Post-partum – Feeding

Patient profile:

  • Claudia, 33 years old
  • Second baby
  • Married

The second time is so much harder. My pregnancy was fine, but trying to keep up with a toddler and a growing tummy was exhausting. I was slightly anaemic right from the start and I took the supplements when I could. I thought that once the baby was born, I would get some energy back, even with the sleep deprivation.

I breastfed our older child until 6 months, and although it was hard to get started, it worked well. So I assumed I would be successful the second time around – and I would be more experienced, so it would actually be easier. When we got home from hospital, I still felt wiped out. I remember thinking that it hadn’t been this bad the first time, but guessed it was because I couldn’t rest as much. My milk came ok to begin with, but gradually the baby started asking for more and more feeds and I felt I couldn’t provide enough. I felt so lonely, like I was in the wrong body. I would get angry with my toddler and snap at my husband for no reason. One night I gave in and asked my husband to give him a bottle so I could rest. I really wanted to breastfeed as much as possible, but I just didn’t have the strength anymore – all I could think about was sleep.

I persisted with breastfeeding, and resorted to bottles when it all got too much (especially when my husband went back to work) and talked to my doctor about the best options for my baby, if I was unable to breastfeed this time. He suggested I have some blood tests for anaemia and get my iron levels checked. The results showed that I had iron deficiency anaemia and that was giving me fatigue, which was affecting my milk production. I’m on treatment now and starting to feel better. I also have the energy to persist with breastfeeding. I’m glad I mentioned how I felt to my doctor and started to get treatment. Thank you that, I could breast feed my new baby until he was 6 months old.