“Postnatal women still exist during the holidays”

“Postnatal women still exist during the holidays”

During this holiday season, we received this letter from one of our users. Here we would like to share it in its full length, to shed light on postnatal experiences during the Christmas and New Year holiday seasons.

“It has now been a year since I first contacted the LactApp team. I did so to feel less alone, more than in the hope of solving my breastfeeding problems. 

My baby was one month old and had lost weight, 200 grams in the last week. After a horrible week for everyone at home, the baby crying non-stop and us in despair, not knowing why he was crying so much, we started with mixed feeding.

Breastfeeding was not going well; I was in pain and had low milk production “for unknown reasons”, according to the midwife at the health centre, an expert in lactation. There was no tongue-tie, and the latch was fine, even the breastfeeding technique was fine, but the pain and lumps persisted and also, after each feed, or after many of them, my baby was still hungry, so we had to supplement.

I couldn’t stop crying. We were in the middle of another wave of covid, and I was terrified that someone would come home and infect us. To make matters worse, my family got infected, so the few people we had contact with during those days stopped giving the little or lot of help they used to give: a container of food, the shopping.

The nights were full on, blank, with my baby glued to my breast, so I wouldn’t lose even more milk supply and because it was the only place where he was happy. I didn’t understand it. I was a first-time mom, and there were no other moms around me to set an example. I had bought into the idea of leaving them in their precious crib to sleep all night, and that was it; I hadn’t read about contact and attachment, but we were only a few centimetres apart! My partner supported me and never made me doubt of my ability, but the situation was beyond both of us.

And between mommy’s and baby’s cries, endless feeding sessions, bottles, tubes and syringes, sleepless nights, desperate and overwhelmed by the situation, with the rest of the family in Covid isolation and not knowing how to ask for help and if all that was really normal, came a situation that we did not expect: the Christmas holidays.

Our health centre closed. The nurse did not check the baby until 15 days later because of all the holidays. The midwife directly “discharged” me. The latch was good, and if I was in pain, we looked at the first available appointment for the end of January. At that point, the only professionals who could support us were no longer there. 

I don’t want this to be understood as if I would think it’s wrong for them to take vacation and rest, not at all. But their absence was not covered by other professionals providing support while their colleagues rested. 

And there I was, having just given birth at Christmas, entering the LactApp app’s Consultation Channel to explain that I felt very lonely and that no one had told me this would be like that. I didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t understand anything. I had nobody, and no one around me had breastfed before, and I didn’t know how to do it right. I was supposed to be happy, but my baby was starving with me. And my biggest support was the professionals who answered that anonymous quest with so much love that I still cry when remembering it.

This story is for all who can help: family, friends, healthcare professionals, and health centre management staff. Postnatal women still exist at Christmas. When everyone stops and celebrates, some of us continue to need support beyond telling each other how much fun we must be having during our baby’s first Christmas.

He is now 13 months old, and we are still breastfeeding. I have learned so much, and thanks to all the help provided by LactApp and a group of mothers in my city who welcomed me and accompanied me, we are having a lovely holiday season.

Thanks to the LactApp team for helping me at that moment, for the rest of the consultations I have done this year through the Consultations Channel or in the online consultations, and for giving me this space that is helping me to share this painful experience, which I was not aware of before I started writing.

You can find lots of information about breastfeeding and early parenting in our free app, LactApp, for iPhone or Android. In the contact section of the app, you can find our in-app consultation channel, where our experts will answer your questions.

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