You can read Mikaila’s story of feeding her first son born at 29 weeks here. Now, second time around Mikaila is more confident and determined as ever to breastfeed her son.
In March 2014 I gave birth to our second son (on his big brothers 4th birthday) at 36 weeks. I was so happy to get to this gestation. The further along I got the more I began to hope for the experience of that precious skin-to-skin contact and that first feed; but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. After a c-section this time (because of placenta previa) he was also taken straight to NICU as he was struggling with his breathing. As they took him away a paediatric doctor peered over me and asked if I would be happy for them to formula feed him if he had low blood sugar. She was taken aback when I quickly replied – “No, as soon as I’m
finished here (in theatre) I’ll be expressing!”
This time I was ready for it and I knew what I was doing. I got back to the ward and asked for a sterile pot and syringes, no pump this time, as I knew I would hand express this time. I got 20mls straight away and asked for it to be taken straight to my baby as I still wasn’t able to move or see my baby myself.
Later that night I was taken in a wheelchair to see him properly for the first time, he was crying in his incubator and I just wanted to cuddle and feed him. I asked if he could come out and he was given to me on my lap. He latched on and had a good feed, and then he had to go back in. Feeding over the next few days were hard, he became jaundiced and required treatment, and because of the jaundice he became too sleepy to feed and lost weight. A nurse monitored me feeding, I felt like I was doing something wrong. I was feeling guilty for breastfeeding when he was slow to gain weight and began to wonder if he would do better and would get home more quickly on formula. I soon remembered my initial determination though to breastfeed with my first son and I knew that I would do exactly the same again. I would continue to breastfeed for as long as I could and for as long as it felt right. We were discharged a week after I had given birth, exclusively breastfeeding and 9 months on and we’re still going strong.
I wish I had been offered a bit more support in the beginning but we got there in the end. I just feel lucky and proud that I was able to breastfeed both my children after their premature arrivals.