Saturday, 13 January 2018

My Breastfeeding Journey

My breastfeeding journey never really started if I'm completely honest, a decision that has made me feel guilty since Joshua was switched to formula. Guilty, because breast is best is rammed down your throat from the minute you step into your dating appointment. Guilty, because I was so clueless when it came to choosing formula. Guilty, because the Government are more focused on pushing breastfeeding than it is on helping and educating people on fed is best. I wrote a post called 10 Thoughts I've Had About Breastfeeding and I wish I'd re-read this at the time and remembered what I'd said. 

From the get go, I said I wanted to breastfeed. I knew the benefits and I knew how amazing the female body was to be able to do such a thing, I wanted our son to have the best start to life imaginable and because of the completely one sided initiative, I almost put too much pressure on myself to breastfeed even though I told everyone around me I wouldn't let it get to me. I think the one comment that always stuck in my mind was at my dating appointment which was "Well, we prefer all mothers to breastfeed". My response was "I'll do whatever works, fed is better than nothing" and I wish I'd stuck to that and told anyone that said different where to go.

Joshua's birth was traumatic and probably one of the worst experiences of my life, something I am not ready to talk about to anyone but it was that coupled with unhelpful and careless midwives at the Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton that ultimately finished my journey before it even started. I was too unwell to feed Joshua straight away and he didn't feed until four hours after his birth when a midwife fed him with formula by syringe in a corner away from me. I wish I had been well enough to tell her to show Arran what to do and get him involved but that never happened. She kept our newborn son away from us and that was the beginning of a catalogue of errors and negligence. I never once had skin to skin, even after asking for it, asking for someone to help me sit up and enable me to do it. Skin to skin was one thing I was so, so set on in my maternity notes but they wouldn't help.

Later that afternoon, I was eventually able to hold and begin to feed him myself but did anyone help? No. I continually asked for help to breastfeed but I just kept being told to put him under my arm and hold him to latch which was incredibly painful and difficult due to the emergency caesarean. My parents came to visit us that evening and instead of being able to meet their grandson properly for the first time, my mum spent the hour trying to get Joshua to latch and feed after still not being helped on the ward.

That night was the worst night because he just cried and cried, he was hungry and I couldn't do anything to help. A midwife came to see what the problem was and instead of helping me to feed him, stood there and said I could hand express, another thing I didn't know how to do and numerous midwives wouldn't help me with, or that she could get formula and a syringe if needed. No help of latching or checking if he was okay. Nothing.

He wasn't latching and he wasn't feeding and the following day when I asked for help again, the ward sister in charge for the day told me that they didn't have the time and I'd just have to do it myself before walking away, ignoring my cries for help. A health care assistant overheard this conversation and told me that there was a maternity service within the hospital called Breastfeeding Babes, a service that helps with breastfeeding and that she would get the woman who ran it to come and speak to me. While waiting for the woman to come and speak to me I was given a leaflet, as they seem to do with everything, to read while I battled on that morning trying to feed.

I managed to finally get him to latch, for a cleaner to then come round and tell me I needed to get out of bed because she needed to change the bed, I said no and she said again how she needed to change the bed sheets then came behind the drawn curtains, stood by the head of the bed and commented on me breastfeeding. I just burst into tears. I felt like I was on show even though the curtains were closed for privacy. I wish I'd reported her there and then but I didn't have the energy. Every moment on that ward that I wasn't helped and just cast aside, chipped away at me.

While all this was going on Joshua was barely getting enough milk, something that no one on the ward seemed to give a toss about. Instead of helping me, they just supplied formula and a syringe, and I was just left to get on with it and hope I was doing it correctly. Out of all the midwives I asked for help, there was only one that sat with me for an hour one morning and helped me feed him. 

Once I had the feeling back in my legs the next day after the epidural, I had to walk the length of the hospital and down two floors while wheeling Joshua with no help to get to the Breastfeeding Babes room so I could feed my two day old baby. I lasted ten minutes in the room before I nearly collapsed and ended up being wheeled back to the ward where once again I ended up back to square one and not being able to feed properly. Joshua was screaming through hunger and frustration and I was in agony. The second night I was so tired and frustrated through lack of help and care that I broke down and cried while trying to feed him again. A midwife came to check on me and instead of helping, gave me the post natal depression chat at 4.30am even after I told her I was struggling to feed. The following morning I had had enough of the lack of care, neglect and ignorance of the midwives that I pushed and pushed for discharge. A discharge that was actually unsafe, not that they cared. 

