Breastfeeding Triumphs & defeats…

Why the actual F^*K aren’t women born with steel nipples?! When writing this article, I was 10 days post partum & had to contact my midwife as bub wouldn’t latch, I tried a million different positions – nothing. Thankfully Vera Tate my Midwife popped around to help me out and gave me a few tips to help me in future.

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Today, finishing off this post, I am 12 days pp and have been mutilated and almost put in the loony bin from a lack of sleep! Thankfully my first born sleeps 12-13 hours at night so I only really have to deal with my newborn. My husband has moved into the spare room so he can get a good nights sleep for work, he started back 6 days after the new bub was born. I’m happy to do it myself – then it’s done my way (control freak)! However, I do wake him through the night for nappy changes when I’m at the stage of not seeing straight.

A week before I had my second baby I met with Ingham’s Lactation Consultant, Georgina Bosworth – Mumma G. We had spoken at the start of my first pregnancy about breast feeding but at the time there wasn’t enough info/research on the medication I was on and breast feeding. This time around was a different story. The doctors that I had seen, firstly said I could breastfeed this time around but then were second guessing their decision, so they just decided to tell me it was unsafe rather than look into it.

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I decided to give as much info as I know on the medication i’m currently on – Pregabalin & Sertraline, as they are very common medications. Pregabalin, trade name Lyrica is for the nerve pain I suffer as a result of my quad bike accident back in 2013. Sertraline belongs to a group of medicines called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), it’s used to treat depression, anxiety disorders & post traumatic stress disorder. I know there a handful of people I know that take one or the other for various reasons. 

Mumma G found info on studies done with pregnant & breastfeeding women who were on doses from 150mg-600mg/day in divided doses of one of Pregabilin (Lyrica – nerve pain). Throughout my first and second trimester, I was on the lower dose of 150mg twice a day. As I entered my third trimester, my nerve pain became unmanageable – So my doctors decided to increase my dose to 300mg twice a day.

The second medication I take (I only take two), Sertraline, I was put on about half way through my second pregnancy and my daily dosage is only 50mg. One of the studies that were carried out were on doses from 50mg-100mg/day and a very minimal amount was detected in the breast milk/infant. The maternal plasma levels of this drug ranged from 18.4 to 95.8ng/ml (nano-grams/millilitre).

Mumma G knows where to find the info doctors just don’t have the time to search for. I was handed various handouts regarding the medications I was/am taking with a heap of different statistics listed. The one that was bought to my attention was the RID (Relative Infant Dose) – The relative infant dose is the dose received via breast milk (mg/kg/day) relative to the mother’s dose (mg/kg/day). It is expressed as a percentage. A dose of 10% or above is the level of concern, but this is rare. Pregabalin sits at 7.18%, which is quite high, whereas Sertraline sits at 2.2% – So my husband and I weighed up the pros and cons, and decided I would give breast feeding a go. I’ve always wanted to breastfeed, it’s just something I always wanted to try, as it promotes so many benefits, not only for your baby – but yourself as well.

I know breast feeding is quite controversial in this day and age, but I believe every mother should have the choice to experience breastfeeding. Obviously there would be factors that make it too unsafe to even consider, I’m just lucky that this information came to light before I had my baby.

How to breastfeed: breastfeeding positions

I decided to record how my breastfeeding journey was going, here are a few diary entries:-

Day 3 diary note:- So It’s day three of my breastfeeding journey and today things are looking up – sore, but looking up. Vera has taught me about baby led attachment, which has helped make things easier. I have been able to adapt to ways of positioning bub and myself so that he latches well, the little Hoover!

baby-led attachment

Day 6 diary note:- I take back saying things were looking up. My right nipple is split so bad it’s bleeding! I had to express, my right side felt like it was going to explode. I expressed 90ml and had to dump it all because it was a lovely shade of pink – super…. (sigh).

Day 9 diary note:- Healing well. Still tender but it hurts a lot less than it was when feeding. I’m currently feeding on the left and pumping on the right. If I was a cow, we would always have fresh milk! Other breastfeeding mother’s would want to smash me in the face… with a chair…. I’m pumping anywhere from 60-80ml from each breast, three times a day!

Avent breast milk storage containers I use.

Day 12 diary note:- At day 11 I started feeding on the right again, however – This is what happens when I feed at night because of lack of sleep/I’m unable to concentrate the slightest!

Mutilated boobie!

I’ve decided I will only feed on the right during the day now, no longer at night to prevent me from giving up all together! Who are we kidding – my head is much too hard to give up! Everything else is going well, I’m hoping in the next few days I can express enough milk to send bub packing! Mummy needs a good night – so nanna & nonno’s or grandma and dad dad’s it is! First time away from mummy for more than a few hours, hello separation anxiety!

It is so good to have the medical/baby/breastfeeding support we do here in Ingham. It does make things much, much easier! There should be these services with the level of dedication these teams have in every town/city. Or – more people could just move to Ingham! more businesses would open up rather than more shutting down – creating more jobs for those who move here. OK, side track! – I’m back, i’ll continue with breastfeeding.

My current plan is to have enough breast milk frozen, for those nights I just can’t cope with the nerve pain I suffer from. I either take heavy pain killers that usually just put me to sleep or end up at ED to get a shot of Toradol which I found to be the best thing for me. It attacks my nerve pain and lets me sleep through the night.

Below, I have listed various links that I have found helpful over the last 12 days:-

Breastfeeding mums support group (Australia) – Facebook Page

Newborns: How To Breastfeed – raisingchildren.net.au

Newborns: Videos – raisingchildren.net.au

Babies & Early Childhood Health – QLD Government

Baby: Following Birth – QLD Government

In the past 12 days, I have accessed all these sites for various reasons and have found they were actually quite helpful. There was various info I wasn’t aware of, plus it refreshed the info I had learnt with my first bub. I hope this post is beneficial to other mothers out there who are currently, or are looking at breastfeeding their newborn/s.

All in all, I will come out the other side of my breastfeeding journey a warrior, I won’t let it break me – (even though you have days were your like – not today Satan!) Those that know me will agree my head is wayyyy too hard to give up. Lastly, I just wanted to give a special thanks to my Midwife Vera and my Lactation Consultant Georgina for all their support, not only since I gave birth, but the whole way through my pregnancy. You ladies seriously are angels sent from above!

Mumma G, myself & bub and Vera ❤

Aquo Xx

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