When this photo was taken, I was absolutely exhausted. It was the early hours of the morning and my 6 week old son, Noah, had vomited so much over night that he had gone through every single bed sheet, babygrow and vest that we owned. I had never been so close to just reaching for the formula.
Noah had CMPA and reflux. His symptoms began as soon as we got home the day he was born. I had just fed him and he vomited the entire feed all over his bed. I panicked and called my midwife who assured me it was normal and he was fine, but the vomiting just didn’t stop. By 3 days old he had lost about 9% of his birth weight, and by day 5 it was 13%. He was lethargic, had a rash covering his abdomen and back, was vomiting profusely after every feed and not passing enough urine, so we were admitted into hospital.
He was put on IV fluids and treatment for meningitis, just incase. He was feeding beautifully, but everything he ate just came straight back up. By day 8, he had lost 15% of his birthweight, his stools were mostly mucous and there was blood in his vomit. Dr’s recomended we commenced formula top ups, and he suffered an allergic reaction to the formula, and that’s when he was diagnosed with CMPA. So I cut out dairy (and soya to be on the safe side) from my diet and started power pumping to build up a big enough supply to give him top ups of expressed breastmilk after each feed.
I managed to express around 12oz a day on top of exclusively breastfeeding. Noah was started on ranitidine to control the vomiting and within a few days he had gained enough weight for us to go home.
The next few weeks were a blur of exhaustion. Noah was feeding every hour or two, day and night, and cluster feeding on an evening. I seemed to be always either expressing or feeding! He didn’t latch right all the time and I was sore, tired, and losing weight. I had also started to develop what would manifest into crippling PND. Noah gained weight but we hadn’t upped his ranitidine to match and it was then that he threw up so much overnight that I ran out of bed sheets and clothes for him. I was about ready to throw in the towel and get a prescription for hydrolysed formula.
Instead, I decided to get a bath at silly o’clock in the morning, take it one day at a time, and see if it got any easier.
It did get easier, significantly so. Within a couple weeks, we were breastfeeding with very few issues and much more sleep. 2 years and 5 months on, he is still breastfeeding, has never been ill, has grown out of his allergies, is (almost) completely reflux free, and I am so glad I stuck it out!
The moral of this story is: don’t quit on a bad day ❤️
National Breastfeeding helpline: 0300 100 0212