When my son was almost 4 weeks old, I began my relactation journey. I stocked up on medication, supplements, information and support. You see, he was formula fed at one week old. I was hospitalised overnight with severe anxiety attacks and extreme insomnia when he was 6 days old and was not in a state to breastfeed so he was given formula feeds.
I then allowed my milk to dry up as I focused on getting better mentally. After finding out that I had lost my first pregnancy early in the second trimester, I understandably was anxious during my second pregnancy and beyond. As a result, I had postnatal depression & anxiety all surrounding the fear of losing my son and not being a ‘good enough’ Mumma to him.
I so desperately missed breastfeeding – not only for all of the health benefits to him and myself but because I loved it.
I started being very conscious of eating well, drinking loads of fluids, resting, and nursing him as often as possible. He would latch on but got increasingly frustrated because I was producing next-to-no milk. I was taking several galactologues and started pumping regularly. I stayed in contact with a lactation consultant and ordered a Supplementary Nursing System. A generous Mum donated expressed breastmilk to us as well.
To say I was determined is an understatement.
I was so blessed to have a cooperative baby and an extremely supportive husband. I went from expressing literally a couple of mLs from both breasts at a time to producing more than enough breastmilk (750 mL in a 24 hour period) in just seventeen days!
Getting my supply back was only half the battle. It was then a matter of getting him back to the breast. 11 days later, after much frustration and a few meltdowns (from both him and I) my baby boy had his first of many feeds from the breast… and we haven’t looked back…
That was almost 10 months ago (my bub is almost one!) and my ‘boobah’ loving baby boy is healthy, happy and thriving!
It was trying, don’t get me wrong. I had to hand express at first and expressing so regularly and constantly was draining both physically and emotionally. I had all the normal duties of a first time Mum to contend with alongside postnatal anxiety, an exhaustive pumping schedule, painful nipples (hello nipple thrush, meet hospital grade double breast pump), the financial cost and it was so time consuming. But it was beyond worth it.
I spent time researching relactation on the internet. I searched for success stories, blogs, articles, anything that would tell me that it was not only possible but that it was worth it (you can find my relactation blog at http://relactater.blogspot.com and my motherhood blog at http://racheous.wordpress.com).
At one point I remember saying I just want someone to come to me from the future and tell me that this will all be worth it. Well, it is. It really really is.
I didn’t just want to breast-feed. I wanted to breast-nurture. I am a relactation success story. I just want to be a voice for relactation to say that it is achievable and gaining back our breastfeeding relationship has been so very rewarding.