I was sent home at 11pm with a baby I couldn't feed. A baby that was hungry and severely dehydrated. A baby that they incorrectly wrote on my notes was happy, feeding and latching well and was progressing normally. That night, he had his first proper bottle of formula, I sat and cried, repeatedly apologising to him because I couldn't feed him. My first home visit from a midwife went slightly better but by this point we were advised to combination feed because of how dehydrated Joshua was. My milk did come in but with the ongoing battle to feed Joshua, I barely got my supply up.

I wouldn't feed him with the formula myself, I couldn't. I felt like I was letting him down so much through the pressure I experienced at every turn when making the decision on how to feed him during my pregnancy. Arran fed him the majority of the time because I just couldn't I was so disappointed in myself. We only saw my parents and my sister for the first two weeks and if anyone else wanted to feed him, I jumped at the chance and let them. I could probably count on one hand how many times I fed him those first two weeks with formula. I just couldn't do it.

I began to express with my Medela Swing Maxi Double Pump, feeding Joshua with the expressed milk made me feel slightly better as it was mine, I could feed him with that but I was just getting an oz from each breast so he had formula to top up. I was so disheartened and so, so hard on myself. The Medela pump was the only thing that made the whole experience that little bit easier. It was easy to put together, even easier to use and comfortable. Did I feel like a milk cow? Yes but I was finally able to feed my son myself even if it was the tiniest amount, it was something. I was feeding him.  

Three days later I was back in hospital with a severe infection in my section wound, I was told I couldn't breastfeed with the antibiotics I had to take and as I was already part feeding with formula I shouldn't find it too hard to switch over. It was probably a good job I was unwell otherwise I would've flipped at that comment from the nurse in the day unit on labour ward. With no more advice on breastfeeding or how I could lower my supply properly to prevent mastitis and engorgement, I was sent away to Google what I needed to know. A couple of weeks later it turned out the information I was given that night was false and the antibiotics I was given were fine to take while breastfeeding and I didn't have to stop. By this point, my milk had all but dried up and Joshua wasn't interested. I was devastated.

My journey was practically ruined before it had started by the people that were meant to help me, people that were meant to care and advise, people that I am told I should be thankful for. People that so regularly pushed breast is best upon me. People that have let me down so severely in more ways than one.

The Medela Swing Maxi Double Pump sent as press sample - see disclaimer.


  1. Oh Alice I just don’t even really know what to say - I felt so sad reading this post and sorry to hear of your experiences. Having a baby is so stressful and hard and I can’t imagine how it was going through everything you did. I really don’t like the way there is so much pressure on mums-to-be for the “breast is best” initiative. As long as baby is happy, well, and fed that should be all that matters - that’s what I think!

    Joshua is such a cutie and you are doing such an amazing job as a new mum!

    Jackie O xo

  2. I’m so sorry you had such a bad experience, it’s these that they neglect to tell you when you are pregnant, you are told time and again how ‘easy’ it is but they forget that not everyone can do it, I had a similar experience with my first born which put me off breastfeeding my further two children because I didn’t want the stress, the pain or the tears.. it isn’t worth it and I wish it’s talked about more and those who have problems aren’t made to feel like a failure because they didn’t do the ‘most natural thing’ fed is best hands down! Please don’t feel upset about it.. he is a happy heathy little boy regardless of how he is fed and you should be proud of that xx

  3. oh Alice. My heart is actually ACHING for you. None of this should have ever happened, at all. Although I believe breast is best, I firmly believe they should be more realistic about the reality of breastfeeding, and how it isn't as all natural easy as you would typically expect. Women struggle all the time, it isn't a walk in the park, its TOUGH! Babies who are born via section do tend to need more help, you should have been helped and supported, little Joshua should have been placed on you for lots of skin to skin, you should have had help and support for feeds, you should have been encouraged and helped when you asked for it, you should have had a very clear involvement in feeding with him, and explained what to look out for, different feeding positions so it doesn't help your scar, I could sit all day here saying everything that should have happened. It upsets me to see your hospital doesn't have volunteers and support workers to help. It's SO important, and the last thing a new Mum ever needs is to feel that way. It just shows what the NHS cuts are doing now, its horrible :( It's part of the reason why I do it. Because exactly the same thing happened with my son, and I want to ensure no Mum feels guilty over feeding. Sometimes breast isn't always the best option for Mum & Baby, but with the right support it should be achievable. I'm really sorry lovely. But Joshua is growing now, he is getting big and strong, so DO NOT feel guilty over feeding. A growing happy healthy baby is ALL that matters! :)

    Erin || MakeErinOver

  4. This post almost had me in tears! What an awful time for you and your brand new family! Your baby is so happy and healthy so keep doing you!

  5. Oh Alice, this is the most heartbreaking thing I've read. I'm so sorry that you had to go through that and the lack of care you received when you had Joshua.

    It seems to be a wide spread problem and I think the lack of experience and job pressures are just putting too much strain on the health system these days.

    I have to say fortunately I was lucky when I had my two to be supported externally. I really hope that you never have to experience that kind of trauma again and you know that I am always here for a chat if needed.

    Emma xxx

  6. It breaks my heart that this happened to you and I don’t even know you but as a fellow Mum i am so so sorry this happened. Although my experience was different I can relate to you in the fact that the medical staff on my maternity ward were absolutely shocking and had no interest in making sure I could feed my baby and let me go home with a jaundice baby (not diagnosed until a few days later when he was still struggling to feed and losing way too much weight). I felt so helpless and frightened that night in hospital where they make your loved one go home and leave you absolutely exhausted and out of your mind with worry. There’s such a lack of support for new mums that have just given birth and breastfeeding support is pretty appalling in some areas. I ended up having to go on children’s ward with my son and thankfully there I was able to express and cup feed until his jaundice went and he was able to latch. I wouldn’t have known to do that if it wasn’t for the nurse on the children’s ward because the ones on the maternity ward and my midwife didn’t bother to show me even after asking for help. Anyway I’m rambling but what I wanted to say really is that you did and are doing your absolutely best for Joshua and I think you’re amazing for getting through this as you have. You are so right in saying FED is BEST and although I have written posts on my blog about my breastfeeding experience, fed is best is something I truly believe in and have always stressed within the posts. Well done for being brave enough to do this post xx

  7. I am so sorry that you had such a shit experience. It's hard enough being a first time mum left on your own in hospital without added pressure and upset. I was pushed to try breastfeeding (which I had planned to do anyway) but I wasn't producing enough - a nurse tried hand expressing me (such a weird experience) and I swear just a single drop came out in 20 minutes. Jenson was hungry and losing weight and I was warned that he'd soon have to be tube fed. I was in a separate room because he was crying so much and disturbing everyone else, crying because I was so overwhelmed and made the decision to switch to formula because he was also jaundiced. The guilt I felt because of it was ridiculous. I really do think they should be pushing fed is best and do more to support mums who wanted to breastfeed but couldn't because their mental health could suffer as a result.

  8. Oh Alice, I’m so so sorry you had to go through all this. I don’t have children yet myself and I know it’s not going to be a piece of cake but it should be a happy experience and time for you to bond with your new baby. It’s shocking that no one helped you with anything and yes I know the NHS is stretched thin but it doesn’t excuse the lack of basic care and assistance which has nothing to do with money. I’m glad that despite all this Joshua is doing well, he is a gorgeous little baby boy. X

  9. This sounds like such a sad experience. It's the worst when the people we're supposed to trust and are there to help let us down.
    It's not the same at all but I remember when my sister was bought home for the first time. She wouldn't latch and my mum didn't know what to do, she wasn't told either. My sister cried all night long, and just one night of that had us all tired and distraught, so I can't imagine what it was like for you, I'm so sorry.
    We eventually managed to get a midwife appointment and they told my mum that bottle feed is better than no feed at all, I don't think I've ever seen a baby drink that much. My mum gave up on the breastfeeding too after that as my sister just wasn't interested at all.
    It scares me that the NHS/nurses/midwives were no help at all to you. But you did the best you could and your baby is beautiful and healthy, you should be so so proud of yourself for that xxxxxxx

