In a previous post, we introduced former world squash champion Leilani Rorani, our new advocate for the National Breastfeeding Campaign. We are delighted to announce that Leilani’s new baby, named Esther, was born on Saturday 21st August! Leilani and her husband Blair now have four children – Joseph 6, Pearl 4 and Jasmine 2 are the older brother and sisters of Esther.
Leilani will be sharing her experiences of breastfeeding her new arrival in her second video log, but while mum and baby get to know each other and settle into their breastfeeding routine, we’d like to share Leilani’s story of breastfeeding her first three children:
Leilani has breastfed all her children and found it a very different experience each time. She knows first-hand that breastfeeding doesn’t always come easy, but the health benefits to mother and baby are huge. When pregnant with her first child, Leilani didn’t give breastfeeding a lot of thought, other than knowing it was something she would do.
“I grew up around two older sisters who breastfed their babies, so I was inspired by their example to do the same. I just thought that once Joseph was born I would put him on the breast and he would feed. I had no idea there was a technique to breastfeeding. I assumed it would come naturally to me, but it didn’t. Instead I felt like a tangled up mess trying to position myself, and him, to feed properly. When I went home from the birthing centre, I still wasn’t confident about latching him on correctly.
I remember my first day at home being very challenging. I no longer had the support of the birth centre midwives to help me. I was on my own, sitting for an hour, trying to feed Joseph. He was crying and I was crying. I knew he was hungry and I had these breasts full of milk that I didn’t know how to operate.
The next day my older sister, Wanita, came to help me. She had a three-month old baby of her own. She saw my dilemma and graciously offered to breastfeed Joseph. I readily accepted her help, and within 10 minutes Joseph’s tummy was full and he was sound asleep.”
Leilani says that for the next 10 days her sister coached her how to breastfeed, after which she was able to confidently feed Joseph herself.
“I’m so grateful that my sister was there. It’s really important to have help and support in the early days.”
Leilani says breastfeeding her second child came a lot easier.
“I ended up breastfeeding Joseph for 22 months so when Pearl was born, two months later, I felt confident breastfeeding because the technique was still fresh in my mind. However, one thing I didn’t expect, was that my newborn’s suckle was a lot stronger than Joseph’s. Initially, this made my nipples very sore but once they became conditioned to Pearl’s stronger suck I was able to comfortably breastfeed her for 12 wonderful months.”
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of Leilani’s breastfeeding story.