They lifted my baby behind the c-section curtain, and I saw him for the first time. I'll never forget that beautiful moment. My voyage into motherhood began with Tyler, and it was marked by a significant hurdle - the struggle to breastfeed.
I was informed that giving birth naturally would be impossible due to my baby's size, a statement I would later come to understand was inaccurate. At 38 weeks, he weighed 3.5kg, yet I believed the advice of the Obstetrician who assisted me. I agreed to a planned C-section, and everything went smoothly until I attempted to breastfeed him. The epidural had an impact on my baby's ability to suck effectively during those early days, which affected my milk production. However, I wasn't aware of this connection at the time. I received no support or guidance, and my knowledge about breastfeeding was virtually non-existent.
I had a preconceived notion that the process of breastfeeding would be effortless. Many new mothers believe that breastfeeding is an automatic skill for both the baby and the mother. However, most of us come to the realization that breastfeeding is a learned skill and that we require knowledge, practice, and support to ensure it happens successfully.
I struggled to get him to latch, convinced I wasn't producing enough milk. In desperation, I started pumping to measure my milk output, and this decision led to a downward spiral. I ended up experiencing postpartum depression because I felt like a failure. I assumed I was incapable of producing sufficient milk, ignorant of the need for direct baby-breast interaction to stimulate milk production.
After about two months of trying while supplementing, I gave up, feeling inadequate as a woman and a mother. I yearned to understand why I couldn't produce enough milk but found no substantial online support; this was almost 16 years ago - back then, there was little breastfeeding support online.
The Beginning of Breastfeeding-problems.com
My breastfeeding struggle with Tyler was the initial reason I established this website in 2009. After extensive research, I realized there was nothing inherently wrong with me; it was the lack of information that caused my breastfeeding issues. I was determined to make breastfeeding work with my second child.
This website was born out of a desire to help myself and other mothers facing breastfeeding challenges. I became increasingly passionate about breastfeeding as I read more and more about it and started blogging about it. The website made an impact on thousands of mothers every day, and the feedback I received was incredibly positive. It gave me an immense sense of purpose and also offered me a way to look after my children as a single mother for many years.
Finding out that a natural birth would offer the best opportunity for breastfeeding success with my second child, I opted for a Vaginal Birth After C-Section (VBAC) and aspired to have a water home birth. Despite facing opposition from my doctor, I found the only supportive midwife and doula in South Africa willing to assist with a VBAC birth at home - Sue King. I am deeply thankful for the late Sue King, a fierce advocate for women's rights to choose where and how they gave birth.
My labor began two days earlier than expected, and when Sue arrived, I was already 9cm dilated. The unmedicated birth lasted only six hours, and I remained calm with the help of my doula, who kept telling me to breathe. Although incredibly painful during contractions, Lisa's birth was also the most tranquil and empowering experience of my life.
Breastfeeding presented no issues this time around. Thanks to all my research, I knew exactly what to do. I breastfed her up until the second year. Lisa is 12 now and an extraordinary soul. She is my sweet princess, who, through her birth, taught me the beauty of surrender and helped me recognize my innate femininity and strength.
What a joy it is to embrace motherhood, and what an incredible journey it has been. Struggling to breastfeed my first child, Tyler, was a testing experience that imparted valuable life lessons. With knowledge and empowerment, I became a breastfeeding advocate. This journey connected me with other mothers, fostering a sense of community, and taught me to embrace imperfection, understanding that parenthood is a continual process of learning and growth.
I learned to be kinder to myself. I discovered the importance of self-compassion and recognizing that every mother's journey is unique.
Following Lisa's birth, I pursued a certification as a breastfeeding counselor through Childbirth International. I completed all the written exams with high marks, but regrettably, I couldn't allocate time for the practical component. Over time, my passions shifted, and I developed a keen interest in nutrition. As a result, I recently completed my nutrition studies through the Nutrition Institute and am now a qualified nutrition coach.
I hope that my journey serves as an inspiration and a source of encouragement for others. I invite you to join our supportive community by connecting with us on the following platforms: