My little one was born at 30 weeks, but has had my breast milk since he was born, along with extra support liquid given to him to help him. I started expressing soon after surgery by hand as shown by the wonderful neonatal nurses as he had no sucking reflex. He was tube fed till 39 weeks when we finally got to try breast feeding directly. Unfortunately due to a few issues it didn’t work, but I was determined having such a terrible pregnancy and birth, I wasn’t loosing this choice as well so I’ve been expressing night and day up to 10 times a day since. He’s now 15 months and I have returned to work, but still express 3 times a day. I know it’s not actual breast feeding so I never actually say I breastfeed, but he’s only ever had my breast milk, just not directly.
I was very nervous about expressing at work and advised them a month before my return that I would need somewhere to go with a lockable door. I was also nervous as my manager is male, but he has been amazing and the company has been very supportive by providing a comfortable room with a sink so I can wash my equipment and am able to pop off to express when I need to around my meetings - Charlotte
Sharing our feeding journey to inspire any mums or mums-to-be who are coming to terms with a difficult diagnosis, but want to try breastfeeding.
My Alfred is 10 months old, he has Down’s Syndrome and a serious congenital heart defect (AVSD), against all the odds (and the expectations of his medical professionals!) he is now 100% breastfed on demand plus weaning foods. 🎉🎉🎉
It’s been bloody hard (!!) but we have kept going through failure to thrive, heart failure, 2 lots of heart surgery and bad reflux. Plus babies with Down’s also struggle to breastfeed due to poor muscle tone (ie they’re very floppy).
Alfred needed formula top-ups via nasal-gastric tube from 1 month old until about 6 weeks ago, and there were short periods when I just expressed and froze milk (during his PICU stays).
We have had support from some wonderful hospital dieticians, midwives and other mums/peer supporters. (Plus, of course, the wonderful NHS team who repaired his heart!!)
I am so incredibly proud of my super boy - we are an unstoppable team 💪 So my message to other mums and mums-to-be is... you can do it mamas! Stay strong, be stubborn and believe in your special little one - s/he will amaze you! 💛💙- Verity
My two children are adopted and therefore they were bottle fed. Whilst I wholly understand the benefits of breastfeeding I dislike how it now seems to have turned into a negative judgement on those who can't or don't want to. I've been out in public before having other mum's raise with me why I am using formula and questioning whether I have tried breastfeeding. If, at that time, I have chosen to share that my child is adopted I then get a sympathetic head tilt and being told that they know I'm doing well by my child.
There seems to be an insinuation that if mother's choose to bottle feed they have chosen not to do best by their child. "Breast is best"... well let me just weep into my cup of tea and add to the overwhelming new mum anxiety I already have. In an age where women should be supporting one another like never before the judgements on how we choose to feed our children are entirely unhelpful and only serve to add to the anxiety, guilt and loneliness that comes with being a first time parent.
I just always feel when I see things like this that it is something else that excludes me from the mummy club, along with not being able to conceive, carry and deliver a biological child.- Lynne
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