  10. I am so sad and disgusted that you had to go through this Alice. I struggled with breastfeeding too and eventually switched to formula as it was easier for me and painless. It’s not as easy as others would expect. It’s bloody tough! It is annoying that we get shoved the whole ‘breast is best’ statement down our throats. While yes, I suppose it is best, both of my boys have turned out happy and healthy. I really wish you’d had been cared for so much better! It’s what every new mother deserves and needs. Despite all the trauma of the C section and the lack of care you got, you are honestly one of the most strongest women I know, and I’m so proud of you for getting past that horrible time in your life. Joshua is so so lucky to have you and Arran as parents! Xxx

  11. Just to add this hospital does have breastfeeding volunteers provided by the NCT, however due to lack of funding a lot of their training for breastfeeding support has been cut leading to less volunteers. They are trying to send volunteers in as much as they can but are in a difficult position. Even the funding for the Breastfeeding Babes has been so dramatically cut that their hours are so limited (this wasn’t the case 6 years ago when I had my first at this hospital). This really is NHS and local authority cuts in action, don’t even get me started on the sure start cuts in Southampton and Hampshire!

  12. Oh Alice, my heart is breaking for you and your family to read your story. I can't believe how let down you were and how no one took the time to help you. I know the NHS is stretched to the max, but surely they'd want to ensure you and Joshua were doing okay so that you didn't have the need to be readmitted in the future.
    I'm so, so angry for you and I wish I could have been there to help and drop in my hospital knowledge on the ward.

    PS Fuck the breast is best brigade xxxxxxxxx

    Golly Miss Holly

  13. I feel so sorry for you. It’s disgusting how they treated you. When my sister had her child she wanted to breastfeed but the midwives bottle feed him when she was sleeping.

  14. In complete tears reading this Alice. Although my care from midwives was quite good and they helped with the breastfeeding, I just couldn’t do it. It broke my heart the first time I bottle fed him, I also was just apologising to him over and over whilst my tears dropped on his sleepsuit. I felt like a failure. I was never told during pregnancy how tough breastfeeding was going to be and how it doesn’t just ‘work’ straight away. I couldn’t get him to latch, the midwife could with cupping my breast and so could my partner. But I couldn’t hold him and my breast to guide it correctly in. Hurts my heart still thinking about how I have let him down as his mother. Although I know he’s happy with his formula and he is fed, I just feel like it should be me and my body making him fed and happy, not some bottle.
    Much love, Caitylis x x

  15. Alice, I’m so heartbroken reading this. You are such a strong women and I know you’ll always do what’s best for your baby. The fact you care so much shows how amazing you are, you didn’t want to quit. Joshua is lucky to have such loving parents. Keep doing you, you’re fab and your little boy is gorgeous xxx

  16. It's so sad that you suffered that much, Alice! Seriously how can one person be failed so much :(

    All that matters now is that Joshua is happy and healthy. Concentrate on you guys. Don't beat yourself up because you think you failed. You're doing the most amazing job of raising Joshua already, just remember that <3

    My breast feeding experience was rubbish too. I had decided that I at least wanted to try. I wanted to give it a go and place no pressure on myself.
    So when Carter arrived, midwife asked if I wanted to breast feed or bottle feed. I said I was hoping to try breast feeding... From there on I assumed I'd get help. Nope. She placed him on my chest and told me that he should find his way to my boob. Which is fair enough, I know that's what they do. She then told me to let her know when he had latched. Now, I've never breastfed before so how the hell was I to know what latching felt like? Anyway about half an hour in I said "I think he's latched but I'm not sure?" at which point you would assume she'd come in and have a good check, you know, to make sure this newborn child was getting the food it needed. Nope, instead she looked over, said "Yep, looks good" and then carried on writing her notes. It turns out he hadn't latched and I ended up with a giant bruise on my nipple.
    When she came back into the room we asked her what I should be doing and were basically just looking for some help, because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing! She told us to just keep trying... That was it. Not once did she touch him to try and get him into a better position for me. She didn't suggest a way of encouraging him to my nipple. No information on how or when he should be feeding.

