Welcoming a new baby into your life is challenging in many ways. Once a baby is feeding comfortably and growing well, parents can begin to relax a bit. Issues like painful feeding, difficulty latching, and slow weight gain can all be understood, managed and completely turned around. Here some parents share their experiences:
I spent a lot of time and energy getting ready to give birth and become a mum. I had a really great birth experience and had taken it for granted that I would simply breastfeed my baby- he unfortunately had very different ideas!
We endured a plethora of difficulties ranging from failure to latch, posterior tongue tie, blocked ducts, mastitis, vasospasm, MRSA, damaged nipples, pain whilst feeding, pain between feeds, oversupply of milk and really bad reflux. Those are just the physical barriers we faced, what was far worse was the emotional side effect of not being able to simply breastfeed my baby. It was a really scary and isolated, dark place to be as a new mum- I luckily had a great midwife who encouraged me to seek assistance from a specialist.
That person was Karla. She was very quickly able to assess what physical issues we were struggling with and gave me practical advice that made my life so much better, we implemented tools like expressing and nipple shields and worked on our positioning for feeds and very slowly we emerged from months of difficulties into the lovely light easy breastfeeding relationship I'd dreamed of having.
I have absolutely no doubt that I would not have succeeded in overcoming our challenges without Karla. She came alongside me at the most challenging time in my life and was caring, calm, kind, compassionate and hugely knowledgable- exactly what we needed. I learned so much from just being in her company about things that went beyond simply feeding my baby - and into being a mother.
With our second pregnancy I was understandably concerned about breastfeeding and received antenatal support from Karla- again she was a fantastic resource, lending me DVD's, books and sharing useful information but above all leaving me feeling that if we had difficulties she would be there to help me. After speaking to Karla I was able to enjoy my pregnancy and feel confident about breastfeeding. As it happened we did struggle with breastfeeding again but my outlook and experience was so utterly different as I was supported from the outset by Karla. I trusted her completely and once again her experience, manner and kindness saw us through to a second blissful breastfeeding experience.
Karla came into our lives early on following the arrival of our firstborn Seòras. With a suspected tongue tie and a wealth of new, daunting and exhausting experiences, we sought assistance as soon as it became clear feeding was and would continue to be an issue with him.
Karla's arrival provided reassurances we could not have foreseen. Her calm, measured and attentive approach has had an enduring effect on us all. She demonstrated with ease a sensitive and flexible approach, assuring us her method would work with patience and perseverance - it was only natural to follow her lead!
A little persistence paid huge dividend and but for the fact we were fortunate enough to encounter her and her magical ways, our children would not be the happy healthy well fed boys they now are - we are indebted to Karla!
I have found Karla to be a huge support. I first met her as a result of going to the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh Breast Feeding Clinic when I gave birth to our daughter in 2009. I was having real difficulty because of cracked nipples and a problem with milk supply. I leant on her heavily but she was endlessly patient, encouraging and really effective at increasing my confidence.
It took until our daughter was 14 weeks old to get it 'right', but Karla was there for me the whole way. I managed to breastfeed until our daughter was 15 months old. If it hadn't been for Karla's help, I'd have given up when our daughter was a few weeks old, such was the pain and difficulty.
We then moved to France and when I discovered I was pregnant five years later, I thought how wonderful it would be if she could help me again. I contacted her and to my huge relief she said she was available for me. Via FaceTime, she was able to guide me through the challenging first few days and weeks; even though she was not actually in the room, she is so experienced she was able to see exactly what was needed via the camera! I am indebted to her for all the encouragement, help and guidance she has given me - both times.
Thank you Karla for being so wonderful, patient and caring.
Karla supported me through 3 months of intense feeding difficulties. Flora was born with beautiful blue eyes on a cold winter's night. She initially breastfed well but after a few days became tired and wasn't able to feed effectively.
Flora was diagnosed was Down Syndrome and some heart defects when she was born and breastfeeding quickly became our main concern.
