intense sadness and jealousy
I come from a country where there is almost a "military-style" propaganda as far as breastfeeding goes.
When I was pregnant with my first child, it never occurred to me that I wouldn't be able to breastfeed and I was very determined to do so.
Unfortunately my baby was breech and I had to have an elective caesarian. I was informed by other women who had undergone caesarians that they had experienced difficulty producing milk, but when I queried this I was informed by various medical staff that this wouldn't be the case.
After spending five sleepless nights in hospital and wondering why my baby was screaming after I had had him on the breast for what seemed like hours, I was given a device called a "Lactaid", basically a specimen jar with a tube inserted in the lid which was filled with formula. This was to be inserted into the baby's mouth simultaneously as my nipple and was supposed to encourage greater suckling by fooling the baby into thinking he was getting more milk off of me.
No less than three nurses tried to place the lactaid on me and baby with no success, however I was told to persist. At home, again after several sleepless nights (and I mean absolutely no sleep!) the midwife suggested Blessed Thistle and prescribed Domeperidone after ten days.
All this whilst I was continuing to pump after every feed (including the night ones). After approximately three weeks I was only producing 2mls of milk (and this was at my peak).
My baby was ravenously hungry and had lost so much weight and eventually the midwife finally admitted it wasn't working. We placed him fully on the bottle and my son slept through the night at five weeks old.
With my second son I tried breastfeeding again and once more, after having to have another c-section my milk supply was minimal. After three days he was lethargic and turned jaundiced.
I decided that I would not put myself or baby through this again and didn't delay the formula. In hospital when it became apparent there was no milk I was asked questions such as, "how long did it take for your milk to come on last time?" and "can you feel your breasts getting any fuller?".
I was told by a nurse that if I wanted to feed by son formula I had to ask for it, that the nurse couldn't offer it and even then, in her words "had to sign a piece of paper saying how terrible it is".
I would love to hear from other Mums who have experienced low milk supply after elective caesarians (and indeed I know women who haven't had this problem and were able to breastfeed afterwards).
I still placed my boys on the breast even though they were only getting a teaspoon of milk and indeed even now I find I have trouble letting go.
I feel intense sadness and jealousy when I see mothers exclusively breastfeeding their babies, knowing that for whatever reason I was denied this right.
I also hate reading literature stating that, "only 5% of women can't breastfeed due to low milk supply and this is extremely rare" because this just serves to make me feel more of a failure, more of a freak.