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Emma's Journey: Two Babies, Two Different Stories

We're delighted to share with you an interview with Emma, who recently had her second baby! She received our Core Restore Postpartum Support Band to try, along with the Smart Electric Breast Pump. Read on to learn about Emma's experience with Lola&Lykke and how different her baby journeys were with little Grayson and Sloane.

 

You’ve only just given birth a few weeks ago, congratulations! How did everything go?

Sloane’s birth was super quick compared to Grayson! I was in slow labour for a week. I was 3cm dilated and had bulging waters with contractions all day for a week! I was exhausted before I had even began. Because of the slow labour and having the toddler to run around after as well as having gestational diabetes (GD) and SPD (yes I literally had it all) they offered to induce me which I of course took, because I don’t think I could of lasted much longer in slow labour and not really progressing at all.

As for the labour itself, I had my waters broken at 6pm-ish and Sloane made a very quick and speedy arrival at 22:01! She was super chilled when she was born never left out much of a cry. She did have low blood sugars. That could of been down to the GD but apart from that, everything was great. Much better and quicker than I actually expected!

Obviously we had a little bump in the road and ended up back in hospital 3 days after Sloane was born because she had jaundice and she needed phototherapy to help her so we spent 4 days in hospital then. That took its toll slightly on my mental health, but that is a whole other story.

I’d love to hear about your recovery! It’s slow going in these early weeks, but have you gotten use of the Postpartum Support Band yet? When did you start wearing it? And how are you finding it?

Recovery for the first 10 days was actually quite easy. Because we where in hospital for  about a week all in, I was able to rest so much I think I recovered quicker than I would of being at home running around after a toddler. Because I had an easier birth this time and I never had any intervention or stitches I actually felt pretty good around day 7/10! I got the postpartum support band when I was around 3 weeks PP and I started using it right away. I’m roughly now 2/3 weeks in using it and I found it’s helped loads. My back was the one thing causing me issues and since using it, I can feel a big difference and the support I get using it has been great.

This band would be a big must have for any new mum in my opinion!

 

Emma in Lola&Lykke Postpartum Support Band

As it’s August, and our Breastfeeding Month, I’d love to hear more about your decisions on feeding Sloane – and if/how that differs from how you thought about breastfeeding before you had Grayson! Many mums change tactics or have completely different experiences with different babies, how is your journey with these two shaping out to be?

Breastfeeding is amazing, it’s the best thing in the world, the cuddles, the bonding, the love, it’s what is best for your baby.

That’s what you get told before you have your baby. Every single midwife appointment! Is this why so many of us feel pressured in to doing it? Is it why we have this perfect scenario in our heads of how perfect and magical breastfeeding is going to be? Is this why we are so heartbroken when it doesn’t work out that way? Why we feel like we have failed to not get to 1 month, 6 months or a year?

Breastfeeding can be so beautiful, if it works for both mother and baby. But that isn’t always the case! It can also be mentally and physically draining for some mothers. It can also be so god dam painful too.

I have breastfed both my kids, and both have been 2 totally different experiences!

With Grayson we managed 6 weeks. 6 slow, draining painful weeks! He latched perfect, he fed great we had no problems but my goodness he was a hungry boy and I physically and mentally couldn’t keep up with his demands! I literally sat and cried one day because I got up one morning with him and hadn’t moved off the couch all day because he was literally attached to me the whole time! I remember my partner came home, I cried, handed him the baby, and went in the shower, sat on the floor and cried some more! 

I was so uneducated I thought it would be easy. I didn’t know about expressing to help my supply, I didn’t know about the cluster feeding... I knew nothing! As far as I was aware, I got my boob out and he fed and that was it. Nobody told me about top ups using formula to help give me a break. As far as I was aware it was breast or bottle not a mix of the 2.

I reached out to support groups and cafes local to me for help and as much as it helped a little I still felt that it was so pushed “breast is best, just keep pushing on it gets easier.”

I literally couldn’t see it getting any easier. We where going on 4 days of non stop constant feeding. I couldn’t take much more.

When we stopped at 6 weeks I sobbed for days and days because I felt like I had failed. I failed to get to 6 months. But as soon as we moved him on to formula, oh my was he a different baby. I relaxed too. I enjoyed the newborn stage a lot more as well. I enjoyed him more. For us this is what we needed to do. And you know what, it’s ok!

Emma and her son Grayson

Second time round I was determined to get to my 6 month target!

