I was 40 years old when I had my first child
I was 40 years old when I had my first child. Luckily for us, breastfeeding was a breeze right from the start, she latched on like a champ every single time, I had no pain, and we both really enjoyed it!
A few weeks in we started having problems with her refusing feeds, crying and fussing and throwing up a lot after feeds. Lots of to-ing and fro-ing to the pediatrician’s office finally resulted in a double diagnosis: reflux and a cow’s milk protein allergy. I tried to continue breastfeeding through all the drama, but it was just easier to put her on an elemental formula with reflux meds as this settled her immediately and she seemed to thrive on it. So I only breastfed her exclusively for the first 6 weeks of her life, then on and off combined with formula for about another 3 weeks, and then she went onto formula exclusively from there on.
These decisions were made after weeks of really struggling with the reflux and allergy, and lots of sleep deprivation, and I think I went for the easy option by putting her on formula feeds only – something I now regret bitterly. She is 17 months old now and I dearly wish that I was still breastfeeding her. She is healthy and happy and thriving, so perhaps my regret is for slightly selfish reasons – I would really have enjoyed breastfeeding her for longer.
So my tale of caution is to tell other struggling moms: just hang in there! Don’t give up breastfeeding at the first sign of trouble, you will regret it later.
Remember, it will get easier and it is worth it!
Hanlie, a writer/editor, and her husband live in South Africa with their daughter, Charlotte.
Photo credits: Hanlie Walker
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