My baby boy is now 6 weeks old and he's gorgeous and thriving but it has been a journey to get here.

I choose to have a home birth and all was well. I went into labour around midnight and we gave the midwife the heads up things were getting serious around 7am. She didn't think things sounded that urgent so arrived only 12 mins before his arrival! Luckily all went smoothly and the hypnobirthing kept me calm throughout my experience.

Once the placenta was out and we were all cleaned up they called the local birthing centre for a bed so that, as first time parents with no family around, we could learn the basics.

Unfortunately there were no beds so we just stayed at home and started winging it! The first few days feeding seemed, to the inexperienced eye, to be going well - it was sore on the nipples but he spent time there and then fell asleep. Satisfied baby we thought! As the days went on my nipples became much more painful, I was advised to buy some silver nipple cups. When my milk came in, my baby boy spent time on the boob sucking but only seemed to swallow for short periods when the milk seemed to overwhelm him - I was told that was pretty normal!

One night he fed for 5 hours! Normal cluster feeding I thought!

The following day we stopped seeing the periods of swallowing and his output dropped. We were getting worried. At our next appointment with our LMC (on day 6) he had dropped 16% of his weight. We were admitted to hospital and began what would be the start of 2 gruelling weeks of 3 hourly breastfeed, pump, bottle feed top ups of breastmilk and formula. It was emotionally devastating to have gone from our beautiful natural birth to being admitted to hospital because despite our best efforts the latch was poor and he wasn't getting any milk and my supply was drying up.

Since he got back to exclusively breastfeeding after 2 weeks and 3 lactation consultants later he has been putting on 400g a week and is back on his centile! He is doing really well but it was an incredibly stressful time and I truly believe that if we had had the breastfeeding support we needed during the first 48 hours at a dedicated maternal facility then we would have had no problems. Had I known that we were entitled to our 48 hours of care and what was to come I would have pushed harder but it was more like 'No beds? Oh well you'll be fine!' Our 2 night hospital admission probably cost the system more in the end.

Anyways, onwards and upwards from here!


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