Breastfeeding wasn't easy at the start, but now we have found our rhythm...
Sydney health, fitness and mindfulness blogger, Monique Bowie, shares the emotional changes she went through after giving birth to baby Kora...
Medela: Tell us about yourself and your new little family, where are you from, what are you passionate about?
Monique: Hi my name is Monique! I am from Cronulla in Sydney and my partner is from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil! We met in Bali when I was on holiday and he was living there. We are both passionate about health and fitness, mindfulness and being true to yourself. I am a first-time mama of baby Kora, who we welcomed into the world at the end of May.
Medela: Having a baby is an exciting and overwhelming time. What breastfeeding advice would you give to new mothers that you wish you had of known before you started breastfeeding?
Monique: Ahh there are a few things I wish I had known!
Your first breast milk that comes through after your baby is born is called colostrum (liquid gold).
For some, it flows but for me, I had to hand express out in a syringe and feed my baby. It takes about 3 days for your breast milk to come and for me when it came, my breasts were hard as a rock and so sore! I was also very emotional when my milk came, and I was crying uncontrollably! Also, for some, including me, breastfeeding is not easy at the start… I have inverted nipples, so it was hard to get Kora to latch on and suck in the beginning. I have been using the Medela Contact Nipple Shields from the start, which really helped bring my nipple out, and I can feed now without the shield.
Medela: What are some of the major challenges that you experienced in the early days of breastfeeding?
1. The hormonal change when my milk came in had an emotional impact. This is something that I had no idea was common (baby blues), but the midwives assured me that it was normal and to not worry.
2. Trying to get her to breastfeed from my inverted nipples what challenging in the beginning. With the advice from the midwives, I tried the Medela Contact Nipple Shields, which helped me so much. She was able to latch and it brought my nipples out enough for her to stay on the breast. However, I didn’t want to use the Contact Nipple Shield the whole time I was breastfeeding; I found using shields when I was out in public really annoying and stressful. I also found with shields my milk would stop halfway through a feed, as they weren’t getting the same suction from her as they would without the shields. I overcame this by using the shield at the beginning of a feed then taking them off during the feed. By doing this, she was able to latch on without the shield halfway through. This took a few goes in the beginning, but it works for both of us!
3. Recently I developed Mastitis and an infected abscess from leaving it for over 10 days. I had to have the abscess drained and IV antibiotics. I have learned that it’s important to go straight to the GP as soon as I see symptoms, as there is nothing worse being unwell with mastitis whilst caring for a newborn.
Medela: How did the Freestyle pump fit into your lifestyle and help your breastfeeding journey?
Monique: The Freestyle breast pump helped me express milk so that I was able to go to an event for work, while my partner or mother in law could look after Kora. Also, it helped me to express milk while I was in the hospital when I couldn’t have Kora there to feed.
My favourite feature is the rechargeable battery as you can pump anywhere!
This is really helpful as well if you are at home and need to cook or do things around the house, you aren’t bound to the couch! Also, the digital display was so useful for me, as I could tell how long I had been pumping for!
Medela: What is your favourite thing about breastfeeding?
Monique: My favourite thing about breastfeeding is definitely bonding with Kora and knowing she needs me. It’s a good feeling, especially when she looks up at me with a huge smile. When I was away from her when I was in the hospital for the night, I had expressed her milk and I really missed being able to feed her.
Share your story! What emotional changes did you go through when breastfeeding?