    I gave birth to Carter at 00:45, and by 5:30 we were in the car on the way home. I tried a few more times but he was so sleepy and I had no idea, it just wasn't working for us. When the health visitor called at 11 that morning, I mentioned that he hadn't had a feed yet and panic began. She was so shocked that my midwife had sent me home without witnessing a full feed. We needed to get him fed as soon as possible so she was sending another health visitor over immediately. About an hour later, after finding out that I had quite flat nipples (sorry Carter!) and he just wasn't one for finding milk, we decided to move to formula. Luckily I was always of the mind that I would *try* breast feeding and I would never apply lots of pressure to making it work. But I never ever thought that my midwife would be the one who failed to help me. I was always told that midwives were amazing and would give you as much help as you needed. But no, mine sent us home within 6 hours of labour knowing full well my newborn son hadn't had a single feed :(

  17. Oh Alice, I'm so sorry you've had to go through this. I admire you so much for the resilience you've shown throughout all of this hellish shite though.

    Joshua is growing into the handsomeist, happiest little babba ever and you're doing amazingly. He loves you unconditionally and all that matters is that you're both healthy & happy - so fuck the hospital, fuck everyone who didn't help you & take care of yourself.

    Nikki xxxx

    Lovelaughslipstick ♥

  18. Oh Alice, I am so sorry you had such terrible care when you were most vulnerable. They should not have treated you like that at all. I had a similar experience with breastfeeding help in hospital, or the lack of, shall I say. I had a natural birth but was whisked off for emergency removal of my placenta minutes after my first baby was born. I was completely fucked from that and even forgot I had a baby, i lost a lot of blood, needed a transfusion and my baby had a hole in her heart. She was tiny, at only 5lbs 13oz and could not latch. I had no idea what I was doing and no one helped me, the most help I got was a midwife plonking my nipple back in Eloises mouth and then flouncing off again or telling me to give up and feed formula. I asked for help so, so many times to the point they didn't answer my bell because they were clearly pissed off at me (I was a teen mum first time around and felt like they treated me badly because of this too) (I also couldn't move for over a day because I had to have a spinal) and I left hospital in agony and ended up with PND. I hear so many ladies share stories similar to this and it breaks my heart. Joshua is happy and healthy and please do not feel bad about not breastfeeding. It doesn't matter where the milk comes, you are doing amazingly and you are one heck of a mama. Breast isn't best, you are.

    Gee x

  19. Love you so much. I'm so sad, and so sorry you experienced this, at a time that should have been so special for you. I admire you so much for sharing this, but I'm so sorry how badly you were let down.
    I ended up going to numerous breastfeeding clinics, while the staff were great during labour, once Dougie was born they all just disappeared. I had no idea what I was doing and I was completely shocked at how little anyone seemed to care.
    You're amazing, and Joshua loves you completely and utterly.
    Hels xxx

  20. This breaks my heart to read, especially since I received such amazing care from my midwives when I was pregnant and during my birth but I do agree that there isn't enough breastfeeding support for new Mums.

    My little girl wouldn't latch whilst in the hospital and just because she slept so much when she was first born they let me go home, but once I was home and she was hungry I had no clue what to do. I spent hours trying to get Ellie to latch on with no luck. The first few days were horrendous and I didn't have my breast pump yet (due to going into labour early), midwives and health visitors came to visit and just because I'd given her formula to fill her while she wouldn't latch they refused to help me any further. Then when my breast pump arrived I wasn't producing enough to fill her.

    It broke my heart (and still does) to think I wasn't able to do what my body was fully capable of all because people who are there to help wouldn't.

    Katie x

  21. Oh Alice I can't tell you how upset this makes me - I can't even believe how terribly you were treated by the hospital. Sure the NHS wre struggling but nobody even seemed to have made the effort they should have. You both are doing an amazing job and Joshua has the best parents ever and is such a happy bubba - and that's all that matters xxxx

  22. Alice, I felt so sad reading this. You are doing an amazing job and it's so clear how much you love and adore your son. Him being happy and loved is the most important thing and you are doing incredible.
    Take Care Sweetie.
    Fay Louise

  23. I am so so sorry with what you went through with breastfeeding.
    As women we are expected to just know what to do when it comes to having a baby but in reality it just isn't that easy. We need help & that is what our nurses & doctors should be doing - helping you to help your baby rather than leaving you on your own.
    No new mother needs that & my heart really aches for you.
    Even if you couldn't breastfeed like you wanted to you are doing an amazing job as a new mum & you're doing the best you can. Try not to be too hard on yourself!

