Mum’s Journey: Coby is 6 Months Old (4 Months Corrected)

Coby is 6 months old and he will be one before I know it. I want to make an extra effort to take in every moment (well maybe just the good ones!) I will be back at work before I know it.

We have had several “firsts” the last few weeks… both good and bad. There are so many little milestones and I’m trying to remember them all...

Along with the good “firsts,” we’ve also had some major challenges that impacted our sleep and health.

He had his first sleep in his cot, his first roll, his first solids and his first swimming lesson – I almost can’t keep up! Introducing solids will be a slow process given his sensitive digestive system, but, he has started out loving food!

Unfortunately, After His First Swimming Lesson, He Got Sick…

Coby’s sleep routine went out the window as his first chest infection took hold. As a result, my mental, emotional and physical wellbeing also took a hit.

After being up from 1am a few days ago, I decided something had to change. I had been waiting for our sleep to improve before moving him out of our room… our rooms are on different levels in the house and I didn’t want to walk up and down the stairs all night. Then, I realized that the bassinet was part of the problem.

Overnight, Coby was in his own room, with no more dummy and in an unrestricted sleeping bag (with his arms “out”). He is getting better at self-settling. We have a long way to go until he sleeps through the night, but, it’s a big improvement.

It’s also so much easier to let them grizzle a bit more when they aren’t in the bed next to you. He now still has a dream feed at 10:30, which is always a bottle of expressed milk with Stu while I try and get to bed as early as I can and overnight is one breastfeed.

Cracked Nipples and Nipple Thrush

Just as I started to feel better and he was settling into his routine in his own room, I had my first episode of what started out as cracked nipples and ended up as nipple thrush.

The cracked nipples were excruciating with my skin becoming red, raw and cut. So, I stopped breastfeeding and expressed to try and help heal them quickly.

After about 36 hours, I noticed white flakes on the nipples and the pain was now not only in the nipples but also the breast. It felt like somebody was stabbing me in the nipples.

Dr Google indicated that I might have nipple thrush following Coby’s antibiotics for his chest infection. I saw a GP that day and started both topical and oral medication.

Katie at Medela was also fantastic and gave me some extra advice and support, which I really needed. I had no idea what nipple pain was like and I was willing to do anything to help it clear as quickly as possible.

I decided to go on an anti-candida diet and include some natural alternatives to my treatment. This included a strong probiotic for both of us and coconut oil for myself.

To minimize the risk of passing it back and forth between Coby and myself, I will keep exclusively expressing for over a week. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody, but, I’m so glad I got onto it early and realized it wasn’t just cracked nipples I was dealing with.

Having my Medela expressing bra and the Swing Maxi made this possible. After a week of purely expressing, I re-introduced breastfeeding with one feed extra per day, using the Medela nipple shield.

I used the nipple shield for a week and then went back to my regular routine. If it wasn’t for expressing and the nipple shield, I might have given up breastfeeding altogether. The pain was just that bad.

In addition to the thrush, I found out that I had an underactive thyroid, following a blood test I was meant to have 6 weeks post-partum. 6 weeks turned into 6 months (oops) and I’m now on medication, which will hopefully will help how I’ve been feeling.

It’s so easy to blame things on “mumlife,” but, it’s incredible how many women experience thyroid issues (often undiagnosed) both in pregnancy and post-partum. With medication and better sleep, I’m sure that I will start to pick up again soon.

So, after a month of firsts, I’m looking forward to feeling better again soon. I can’t wait to be able to have a bit more energy so that I can enjoy my time with my precious bundle even more!

In a few weeks, Coby and I are accompanying my mum on a trip to the U.S. for a memorial service. So, stay tunes for our trip post.

How would you describe your breastfeeding journey? Did you encounter any challenges? How did you deal with them? Let’s have a chat here or on the Medela Australia Facebook page.