Maria writes about her experience of breastfeeding as a young mum, and how she worked with her midwife to get the hang of it.
During labour they gave me Pethidine. So by the time I gave birth, Arianna was very sleepy she was very drowsy. She was not able to latch on properly for a whole month so breastfeeding as a young mum was tricky.
The first week she was so weak that she couldn’t breastfeed. The only thing she was able to do was drink formula milk but then I continued to practice and then she started to latch on properly. I expressed breast milk as well.
So she started breastfeeding properly when she was about five weeks old. It was a struggle at the beginning because she just would not latch on.
It was painful, Mum kept telling me ‘you’ll be fine’, but breastfeeding as a young mum was really painful to the point that I thought I was going to stop but my midwife said ‘no you should carry on’.
How my midwife helped
My midwife would come at home, she would visit once every week, every Friday. We would practice, she would stay there for an hour and then she would call me just to find out how she was coping. How was I coping, because when your baby cannot latch you feel like your baby is not having enough food.
I got really stressed when on the third week she got a cold. I thought it was because she wasn’t drinking enough of my milk. But it was just because I went back to uni and I got a cold. So that is how she caught a cold as well.
If you cannot and it is painful then go for the alternative of expressing your milk. I stopped feeding her when she was about six months old. When she started on solids, that’s when my milk started to reduce. It got to the point that no milk was coming out any more. Breastfeeding as a young mum wasn’t easy!
Our advice on breastfeeding as a young mum
Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of SIDS. Breastfeeding, even for a few days, is better than not breastfeeding at all. The Department of Health now recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for at least six months.
The Department of Health also recommends that mums continue to breastfeed if they can, with appropriate weaning foods, for as long as mum and baby want.
Even a brief period of breastfeeding can be protective for your baby. It has been shown that both partly and exclusive breastfeeding has been associated with a lower SIDS rate. However breastfeeding for all feeds was associated with the lowest risk.
If you have any questions or queries about safer sleep advice, please feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find more information about sleeping your baby safely and reducing the risk of SIDS on our safer sleep for babies advice pages.
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Read and watch stories from young parents like Opal on our website.