Guest blog by Rouba Urrutia from @little_raya_sunshine
Rouba contacted me a few days ago after my first World Breastfeeding Week post. She answered my call out to share stories, as so many of you amazing people have done this week. There was just something about this story that had me welling up. Rouba wanted to share her story, just in case there's anyone out there that is going through something similar. It's not a path that everyone wants to take, but it's such a positive story for anyone looking to head in the same direction. Enjoy! xx
Raya was born on the 15th May, and I knew that I wanted to breastfeed before having her. I was so passionate about it and thought it would be easy peasy if I was determined. I did so much research on latching while I was pregnant as I heard so many horror stories about how hard and painful it is. I had a great birth in 5.5 hrs and she latched on straight away. I had a nurse come in to help me at almost every feed while in hospital. My milk came in within 3 days and boy did it come. My boobs were huge and she fed well.
At 3 weeks old I attended my close friend's bridal shower and had pumped a bottle for my husband. I didn't take a pump with me, and by the time I got home they were so full. My girl wasn't hungry so it was another couple of hours before she fed. The next day, I woke up in agony, aches, fever and inflamed breasts. Mastitis had shown its ugly self.
I was put on antibiotics immediately and while it took me a couple of days to feel better, a blocked duct occurred as soon as I was well. As soon as that cleared I got another. It was bad. But the worst was yet to come. I began having regular blocked ducts every 3-4 days. There was maybe 1-2 days between rounds. It was bad. It continued for months. And so did mastitis. If I couldnt get rid of the blockage quick enough it would turn into Mastitis. Again and again it happened. Blocked duct, break, blocked duct, mastitis. I was in constant pain and misery for the first 4 months of my daughter's life. I got Mastitis 7 times during that time. I was in a dark hole of pain, isolation and trying not to give up. I had antibiotics 4 of those times.
I researched harder than the FBI for a cure or a reason why this was happening. I saw 3 different lactation consultants (one fo which was a highly regarded GP too) and spent hundreds of dollars on ultrasound treatment to treat the blockages and Mastitis, but nothing helped. I got better at treating them but it continued. I never left my home as I needed to make sure my girl fed well, I had to be in awkward positions for her to feed off the infected breast, I needed to have several hot showers a day to make the blockages or affected areas tender before feeding. I was down and out. By mastitis no. 7, I went to a GP and demanded the tablet to stop my milk. She reluctantly gave it to me while I still had Mastitis and on antibiotics.
I took it that night but it was the hardest decision that Ive ever had to make. It wasnt easy. I cried when I took it and I cried when I gave my girl her first bottle of formula. I didnt b/f her the next day and cried at every bottle feed. I was so sad, so unhappy, so ashamed and no matter what anyone told me I felt sooo upset that I couldn't breastfeed anymore. I cried for days. I was so sad and depressed. I can't explain the sadnness that I felt but it was the same when my father passed away. I know that sounds so silly, but thats how I felt. Thats what I compare it to. I cried like somebody died. I later read that women can get depressed when finishing breastfeeding and this is what I think I went through.
I called the breastfeeding Association hot line. I had an idea. What if I could relactate? I had heard of people doing it but didn't know what was involved. They gave me hope. They made me smile for the first time in days. I was thrilled with the possibility of breastfeeding again. They gave me so many tips and ways to help relactatation. I got off the phone and ran to my husband telling him my new plan. He was so supportive. I got online and bought a Madela Supplement Nursing System (SNS) and hired myself a hospital grade double pump. Paid for express shipping. The next day it began.
I cried tears of joy when those first drops of milk came, and I showed my husband like I had just won gold at the Olympics. I pumped every 2-3 hours during the day and 4-5 hours at night. It was exhausting. I still cried when it was in the middle of the night and I had only slept for 3 hrs. I doubted myself so many times and everybody around me (except hubby & my amazing mothers group) thought I was crazy and told me to give it up. I took my small pump everywhere I went so I didn't miss a pump. I would feed her through the SNS then a bottle. She started refusing the SNS and only wanted the bottle so I gave her expressed milk first then formula. I was on the phone every single day to the amazing volunteers at the Australian Breastfeeding Association for guidance and support. They gave me the strength to continue and push through all the hurdles.
This all went on for 5 weeks of pumping around the clock, 24 hours a day. By 5 weeks I had a full supply and my girl didn't need formula anymore, but she refused the breast, the bottle was just easier. Then one night when she was half asleep, I offered her my breast and she took it! I couldn't believe it! I cried (of course lol) tears of joy! It finally happened. The next day I only offered her the breast and she took it all day. That was it, not a single bottle after that. I had successfully relactated. I continued to breastfeed her during my 2nd pregnancy and she had her last feed at 21 months old. The day before I gave birth to my 2nd daughter Ava. I am still breastfeeding Ava at 17 months old.
Behind the blog...
‘The Mummysomniac’ is a lifestyle, motherhood and most recently, pregnancy blog, founded in 2015 by Kirsty McKenzie. She’s a mum of three, blogging about the highs and lows of motherhood, with a straight forward and honest approach, as well as a little bit of humour. Kirsty is passionate about sharing the realities of #MumLife, not the cookie cutter, high gloss version