Mums in Hull who have given birth during lockdown are sharing their stories to mark Breastfeeding Celebration Week.
The week is designed to remove stigma and promote support to help more women breastfeed.
Support services have all continued to operate throughout the pandemic, helping women and babies to start breastfeeding and overcome difficulties.
Here are the stories from the mums.
“As a breastfeeding peer supporter and having breastfeed my daughter for two years, I knew I wanted to breastfeed my second baby. I felt quite nervous that due to lockdown I wouldn’t be able to get face to face support, although I knew I could ring the peer supporters and have a video chat. It definitely helped that we couldn’t go anywhere so I was more focused on him.
“At around eight days in I started to get some pain when feeding. My health visitor came to visit us and she checked the latch but couldn’t see what was wrong and so she referred me to the infant feeding coordinators. A lady called Debbie came to visit me and with her guidance I was able to get him to latch deeper and stop the pain.”
“I had my son, baby number four, on April 19. I attempted to breastfeed my other three children and gave up for a number of reasons. I had a strong passion to succeed in breast feeding this baby. I have seen other ladies make it look so easy, but I’m sure I speak for many of us who have been through this journey that it certainly is not.
“I had prepared for any complications with feeding and had bought formula and bottles, making giving in very tempting. Breastfeeding during lockdown has not been easy, stuck in the same routine, trying to care for my other children whilst at times getting upset and feeling defeated with the difficulties I’ve faced. But I’ve also had time to concentrate and establish breastfeeding; bonding with my son without countless visitors – although I would have loved to see family and friends.
“I am so proud I’ve persevered and can’t stress enough to any women if you feel like giving in, get help, speak up and keep going. Even though face-to -ace contact has not been possible, I have still have so much support. I would not have made it this far without it. I have truly come to value the service, the ladies of the Goodwin project, the breastfeeding peer support workers and the health professionals that have been involved and helped me along the way.
“My little girl fed so well straight away, latched straight after birth and fed for 45 minutes, so we started really well. I realised early on that I had a really quick let down (where milk flows very quickly) and my little girl struggled with this but after speaking my to the health visitor and a visit from Debbie Jackson (Infant Feeding Coordinator) I was able to use some different positions and also try to hand express a bit before feeding. I was able to do this all in the comfort of my own home without wondering how on earth I’d lay down and feed while out and about.
“With only garden or window visitors I was able to keep hold of my new baby a lot more and not feel pressure to pass her over to family and friends which was kind of bittersweet really. Even with a few struggles along the way this breastfeeding journey is an enjoyable one. There’s no rush to go anywhere or please anyone apart from ourselves – I’m quite grateful for this crazy time in our lives in a way.”
“I made the choice to breastfeed my first baby which, despite many challenges, I did for just over two years. There was no question I would breastfeed my second baby, I just hoped it would be easier this time. I had my c section booked for ‘lockdown Monday’ however, I had an emergency one a few days prior to this.
Having no visitors was a blessing in disguise and I was actually relieved to have an excuse to not have anybody visit us. I wanted time to bond as a family and establish breastfeeding, with absolutely zero pressure to be up dressed and visitor-ready.
“I had no issues this time and no unwanted advice like suggesting bottles. It was much more enjoyable and lockdown certainly had a positive effect, however if I’d have needed support it I think it could have been more difficult to do virtually.”