    Love Megan x

  24. I'm absolutely raging for/with you on this one, and I'm angry that you had to go through this. I'm stunned at the lack of care you were given, and I'm just so so relieved that you and Joshua are healthy now. I hope the alternative milk you've got for him continues to keep him happy!

    Sending lots of love

    Steph -

  25. I could have written chunks of this myself, it’s honestly so upsetting to hear how similar your experience was despite us being in different parts of the country. And I’ve heard similar from so many others. I’ve had a horrendous time since with PND and attribute some of that to the way we were treated with the breastfeeding situation in hospital. I also had an infection afterwards (which was missed in hospital) and a traumatic birth, sadly it seems this is common and it’s not good enough. Whilst aspects were out of anyone’s control a lot could have been done to change the situation. I ended up with mastitis too which really added insult to injury and was the final straw where I stopped trying to express. I struggled so much having to give up with breastfeeding and reading this reminded me of that, but honestly I feel zero guilt now. I can’t believe how it’s handled and think it’s no wonder the UK has such low rates. Our babies are clearly thriving and that’s all that matters. Joshua is gourgeus and you’re obviously a natural. I feel I’ve been robbed of the first at least 6 weeks of my babies life and an experience which should have been so enjoyable, but I know we’ve got a lifetime together. With that said it’s so hard not to be angry and your last paragraph articulates how I feel perfectly. X

  26. My heart breaks reading this I am so sorry you had to experience such awful negligence, it is totally unacceptable and I actually felt angry reading this that no one provided the help and support you needed and deserved. I am glad you and Joshua are okay and doing well you deserve a medal for going through all of this. All my love xx

  27. I totally understand the situation you're in - Ava is combination feeding as she just wouldn't latch on to start with and it broke my heart giving her formula. But the fact that you tried so hard to get Joshua breastfed and focused on what's best for him shows how great a mother you are

  28. First of all I am so sorry this was your experience. The birth of your child is meant to be an amazing experience.
    Second of all I would still go back and make an official complaint.
    That cleaner has no right to enter your room let alone come behind the curtain WITHOUT your permission! She was invading your privacy!
    You should have in no way been allowed let alone made to walk to the breastfeeding clinic after having MAJOR surgery!!
    The hospital isn't mean to allow you to leave the hospital without seeing your baby feeding properly!
    I'm fuming on your behalf!
    I hope your all doing ok now xx

  29. This is disgusting but unfortunately far too common - I've heard of people having similar horror stories which is why I'm not putting any pressure on myself about feeding. I'm so sorry you've had to go through such hell xxx

  30. So sad that you had to go through this sadly my story is pretty much the same and I believe it contributed to my post natal depression. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, Edward was screaming through hunger and no one would help me only one midwife was particularly helpful on the ward but she had other ladies to look after during the night and couldn’t sit with just me trying to make him feed. Your totally right fed is best. No matter if breast or bottle and just remember your doing amazing xxx

  31. Oh Alice, I am so sorry you had this horrible time and that the nurses and midwives let you down so badly.
    You have to do the best for you and Joshua - he looks like a lovely happy boy.

  32. Alice I am so so sorry to read this and the awful experience that you have had, I knew you’d had a rough time with the NHS but didn’t know the extent. Despite everything you should be so proud of yourself, Joshua is absolutely beautiful and looks like such a happy baby. My mum always said that ‘’mothers Instinct’ - that you always do know what is best for your child. I’m so glad to hear he is feeling better on the new milk and it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, it’s what works best for you. You do you! Sending lots of love xxx

  33. I'm so sorry this happened to you! I can't believe they just left you like that! It's shocking! My friend had a premature baby and her experience was all to similar, which is so scary. Please don't feel bad for not being able to breast feed, especially if you never had the support. I'm still shocked they force breast is best but not actually help you achieve it. xx

  34. Oh no Alice! I’m sorry to hear you had such a bad time at this precious moment in your life. If my mum read this she would be so disappointed, she is a midwife and she is amazing at what she does and will always go that extra mile to help her ladies out. She does promote breast is best but she also respects women’s wishes and understands (having 3 children herself) that breastfeeding doesn’t always work and especially if women don’t get the help and education they need on it.
    Such a shame that your hospital were so uninterested in your journey to motherhood.
    From your Instagram feed you can clearly see Joshua looks happy and healthy and you are doing what you do best, being a mum! You’ve got this girl, and don’t ever feel like you’re on your own because you’re not. There’s always people here to support you and there’s other women that will have gone through what you have. Keep your chin up girl xx

  35. I'm really shocked at how badly you were treated! If they really think breast is best, then why didn't they help you? I am so angry on your behalf - God know how many others have been treated in this way!

