“All I ever wanted to do was breastfeed. I thought it was the most beautiful part about having a baby. I had seen plenty of women breastfeed so I thought it was natural, but for something that is meant to be so natural, it’s hard work!” Maddy said.
When her newborn baby Daisy was first placed on her chest for her first feed she struggled to latch properly, causing Maddy pain from the very first feed.
They were in the hospital for 4 days. On the 3rd day, Maddy was given the all clear to go home.
“However, I still couldn’t feed Daisy without curling my toes, biting my teeth and having tears run down my face,” Maddy said. “I knew in the back of my mind breastfeeding did hurt at the start because it’s new, but this was the next level of pain”
Maddy told her midwives she wasn’t comfortable going home until she had a better idea of how to make her breastfeeding manageable.
“I had a beautiful lactation consultant visit us and examine Daisy’s latch which was completely wrong. She wasn’t sucking and was biting instead.” Maddy said.
The lactation consultant examined Daisy for tongue and lip ties, and luckily none were present. However, that’s when the issue was discovered: Daisy had a tooth!
“She was born with a tooth down the bottom of her mouth, the lactation consultant said Daisy was the second baby she had seen born with a tooth in twenty years!” Maddy said.
A couple of days after returning home Maddy couldn’t feed at all. She was in agony.
“With cracked and bleeding nipples we made a trip back to the hospital to see the midwives for some advice. I needed to give my nipples a rest so I started to express my milk to let my nipples heal.” Maddy said.
Maddy’s mum and her partner Thomas helped by feeding Daisy with Maddy’s milk.
“Watching them do something I was meant to be doing was heartbreaking,” Maddy said. “The baby blues hit me hard and looking back now I didn’t realise at the time how emotional I really was. I expressed for several days trying to let my nipples heal. I would cry every single time I fed her, it was heartbreaking to me that weeks later I still couldn’t feed her properly without being in severe pain. We went back to see the midwives every couple of days to work on our feeding. I ended up using nipple shields for a while which helped a lot but it still wasn’t perfect.”
There were many times when Maddy would hide in a room and cry where no one could see. She also cried while feeding Daisy because she had the constant horrible feeling she had failed herself and her baby.
To make things harder Maddy was extremely sleep deprived. Daisy has never been a good sleeper and for the first month, she woke overnight every hour to feed.
“Everyone told me to sleep during the day when she slept,” Maddy said. “But she was a cat napper during the day sleeping for 40 minutes at the most unless being held, if she slept in someone’s arms she would sleep for hours, this made it very hard to catch up on sleep, my sister would come over and let Daisy sleep on her for hours so that I could catch up on some sleep!”
Soon after they visited their doctor to see whether Daisy’s tooth needed to be removed.
“Our doctor said it was extremely rare for it to be an actual baby tooth, most of the time they are what they call Epstein pearls, which are little white lumps on the gums that disappear over time,” Maddy said. “They can fall out and they can swallow the tooth. However, Daisy’s wasn’t going anywhere, it was staying, it was her first baby tooth.
Maddy persevered through the pain and emotions for months. She went with her mother-in-law to see another lactation consultant where they helped to get Daisy off using the nipple shield as it was causing her wind.
“I had so many moments where I broke down and just said to Thomas I couldn’t do it anymore and he always reminded me how far we had come and that I should keep going. He knew how important breastfeeding was to me.” Maddy said “Daisy was 3 and a half months old when we had no more nipple shields and we had our first pain-free feeds, we had worked it out. I couldn’t have done it without the constant support from my family & friends.”
Breastfeeding didn’t come easy for Daisy, but Maddy says, “it was worth the pain and every tear. Daisy is now 8 months old and we are still breastfeeding successfully!“
If you would like breastfeeding support or advice there are many resources available. Visit Australian Breastfeeding Association at www.breastfeeding.asn.au, speak to your Maternal and Child Health in person or hotline 13 22 29 or seek support from a Lactation consultant (contact your local hospital or find one privately).
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