Mum of two, Emma Skea, could never have predicted what her breastfeeding journey would look like when at just 33 weeks pregnant, she went into labour.
“Waking up in the middle of the night I remember feeling something was wrong. I thought I’d peed myself, but it kept happening and finally I called the hospital and they said to go in.
I wasn’t expecting to have to stay, I only had my handbag with me. But after a quick examination the midwife said I wasn’t leaving until I’d had my baby. I was in labour. My partner Leonardo went home to grab a few essentials. Five hours later and with no drugs or intervention, Diego was born 6.5 weeks early.
I only saw him for about a minute before they whisked him off to the neonatal intensive care unit. As soon as I could, I went upstairs to be with him. He was tiny, just 1.8kg, but amazingly he had no other issues. He was just small and needed to grow and be in a humidicrib for a while.
He already had a tube up his nose so he could be fed. The midwives explained that he was too small to latch, and his first few feeds were formula.
I’d always planned to breastfeed, but hadn’t done any preparation. I was still working when Diego was born – we didn’t even have a pram or a crib. I was hoping to do all of my reading and nesting once I went on maternity leave, but that obviously never happened.
I stayed in the hospital for a few days to be close to Diego. The midwives were amazing and showed me how to gently massage my breasts and use a warm cloth to encourage my milk. Luckily it came in quickly. I would set an alarm and pump every three hours to coincide with Diego’s feeds. Once I went home, I carried on doing that and would take my milk in to the hospital for him every day.
When Diego was about one week old he was able to feed direct from the breast and latched on first time. It was amazing and felt so natural. It actually gives me tingles thinking about it now. I was so lucky as breastfeeding came easily to us both. There were a lot of babies and mums around us who were having problems and I felt so grateful.
Diego came home at 2.5 weeks old and I breastfed him for one year. My daughter Erika was born three years later and latched on in the delivery room. I fed her for 14 months.
Even after such a difficult start, our breastfeeding journey was incredible and proves that just because things don’t go to plan, with the right support you can get there.
The one piece of advice I’d give a mum in the same situation is to relax and be kind to yourself. Don’t feel like a failure if it doesn’t work out the way you’d hoped. Do what is best for bubba and you.
When I read about Lactamo I thought straight away how great it would have been if I’d had access to something like that. There should be one in every hospital bag alongside the rainbow blankets we all take home. Every woman should be able to get the tools and support she needs to help with feeding, whatever that looks like.
If you would like to share your breastfeeding journey with Lactamo please contact us email@example.com.