they were flatter than most! My child ended up losing more than 10% of their body weight due to these struggles at the hospital and was also jaundice. My child had a couple of bottles of formula to get them through. This then meant we had our midwife and then a Child Health Nurse visit us every day when we got home to weigh them. This was quite stressful but eventually, my child started to slowly gain weight, little by little.

Every feed I attempted to put them on the breast but would have trouble and we ended up finger feeding and bottle feeding. I continued to pump every 3 or so hours. I booked in for an appointment with the Breastfeeding Centre in Subiaco and am so glad I did. Appointments are 1.5 hours and they check everything; the babies mouth (high palate, tongue tie), your breasts and nipples, the bottles you're using and take other relevant information.

The staff were so friendly and supportive and never pushy. They watch you feed and give advice on positioning and also watch you pump to make sure you are doing so efficiently. I was given some good tips on how to make this easier as I was doing it so often! They also gave advice on bottle feeding and specific teats. I also got thrush 3 times which I didn't realise you could get on the nipple! This also transferred to my child's mouth.

I had 4 appointments at the clinic and each time I came away feeling more confident. Sometimes it would feel like my child was latched as they could be on the breast for 20 minutes, other times they would do 5 mins of fussing! However, once my child did, finally, latch on, I could feel the difference! This was after four months!

At my last appointment, the lactation consultant told me I was doing everything right and that my little one just needed to come to the party! This empowered me to know I was doing everything right and everything I could and that this could not be something I could control and that we were in this together and that my child just wasn't there yet! Apparently it can take time for some babies to work up strong jaw muscles.

At this point, I was almost ready to give up pumping, it had been fine, but was getting draining, and I was finding it annoying when I was out and about to have to go home to pump because my breasts were becoming painful or leaking! It's like my child heard me because that's when they 'came to the party'!

It started off with us lying down. We had talked about the flow of the breastmilk and perhaps lying down would ease the flow and it might be easier for my child. After a week or so of lying down breastfeeding, which still meant breastfeeding at home (haha!), we tried sitting up and we did it. I can't tell you how happy and proud it made me. We did it together. It was worth the wait. A friend of mine told me they had inverted nipples and it had taken them 3 months to breastfeed successfully and this is what gave me hope, so hopefully, someone reading this can also have that.

I also had friends who gave up because it was affecting their mental health and I think it's important to note that I was happy to pump and although it became tiresome in the end, it was never affecting me to where it was impacting my day-to-day.

Moving forward, my child is a few months off 1 and we are still going! We have enjoyed the freedom of being able to breastfeed whenever and wherever we want, that feeding them is free and that we have been able to snuggle up and enjoy the bonding experience that it has brought us.

I never would have achieved this without the support of the breastfeeding clinic and I am so grateful that it is a free service. Thank you.


Response from Jodi Graham, Executive Director, Women and Newborn Health Service 4 months ago
Jodi Graham
Executive Director,
Women and Newborn Health Service
Submitted on 10/09/2020 at 16:01
Published on Care Opinion at 16:12

picture of Jodi Graham

Dear cetustg93

Congratulations on the birth of your child and thank you for providing me with your feedback regarding the Breastfeeding Centre at King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH).

This is such an inspirational story and we are so thrilled you shared this with us, and in turn, with others.

Breastfeeding can be sometimes challenging, but with your determination and perseverance along with the individual attention of our Lactation Consultants, you were empowered and supported to enjoy the experience of breastfeeding.

We are very proud of our staff in the Breastfeeding Centre and the service they provide. Our staff are committed to this service and this is a true testament of the collaborative approach with baby and mother to achieve such positive results.

Thank you once again for sharing your story and we will be sure to send on your kind words and positive outcome with all staff involved in your care.

I wish you and your family all the best for the future.

Kind regards

Jodi Graham

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