I had done loads of research looked up on combi feeding, looked into pumps to help with my supply, I felt confident and I felt like I knew what I was doing.

We got off to an amazing start. The latch was great, I felt confident feeding, my milk came in really quick. I literally thought I had this in the bag.

As the days went on, I started to get sore, I could see she wasn’t latching right, something didn’t feel right. I started to cry again - damn hormones - because I though we where going down the same road as before.

She was unlatching loads, I was constantly feeding even though I felt like she had a good feed. I could see she was getting loads of milk because she was gulping it down and she put on 8oz in 4 days - yes I was impressed with that! Go boobies!

I started to stress out. I was feeling rubbish. 

We tried every single position in the book. I was watching countless YouTube videos about what to do to get a better latch, I was expressing so much because my nipples needed a break and giving her a bottle was like a boob holiday. Thank goodness for the Lola&Lykke pump!

I could feel the pain and the bad latch getting me down. In the back of my mind I was scared postnatal depression would creep in. The fact I was unhappy and putting on a brave face because I didn’t want to look like a failure, made it harder to enjoy the feeding. The fact she was unhappy too because she wasn’t getting enough cause of her latch, made her cranky and unsettled and constantly feeding. I felt trapped, I felt like I was letting my toddler down he wanted his mum to play with him and I couldn’t because I was being used as a feeding machine. Blippi became a parent during the day because I couldn’t play with him when I had a screaming newborn getting frustrated on the boob and needing more milk.

So we stopped - breastfeeding took a toll on my mental health, my toddler suffered and didn’t have his mum and my newborn was miserable! And you know what….that’s ok! Again I was able to give my kids all the goodness at the start, things just didn’t go the way we wanted and that’s ok. We fed exclusively for 5 weeks and I am proud of us for that. Albeit a bit heartbroken…but trust me this wasn’t a decision I took lightly.

Emma shares her motherhood journey on Instagram at @itsemmagray_

We started formula, and she has been a settled baby, I’ve been able to have some time to actually play with my toddler and make him feel like he has a mum again. He’s happier, she is happier and so am I!

I think it’s really important that we normalise the fact that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone! No matter what the reason is because at the end of the day…

A fed baby is a happy baby! 

Oxytocin, being released while baby is on your chest (on breast or bottle), can also make you feel sleepy with other hormones. How do you cope with being tired all the time? Do you have any tips and tricks that work for you to help with some of that sleepiness?

Oh goodness the tiredness! You quickly forget how hard those newborn days are. The lack of sleep... The crying (from all parties)... It’s hard!

I am a massive caffeine junkie so I find coffee gets me through. And if I can, getting up and doing something, be it put a wash on or doing the dishes, just doing something helped me stay awake! Grayson no longer naps during the day, so doing the whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” isn’t possible now for us. But when I had Grayson I made sure to sleep. Even if it was on the couch for 20 minutes it helped just to get through the rest of the day. I do nightshift as a carer so I’ve sort of gotten used to the whole 36 hour days with little to no sleep and being fuelled by caffeine while running about after a toddler.

So this is kind of like second nature to me haha!

What was your experience using our Smart Electric Breast Pump, and has it been helpful with your routine?

The pump has been super helpful! 

I was expressing so that John could help with the feeds so I could rest! And because of Sloane’s bad latch due to her lip tie, being able to give myself a break to recover a bit before the next feed was so good. The pump itself was super lightweight it was easy to pump while playing with Grayson or doing some chores around the house. I found it had some great power behind it too and I was able to get a good few oz just from one breast. I actually really enjoyed using it and it allowed me to get a good supply in the freezer so even though we have stopped breastfeeding I still have some milk there that we can use.

Emma is pumping with Lola&lykke Smart Electric Breast Pump

Lastly, do you have any advice for breastfeeding / pumping mamas? Maybe something you wish you’ve known, or useful tools?

No real advise but just don’t put too much pressure on yourself! Take each feed as it comes and if you do 1 day, 1 month, 3 months or whatever just know that you have given your baby your best! And swapping to formula or exclusively pumping and using a bottle isn’t a bad thing. As long as you are happy, baby is happy and their tummy is full, that is all that matters.

You are a total rock star already by doing what you are doing! You got this! Xx 

Love Emma x 

 

Thank you, Emma, for sharing your story. We’d love to hear from all our mums about their baby journey! If you’d like to share, get in touch with info@lolalykke.com and let’s get your story out there!

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