Welcome back to our 'Milkbar Mamas' series where we speak to women all over Australia about how breastfeeding unfolded for them because nothing #normalisesbreastfeeding more than writing, speaking and sharing all things boobin' related.
From first time mamas to exclusive pumpers, those battling over and under supply, tongue ties, mastitis and everything in between, we are SO excited to share their words and experiences with you. We hope these stories will inspire, give you some tips for your own breastfeeding experience and help those walking a similar path to feel less alone.
Laura's story: From struggling to success with baby #4
When it comes to perseverance, mum-of-four Laura knows a thing or two. After struggling with breastfeeding her first three children due to a variety of issues, Laura is now successfully breastfeeding for fourth child and has reached the milestone of 16 weeks, a point she never reached previously.
Breastfeeding ain't easy
The steep learning curve of breastfeeding can come as a surprise to many mamas, Laura included. "I tried as best I could with my first three (children), but could only breastfeed to two weeks for my first, six weeks for my second and two weeks for my third," remembers Laura. "This was mainly due to severely cracked nipples." OUCH! Anyone who has experienced nipple trauma and pain will know just how difficult it can be to persevere, especially when you're exhausted and overwhelmed.
Breastfeeding the fourth time around
After falling pregnant for the fourth time, Laura decided to do some research into how she could increase her chances of breastfeeding success. "I watched YouTube videos of babies latching and read up on the Thompson Method which provides insight into successful, pain free. breastfeeding," says Laura."I desperately wanted my 4th attempt to succeed, as this could be my last pregnancy."
Now, 16 weeks in, Laura is successfully feeding her daughter, and, while at time challenging, she's gaining confidence every day. "I can’t say how many times I “quit” breastfeeding," she says, "but I am so proud that I’ve managed to persevere."
Surviving the first few weeks
The early days and weeks of breastfeeding can be tough. "The first 5 weeks really are so challenging with the nipple soreness, the sleep deprivation and the self doubt as to whether baby is getting enough milk," says Laura. She found having a stash of frozen expressed colostrum super handy for surviving after bub was born. "I found hand expressing colostrum in the last few weeks of pregnancy really helped set me up for success," says Laura. "A lot of stress can be placed on Mums about baby weight so having a top up of milk can give you the reassurance that baby is fed while still continuing with breastfeeding."
Laura has also been using the Haakaa Ladybug Silicone Milk Collector to not only collect all that milk that would otherwise be lost in a breast pad, but to give her nipples some much needed relief. "I’ve loved using the Haakaa Milk Collectors which are so gentle but effective to catch milk when nursing from the other breast but also give nipples some air time when tender."
For Laura, while her breastfeeding experience hasn't always been straightforward, it has been worth it. "It hasn’t been easy, and there are still both good days and bad days, but I’m so incredibly thankful that I’ve been able to continue our journey." Her advice for other mamas, especially those experiencing pain while feeding? "Nipples will always be tender in the early days but if it hurts during feeds it’s so important to correct that ASAP!" says Laura. "Help from a midwife or Lactation Consultant to correct baby’s latch before nipple damage becomes worse will help you continue your breastfeeding journey."
Well done Laura, an amazing effort and we hope your breastfeeding success continues for many more months!