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OBS Case Study - Terri

OBS Case Study Terri and her daughter
Terri and her daughter

After being induced, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl on 26 September 20, 5 days past due date. Having latched herself after birth I thought breastfeeding would be easy, it seemed as though it had got off to a good start! Within a couple of days I realised this was not the case. Feeding time would take hours, often 2 hours or longer. I suffered from painful, pinched and rubbed nipples whilst feeding, leading to them becoming very raw. I knew something was not right but I couldn’t figure out what.

The difficulties we had feeding left me doubting whether my baby was getting the correct nutrition. Although nappy changes were more than regular and she was consistently gaining weight, I was constantly anxious for her health which in turn was affecting my own sanity. I was constantly in tears and felt I was failing my child who I thought must still be hungry. I was exhausted because of the lengthy feedings, anxious and incredibly emotional. I needed help!

I was determined to continue, I knew it would give my little girl the best start but I needed help. I joined the OBS Facebook page and noted that many new mothers struggle with breastfeeding, this in itself provided an element of relief, knowing the struggle is common, not just my own. I applied for a 1:1 session with OBS and was given an appt over zoom straight away.

My first appointment went through BN [biological nurturing] feeding in the reclined position. The facilitator talked me through the position and I was given advice and tips, such as if the baby is angsty try and calm her down before hand as it will make correct attachment easier. I still struggled after this first appt and applied for further support. I was given another appt with Charlotte who was amazing. Understanding and encouraging, Charlotte went through various feeding positions but focused on the ones I felt most comfortable with. She watched mine and Emily’s ‘technique’, talked my husband through the process so that he could help me and Emily moving forward, and assured me that breastfeeding would get easier.

I continued to struggle and this continued to take its toll on my mental health. Out of the blue Charlotte emailed me and offered another 1:1 as she had picked up on my very emotional and distressed state. She showed so much compassion. Although encouraging me to continue breastfeeding she also ensured I understood it would be ok to explore other options if it wasn't the right thing for me.

I continued to struggle and this continued to take its toll on my mental health. Out of the blue Charlotte emailed me and offered another 1:1 as she had picked up on my very emotional and distressed state. She showed so much compassion. Although encouraging me to continue breastfeeding she also ensured I understood it would be ok to explore other options if it wasn't the right thing for me. She explained OBS was available to support all mothers, regardless of what feeding option they had chosen and that if I wanted to change to formula feeding then she could provide guidance in giving up breastfeeding. This conversation was so supportive, she really cared and that pushed me to continue breastfeeding.

I had a further 1:1 with Charlotte where we discussed more feeding positions. As I was still having problems with nipple soreness, she also suggested I contact the infant feeding team for a tongue tie assessment, something I would never have thought of. Charlotte’s intuition was correct. Emily had 40% posterior tie, contributing to a shallow latch, poor gape and inability to sustain tongue over gum line thus leading to pain for me.

After Emily’s tongue tie was snipped I was offered further 1:1 support if needed but chose to be further supported by OBS in their weekly zoom group meeting. The facilitators and peer support volunteers provided encouragement and assurance but also managed my expectations, advising me to keep working on things as Emily needed to learn how to use her ‘new’ tongue and this could take a couple of weeks.

Emily now has no problems with attachment. In fact she does all the work herself and has often sucked the nipple in like a string of spaghetti before I’ve even lined her up!

I no longer suffer from rubbed, pinched or sore nipples and now take great enjoyment from sustaining and comforting my daughter. I intend to continue for many months to come!

Thank you OBS, in particular Charlotte Gilman.

August 2021

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