What My Daughter’s Unconventional Birth Taught Me About the Kindness of Strangers

On the 30th of January, earlier this year, the journey of my third child, our Lottie’s birth story began.

In short, she was in the breech position. I had been to 3 hospitals in 24 hrs. I had gone from one hospital to another by ambulance, sirens blazing. I had been told that I had a blood clot on my lungs and endured 20hrs of breech vaginal labour turned emergency c-section under a general anaesthetic...

My Baby Was Welcomed Into This World by a Stranger

Our Lottie girl was welcomed into the world by a stranger to me. Her daddy was waiting in recovery for her and I would meet her a few hours later when I woke from the surgery.

She was born premature and her blood sugar levels were low. Her first feed was formula due to her extremely low sugar levels and me being unconscious.

A Few Hours Later, When I Woke Up, I Met Our Darling Girl

I didn’t know the sex of our bub, either, so, it was a huge surprise.

The moment I got to hold her she knew exactly where to go to get her Mumma’s milk. I cried so much as I couldn’t believe she was here and what the past 24hrs had been like for us.

At 35 weeks, Lottie was doing extremely well with breastfeeding; however, her blood sugar level just kept on dropping and she would go back and forth from the nursery.

I just wanted to be with her. I felt so protective of her, given her birth and me not watching her being born.

I was given a Medela pump immediately and was told to pump a minimum of eight times in 24 hours. So, I was very grateful for the Medela double breast pump in the hospital as it was fast and efficient, which I needed as the feeding routine was extremely exhausting for me.

I Got Some Extra Help, Just When I Needed it

On day 3, my daughter’s blood sugar level remained low, so, I asked to speak to a Lactation Consultant and a Paediatrician to see if a different feeding routine would assist in getting her blood sugar levels to stabilise.

Our current schedule of ten minutes on the boob topped up with expressed breast milk, then pumping again was not working. The team and I decided to change her feeding schedule to give her expressed breastmilk (EBM), then 5 minutes on the boob and then double pumping again for top-ups.

I Struggled with Breastfeeding

It wasn’t a supply issue but a mental game for me this time around. With my first two children, I would just put them on the boob and that was it. Sure, it wasn’t as easy as that all the time, but, this time around felt so different.

I craved connection with our baby Lottie because I had not seen her birth. I was starting to feel low about not being able to feed her like I had fed my others, combined with the strict feeding times on the boob too. Lottie also had jaundice and went on to lose a lot of weight post-birth.

After Seven Days in the Hospital, We Were Finally Able to Go Home

We needed to return to the hospital twice a week to see the Lactation Consultant to make sure Lottie was gaining enough weight.

When we got home, I was so overwhelmed with the feeding routine because I had two young children, (3 and 18 months) to care for as well. They had both missed me dearly too. The alarm would go off for the routine to start; EBM, 5-10minute breastfeed and pump, 24hrs a day for 4-5 weeks.

An amazing lady reached out to me and I will forever be grateful for her help. I had shared on my Instagram @aliceinhealthyland, that I was struggling and her daughter sent me a message.

She told me that her Mum was a Breastfeeding Consultant and that she would come to my house and see me. She just so happened to be in Brisbane working with one of the large Women and Birthing hospitals.

That lady was the legendary (yes, she is), Mrs. Robyn Thompson. She is the wonderful lady behind “The Thompson Method.” Type it in Google; I kid you not, this lady has changed so many people’s lives.

She got me feeling relaxed with breastfeeding Lottie and helped me to connect with her via breastfeeding. This was something that I had struggled with in the first five weeks. I will forever be grateful for this.

Each Breastfeeding Journey is Different

Every baby is different. Every mum is different. And, every situation is different.

So, go ask for help, mamas. Seek out a qualified Lactation Consultant.

If you feel someone did not quite give you the answer you were after, then look again to find someone else. If you can’t get out of the house, call a breastfeeding support line on your phone.

When you get the right support, you will feel empowered in the decisions you are making for yourself and your baby.

If you have a partner, keep them in the loop with what you are going through, so, they too can support you too.

Thanks, Medela

I want to say a special thank you to Medela for allowing me to share my journey with you all. Lottie is now four months and we are still going strong.

We have battled with silent reflux but have continued to seek help when needed. I feel proud of where we are today.

Thanks for reading.

Alice x

For information on the benefits on Mother’s milk in the NICU, read here.

How would you describe your breastfeeding journey? Did you have to overcome any difficulties that you would like to share? Let’s have a chat and support each other here or on the Medela Australia Facebook page!