The physical pain had been bad enough, but it was nothing compared to the shame, disappointment and utter uselessness I felt at not being able to breastfeed my baby. Not only had I not been able to birth her properly (I’d laboured for what felt like years only to end with a caesarean section for ‘failure to progress’ past 4cm) but I was useless enough to be bad at feeding my baby too. She was constantly crying, hungry I assumed and after a lot of soul searching, I put her on formula. No big deal, right? At least she was being fed…..?
Baby number two and, after being told that I needed another caesarean because of the first, was determined to breastfeed this one – no matter what. This baby was more obliging, (or was it because I was more comfortable?), and for the most part, fed well. The pain was tolerable but still there. When she came off looking like an infant vampire, with blood mixed with milk trickling out of the side of her mouth, she too was put on formula. I’d failed again.
The overriding reason I did not continue to breastfeed my babies was that I had little to no support. We were living in Darwin in the early nineties, far away from family and friends who may have been able to help, or at least been there with a cuppa and a shoulder to cry on when things felt they were going south. I had no idea where to go for help other than the child health nurses who, while lovely, were too busy to give the time needed to sit with me and guide me. I knew of the, then, Nursing Mothers Association (now Australian Breastfeeding Association), but no idea they had meetings, if indeed they did.
Consequently, it came as a huge revelation to me when, 14 years after the birth of my first child, sitting in a lecture hall during a midwifery lecture, that I sat, open mouthed, at presentation on breastfeeding. ‘Was THAT all I had to do?’ ‘Could it have been THAT easy?’ I cried all the way from Wagga Wagga to Bungendore at what could have been if only I had been given the right support.
I distinctly remember the moment and place I was when I was hit with an epiphany. I was driving down Smiths Gap into Bungendore and decided that no, I was not going to have another baby in my fourties to prove I could now breastfeed, but I would make it my mission to make sure no other woman felt the way I did those fourteen years ago.
So, with a lot, and I really mean heaps, of study, seminars, discussions, exams and finally lactation certification and the unwavering support of my friends, family and my fabulous Nest partners in crime, Ange & Clare, The Lactation Lounge at The Nest was born.
The Lounge is meant to be a place for women to gather and chat about all things baby, including feeding. It is not an exclusive place for breastfeeding mothers, but FEEDING mothers, with a Lactation Consultant available if needed. Although my main mission is to assist breastfeeding mothers, I totally understand the feelings that can come when deciding to formula feed your baby, as well as the need for all women to support each other, especially in those early weeks and months.
So, if you're having any trouble with, or questions about, breastfeeding or just need somewhere comfy and safe to feed your baby, HOWEVER you feed your baby, want to have a chat & meet other parents, please feel free to come in and enjoy a lovely cuppa and biscuit. The Lactation Lounge is on every Thursday morning from 10am-1pm at The Nest, 77 Campbell St Moruya. If you are not comfortable asking me about feeding in front of a group, I am more than happy to have a chat to you, in private, on the day.
Above all remember: YOU'VE GOT THIS
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We are so excited to launch our new website & offer you a range of services to support and nurture you during your pregnancy. Here we will be regularly updating you on our journey and our latest offerings.