I tried to breastfeed George for 6 weeks after he was born. Every single time I did he did the same horrendous screams, arched back and clawing. It was absolutely heartbreaking, and I felt thoroughly rejected. I just didn’t understand why he didn’t want it. I cried so many times. For the first few weeks of his life he was formula fed, along with the small amounts of breastmilk I could express, maybe 60ml per day. I was delighted when I got enough for a full feed for him; it made me feel that at least I was doing something right.
At about 6 weeks post partum, I decided that I wanted to give George more breastmilk. Everything I had read told me that I needed to have been pumping every 2-3 hours in the first few weeks to establish supply, which I obviously hadn’t done, and now I had a tiny supply. I decided that it was worth a try, so I began pumping 8 times a day with my little hand pump – each session took about 45 minutes. After about a week I had badly strained both hands and it hurt like hell to pump. I’d been lent an electric pump by the local breastfeeding support service but it hardly got anything out. I bought a Medela Pump In Style, and the difference was amazing. It’s a double electric pump and I can get most of the milk out in 10 minutes. I can fix it to my bra so I can use my hands to play with George – although if he starts crying I have to stop. I take fenugreek and flaxseed to increase my supply, as well as eating plenty of oats, drinking fennel and nettle tea and coconut water, using fennel and basil essential oils, and drinking litres of water.
At 6 weeks old George was having one bottle of my milk per day at most.
At 19 weeks old, George is exclusively breastmilk fed, with one bottle of formula every 2 days if needed.