The comedy, beauty and challenges of breastfeeding

Two beautiful eyes looking up at you, a curl of the lip as your eyes meet and the feel of your baby nursing against your skin. You might be pumping or feeding your baby with a syringe, cup or bottle. Regardless of what your journey looks like, all we see are those beautiful eyes looking up at us, loving us and thanking us for all the sacrifices that we have made. ⁠

Breastfeeding comes in all forms and types; there are joys, tears and laughter, but most of all, the beauty of a mother's gift to herself, her baby and the earth.⁠

To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, we will be featuring a few of our beautiful mums and babies on their breastfeeding journeys as they share their stories on the comedy, beauty and challenges of breastfeeding.⁠

Ziggy’s story: Breastfeeding after an emergency C-section

Whether you deliver through a planned or emergency Caesarean, many mothers would wonder how surgery would affect their breastfeeding abilities. It is often true that a C-section can complicate or delay aspects of nursing – particularly since there will be a very painful abdominal wound. Also compared to a vaginal birth, sometimes mothers do not get the natural surge of oxytocin that can help with her breastmilk supply right away. However with the proper support, techniques and the help of expressing milk with hand or pump, it can help make the breastfeeding process a much smoother one.

Ziggy recounts her breastfeeding experience when she had an emergency C-section under general anaesthesia with her second baby Callum.

“After having been through one breastfeeding journey with my now-three-year-old, I felt confident that the second time round we wouldn’t run into any issues. I had a period of months in the early days with my first child where I exclusively pumped, transitioned back to the breast, and then nursed into toddlerhood.

Second-time-round, I had my lanolin nipple cream, silverettes and reusable breast pads at the ready when we went to hospital, and anticipated all the amazing skin-to-skin I’d be having in a few hours. Flash forward; it ended up being an emergency C-section under general anaesthetic, and my son was whisked away to the paediatric unit. I was in the post-labour ward without my baby but I knew what needed to be done!

Both my husband and I asked them not to give our son any formula, and I began hand-expressing colostrum into syringes every hour on the hour, and having it sent to my son.  When I was finally able to be wheel-chaired to see my son, to my dismay, found out they had been giving him large scheduled quantities of formula in addition to the syringes I was expressing. So, I requested to feed him directly every three hours on the nurse’s schedule rather than have him formula-fed.

The nurses saw my perseverance to be with my baby, and once he was stable, they allowed him to room with me back on the postnatal ward. From there we fed on demand, every hour for about 5-10 minutes, and forgot about the schedule!

Even as a second-time mum, I worried about our breastfeeding relationship when we had been separated for the first days of his life. Luckily, I knew that everything would be ok in the end, and I just had to keep extracting milk from my breasts to signal to them that my baby needed me! So, if you find yourself in the same boat, just keep hand-expressing your colostrum as much as possible until you can be with baby again!” 

Ziggy is an experienced and certified Women's Wellness and Pre- and Post-Natal Fitness Coach, follow her on her Instagram @zig.fitmama as she provides honest opinions and thoughts towards her motherhood and fitness journey.

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