    Please don't feel guilty - you did your very best for your baby and you just have to look at him to know he's thriving! xx


  36. Oh! This is so terrible! I was almost in tears reading this! They should be so ashamed to make people feel this way.

    You are doing amazing at motherhood Alice ❤️ Xx

  37. Oh Alice this is horrendous! I can’t believe this happened to you! It annoys me cuz it seems like everyone is reading from a script and not taking into account that everyone is different.

    You are doing a great job x

  38. Alice, I am absolutely livid you had to go through this. I wish you could make a complaint to the hospital because you was so mistreated it’s not even a joke. Please don’t feel bad about Joshua having to use formula now. I went through the same thing with my son not being able to latch on and when he did he was getting enough milk from my breast so I did what I felt was right and moved him onto formula. Thank you for sharing this post, as I hope it will help
    any expectant or any woman wanting to have children to know they should and deserve more help when it comes to breastfeeding.



  39. It pains me to read what an awful experience you had, I am so sorry. It is utterly disgusting and disrespectful the way you were treated and how you were both neglected, they should all be ashamed of themselves.

    It's sad that things didnt go to plan but thankfully Joshua is a healthy, gorgeous little boy.

    Steph x

  40. I became increasingly enraged as I read this. This is so unacceptable. (And I'm not going to lie, mental health gets similar treatment both in the UK and here, so... it's kinda personal, too.) I'm so freaking sorry for you. Just, gosh remember you have a beautiful little boy, and he's healthy and he gets to eat and THAT IS WHAT MATTERS.

    I was also thinking I know some people can like, artificially produce milk, but I don't know if that's an option for you or even something you want to put up with. I just know you take hormones and it can happen even if you're not pregnant, if that's ever something you want to deal with. Because you don't have to. That baby's going to be just fine if he's formula-fed. What matters most is how you raise him, how you treat him. Not what fucking milk goes in his body.

  41. Aww Alice, I am so sorry this has happened to you and you've been made to feel so rubbish about it all. Its the last thing you need when you've got a new baby and so much else is changing and different in your life. My sister was the exact same as you, ready to breastfeed but for her own personal circumstances including a terrible labour, a very poorly new born and mastitis she couldn't do it and was made to feel guilty every day by the very people who's job it is to support her without judgement. Its so awful but I would say the same as I still say to her - its your baby, you're the mother, you decide and do what you can to do what you think is best for you both. xxx

  42. It was so sad to read this; my own experience with the NHS maternity service wasn't great either, but admittedly wasn't half as bad as what you've written. I agree that the NHS force the 'breast is best' mantra on you and no one truly shows you how to do it? I wanted to breastfeed my son and after being in hospital for two days because breastfeeding wasn't flushing his kidneys like formula would, I was actually advised by 2 nurses and a Paediatric Consultant to formula-feed instead of breast? It's a huge contradiction! It looks like you're doing a great job with your little boy and where there's a horrible experience, there's 1000000 happy experiences to follow :)

  43. Alice this breaks my heart to read. It's such a crying shame that you've recieved such awful and unsupportive care from your team of staff at the hospital. You know I'm an advocate for the NHS but I can't stomach how badly you've been let down. The negligence of the whole situation needs to be raised in a formal way because this really isn't an acceptable level of care. What they've done to you isn't something they should be allowed to get away with and I am so sorry this has happened to you. I honestly feel so sad reading this that you've been so badly treated and so poorly let down. Always here for you, you know that xx

  44. Oh Alice this broke my heart. It's awful that you were treated that way, it is totally not acceptable. I am so so sorry this has happened to you and you didn't receive the support you and Joshua needed. It's such a shame because I truly believe in the NHS but I do think at times they need to treat things case by case instead of just rushing people off.

