Leilani’s Breastfeeding Story – Part 2

We gave you Part 1 of Leilani’s breastfeeding story yesterday, describing her experiences breastfeeding her first two children – Pearl, now 6, and Joseph, now 4. Leilani will be filming a video log of her thoughts on the first few days of breastfeeding with her fourth child, newborn Esther (photos above) who arrived on Saturday 21st August. But while mum and baby learn the breastfeeding techniques that suit them, we bring you Part 2 of Leilani’s breastfeeding story, in which she describes how feeding her third child, Jasmine (now 2), pushed Leilani to her limits and she considered giving up:

“After giving birth to Jasmine I lost a lot of blood and needed to have a blood transfusion, which left me feeling very weak and made it difficult for me to breastfeed. By the time I went home from the hospital, I was suffering from nipple pain and within a week my nipples were bleeding. I was torn between wanting to breastfeed my baby, and having to endure glass-like pain while doing it. In the end, the pain became too great for me to bear.

I asked Blair to go to the supermarket to get some formula and bottles and anything that would help soothe and heal my nipples. He was standing in the baby aisle, trying to choose the best product to help me, when a Pacific woman walked up to him and asked if he needed any help. He explained the situation and she said ‘I have the perfect solution to help your wife, come with me.’

She then took him to the vegetable section and handed him a cabbage! She explained to him how to apply the cabbage leaf to my breast and reassured him that this cabbage would heal me.

Honestly, if I wasn’t in so much pain I would have stuck my nose up at the suggestion of stuffing a cabbage leaf into my bra, but I was desperate and willing to try anything. So, I allowed Blair to follow the woman’s instructions to:

  1. Refrigerate the cabbage first.
  2. When the cabbage is cold, cut a leaf to size, to cover the area of the nipple.
  3. Place between breast and bra.
  4. Replace the cabbage leaf with a cool cabbage leaf as often as needed.

Would you believe it? Within 48 hours my nipples were completely healed. I never looked back after that and was able to breastfeed Jasmine successfully for the rest of the year.

Today, I’m proud to say that I’m a ‘cabbage-method’ convert, and am keeping a store of cabbages in our fridge for the new baby.”

Leilani’s message to other mums is that breastfeeding is a learned skill and doesn’t always come easy.

“Though it’s widely known that breastfeeding is best for the health of mum and baby, it’s important to understand that it can be hard work and, like any new skill, takes time to learn.”

Leilani urges mums finding breastfeeding a challenge to take advantage of the help available.

“Seek help early – don’t wait for things to get worse. Talk to your midwife, see a lactation consultant or join a support group. And don’t forget that the Ministry of Health has a great free DVD that covers all the stages of breastfeeding.”

The chapters of the Ministry of Health’s free DVD, “Breastfeeding. Naturally.” can be viewed online at www.youtube.com/breastfeedingnz. There you’ll also find Leilani’s first video log, in which she talks about her preparations for breastfeeding.

Information about breastfeeding, and where to get help and support, is available at www.breastfeeding.org.nz.

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