Young mum Ellie shares with us the difficulties she faced when she first started breastfeeding her son, Isaac, and how she was supported by specialists, family and other breastfeeding mums.
In our modern society, young parents rarely get the opportunity to witness breastfeeding. This means that it’s hard to know what can go wrong and what to do when it does.
Before Isaac was born, I had an idyllic picture of him latching perfectly and feeding every three hours or so.
After giving birth, I wanted to feed him straight away – but he found it very hard to latch for his first feed and I began to panic.
The midwives taught me how to hand express and we fed him through a syringe. Knowing that he was still getting all the benefits of colostrum and having the support of the midwives on hand stopped me from panicking.
But, in the back of my mind I was still doubting whether I could make breastfeeding work .
The next day I saw a lactation consultant.
Without her, our breastfeeding journey would have ended at the hospital.
She suggested that I try using nipple shields to help Isaac with latching. I tried using them and Isaac latched perfectly straight away! I felt a huge sense of relief for both me and my son.
Back home, my family and friends were right by my side while breastfeeding was being established. However, as soon as my friends started to go back to university after the summer, I realised I needed a wider support network of other mums.
At 19 years old, I was really nervous before I joined my breastfeeding group.
I thought that I might be judged for being a younger mum.
I eventually forced myself to go to the breastfeeding group at my local children’s centre, which was one of the best decisions I’ve made.
Being in a safe, non-judgemental space with other breastfeeding mums and a health visitor to talk to helped my confidence to grow enormously!
I’m so grateful for the many people who have supported me and my son in our breastfeeding journey.
Without them, we wouldn’t have this beautiful experience that our relationship has evolved around. I would urge other young mums to seek as much support as they can with breastfeeding, even if they feel nervous about doing so.
I would also urge society to support young mums more, because I know how hard it is to reach out as a young parent.
What young mums like Ellie say about breastfeeding
Watch Ellie and other young mums talk about their breastfeeding experiences in the video below