    Wishing you and your family all the best x

  45. I've read this post twice. The first time I was so angry that I couldn't comment, I couldn't believe that several people failed you in such a huge way and that no-one really seemed to care. You are a strong woman (not that this makes any of what happened, in any shape or form okay) so I know you and the bubba are going to be more than okay but my gosh what an utter shambles x

  46. This is such a terrible tale - Alice, you don't say if you have reported your experience to the hospital. They need to know. Easiest thing would be to copy your blog post, top and tail it with an intro and outro with your details, and send copies to the Infant Feeding Lead (there will be one), the Director of Midwifery, PALS, and the chair of the Maternity Voices partnership (often a lay person). Yes, there have been cuts to breastfeeding support services everywhere, but this does not begin to cover for the lack of help and info you had, and the poor care. Please do complain - your story is awful, but it's not unique by any means, and maternity units need to be confronted by the dreadful effects of their lack of care in order to change.

  47. Oh Alice this makes me feel for you so much! I can't even imagine how you must have been feeling through this. Hopefully if you ever decide to have a second child you'll have far better and more professional support rather than what sounds like an awful lack of consideration and information from the people who are supposed to be there for you! Alice xxx

  48. Wow this is horrible! I know things like this happen in SA alot, but I didn't know it happens overseas too. I'm so sorry for your experience. Don't feel guilty, you did the absolute best you could. And as long as you both are healthy, you have done and amazing job!

  49. Alice I am so sorry you had to go through this. This kinda thing makes me so angry and awful that you had to go through this as did baby Joshua. What an awful experience. Please don’t feel guilty, it is not your fault in the slightest and he’s the happiest baby ever. You’re an amazing momma you really are xxxxx

  50. You know what, Alice? You grew another human being and have kept him alive, fed and happy for three whole months. Nobody has the right to judge you. I'm so sorry the midwives and nurses failed you so catastrophically, and yours isn't the first story I've read like this. Thanks so much for sharing it. I hope somebody who is struggling as much as you did stumbles across it some day and realises she is not alone.

    Lis / last year's girl x

  51. I’m a nurse in a post partum unit in the U.S. and I’m appalled to hear your story and the complete lack of education, guidance, and support!! in my hospital we are SO focused on encouraging and teaching about breastfeeding. I’ve spent hours helping mothers and babies to latch, assessing latches, trying different positioning, encouraging the baby to suck, monitoring babies for dehydration and excessive weight loss, and calling lactation specialists to come help new mothers or mothers encountering challenges. It’s shocking To hear your experience!! Honestly some mothers would have probably sued the hospital for that kind of treatment. I’m so sorry!

  52. This is so heartbreaking. I’m sorry that you had such a horrendous experience. I can’t believe the neglect from the staff who are supposed to care and support.
    So awful.

  53. Babe I'm so proud of you with everything you've been through, it's such an incredibly hard decision to make when you have a choice but to choose and then have that taken away from you must have been difficult beyond belief. I can't believe you've been so let down by the NHS and your aftercare . its disgusting and I really hope that you can work on your PTSD and come through this stronger. Joshua is such a credit to you babe. xxx

  54. So sorry to read this. So many people approach breastfeeding as 'just put them on your boob and that's it'. It's incredibly difficult and not something anyone can do without sufficient support. Don't be hard on yourself, you tried and tried really hard, and that's something to be proud of. I'm glad to see Joshua is a happier baby now he's on the formula that he needs. I'm just gutted people have to go through experiences like this. I've said for nearly two years now there's no way I'd have been able to breastfeed without the specific support I received. I really hope things in your area improves for other mums.

  55. I'm so sorry that you had such a horrible experience and didn't get the support you needed. My sister also struggled with breastfeeding her first child as she felt so under prepared and ended up developing an infection after using her breast pump. She's ended up breast feeding just fine with her second two but there really should be more support for first time mothers. They can't expect everyone to know how to do this kind of thing from the offset. I wouldn't have a clue where to start!

  56. No mother should go through this. I'm so thankful to live in a country with free, very advanced healthcare, but we have a very low breastfeeding rate and with experiences like yours, no wonder! The hospital failed you, but you did not fail Joshua. I promise he will grow up healthy and happy because I was formula fed and I'm no different to anybody else!



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