Alhamdulelah, I was blessed with fairly easy breastfeeding experiences with my children. The first was a bit hard because he was premature, however not too bad. Fortunately, I didn’t even realize he was difficult until I had the second and experienced how easy she was, subhanAllah.
I recently joined an online breastfeeding support group, La Leche League in the Middle East. The moderator is also a doula in Ha’il,
. Saudi Arabia
I wanted to share a recent post from another member (also a doula in
) about her experiences with breastfeeding. She’s has six children but did not find breastfeeding so easy. I admire her perseverance to keep trying. Riyadh
Even mothers that find nursing easy, need support. Think how much more those mothers who experience difficulty need the loving support and resources such as this group in order to succeed. I hope you’ll benefit from her story and share it with others. Let me know if you a story you’d like to share. Now on to the story…Breastfeeding Isn’t Always Easy…
Unfortunately I suffered with thrush with four of my first five babies. But to be truly honest, I still can't be one hundred percent sure I had it. I never had the common symptoms of white spots and itching but my main issue was the pain, cracked nipples and bleeding.
With my first child I wasn't introduced to the importance of breast feeding and gave up quite quickly. My family encouraged me to quit as they couldn't bear seeing me in pain.
With my second child, he was born premature and only 3lb 2oz. Consequently, I was not allowed to breast-feed him. I pumped (using the hospital machine). When I tried to nurse I wasn’t able to get him to latch well. When we got home I continued pumping (hand held pump) and got really tired with pumping (nothing like the hospital machine). Again, I stopped early.
With my third child I was a bit more clued up on the benefits of breast-feeding and the rights (Islamic) of the child to be breastfed, so I was determined to try. After painful sessions from day one I gave up on the advice of the health visitor after about 3 months. My milk kept getting contaminated with blood even after nipple shields and expressing.
Child number four was pretty much the same as number three. So on a night when she was really bunged up with a cold and couldn't breathe very well, I caved in and gave her a bottle. (I sent my husband out at 1am in the morning to try and find some formula.) It was very distressing to see her trying to feed and being sick. It didn’t help that I feared the pain of nursing so feeding sessions were often stop and start. I'd latch then de-latch because of the pain and then try and latch again. I was too frightened because of the pain, so this was very distressing for the baby.
With my fifth child I had moved to
. I found it all started over again, but I was determined to try again. Not speaking the language nor trusting the medical professionals, I found myself using the internet as my doctor. I would research symptoms on the internet then go to the pharmacy and get what I needed (NOT recommended). Egypt
I really couldn't understand why I would suffer for so long with breastfeeding. I knew for other mothers, it would take no longer than two weeks to settle down, and for some straight from the start. So I researched on the internet and pin pointed it down to thrush. At first I was using Canesten, after I asked my gynecologist if it was okay. She advised that I just wipe it off before each feed, but I didn't feel comfortable with that. I tried Nystatin after a friend suggested it. It helped a little. Then I read up (on fourms) on Daktarin working well. It was not available in
so I request my mother in-law bring it (she was due for a visit). This really helped and I breastfed until I became pregnant again. Egypt
With my sixth child I was armed and ready with the Daktarin and successfully breastfed her.
In my research on breastfeeding problems, I did look at positions and flat nipples. I tried a nipple extractor with my fifth and sixth and this helped a little but not much. It also made sense to be thrush because I always suffered with thrush on and off in my pregnancies.
Through my journey of breast-feeding, and also by helping others, I really understand the importance of seeking quality support. I asked for help from a Midwife, a Health Visitor, and a Gynecologist; none specialize in breastfeeding. They all said my latch was okay and I was doing fine; it would go away, but it didn't.
After them telling me I was doing okay, I began to doubt my ability to breastfeed. I felt I wasn't able to do it and was embarrassed to ask anyone else.
Alhumdulillah, thanks to Islam, I felt more compelled to keep trying. I also wanted to help others not go through what I did with so many children; hence the breastfeeding course.
Stacey, the online La Leche League leader, has posted some beneficial information on thrush. It’s a great resource for reducing the flare ups. I also know looking at my diet during pregnancy would be a good start for me, as I use my pregnancies to get a few extra treats. :-)
PLEASE NOTE I DO NOT RECOMMEND SELF-DIAGNOSIS. I RECOMMEND SEEKING ADVISE FROM A HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL (just make sure it is the most suitable one).