Karla gave us endless hours of her time and was a very patient listener. She demonstrated her expert knowledge and vast experience in the skilled advice she gave. Most of all Karla remained practical and realistic at all times and gave me the confidence to believe that breastfeeding could work for us. We were delighted when Flora was eventually able to breastfeed brilliantly and we definitely could not have done it without Karla's advice and support. I would recommend Karla without hesitation.
I attended a consultation with Karla recently, with my 19 week old second baby, completing a 10 hour round trip to do so and it was worth every minute. When you walk in you are greeted with such a calm space that you are immediately able to think more clearly.
Karla talked me through what I was experiencing and using the information I had given her, reassured me that I was doing OK. She observed me attempting to feed and eventually managing and the whole experience was entirely helpful. I should have gone much sooner and would highly recommend her for anyone struggling with feeding their baby. Don't give up!
Karla is the most serene, calming and confident person I had the pleasure in meeting in the 'grey fog' that is post baby feeding dilemmas.
If we could duplicate this lady a few hundred times the headache that is breast feeding for most women would be non-existent.
I had nature against me from the onset with breast feeding but despite that my first child managed to latch on through Karla's gentle persuasion and for me that was an EPIC moment!
This lady is very much a LEGEND in her own right!! Wishing all you new and expectant mums a very relaxed and happy experience from here on in!
Thank you for your help - my baby and I are now enjoying exclusive breastfeeding. The SNS was such a great technique!
You were such a calming influence at that very emotional and difficult time. I am more passionate than ever about breastfeeding, and planning to become a peer supporter.
Without Karla it is unlikely that I would be breastfeeding today. She was recommended to me by my sister who had received invaluable support with her breastfeeding difficulties. I had already sought help from a variety of sources including my health visitor, breastfeed clinic and my GP.
Despite this I was still suffering from deep breast pain and cracked nipples which were refusing to heal. I was in substantial pain, had sleepless nights and started to dread feeding times. Along with my partner and baby son who was 6 weeks old at the time I met with Karla who took time to consider all the influencing factors including details of my pregnancy, birth and the first six weeks. She listened to my experiences and respected my thoughts on what she recommended. Karla recommended specific products to aid my recovery and helped with the positioning of the baby. I left feeling empowered and with a plan which I was happy with. I then had two useful follow up telephone consultations. Within two weeks feeding was comfortable and enjoyable- the experience I had always hoped for. I can't recommend Karla highly enough.
I was given a recommendation to contact Karla during a particularly difficult weekend with my newborn baby girl. She had only been latching on to one breast & that weekend she would not latch at all. I had expressed milk in the fridge that we could give her in bottles but she was gulping them & causing herself bad wind.
A friend who was a midwife came round and could not get her to latch either. I called Karla at 6 PM on a Saturday evening & she spoke to us for 45 minutes. She calmed myself & my husband with the assurance that this situation was remediable. I was surprised that the initial course of action was to show us a slower way of giving the bottle, thus making it more like breast feeding. We did that, & my daughter was back on the breast within hours. It was amazing.
2 days later we had a consultation lasting 3 hours including a full feed. Karla not only improved my cross cradle hold but showed me the laid back position & took pictures with my phone so I could look back at them when coaxing her to the other breast. My daughter latched to both sides & with practice she was feeding regularly within days & has been since. One of the most important things Karla said that has stuck with me is that both mum & baby have to learn a new skill. I think that is often not made clear at antenatal classes & I wasn't expecting it to be as difficult at first.
I was very close to giving up breastfeeding at the initial point of contact but I am so glad I persevered. It is entirely down to Karla that I did. Her calm & reassuring manner, her incredible evidence based knowledge, & her advice at the end of a text message for weeks after was amazing, & my daughter & I have benefitted massively. She also showed me how to maximise my expressing which sped the process up hugely, & I have passed the tips on to other mums I know.
Above all, what comes across is Karla's care & concern & tailor made approach for you & your baby's needs. She has amazing passion for her subject & without doubt she has been the most important professional in my postpartum journey.
I just wanted to email and thank you for your help with breastfeeding. 12 weeks since Jacob's birth and we are still breastfeeding! He's only had one bottle of expressed milk since birth and was fully weaned off nipple shield by week 4!
The silver cups were purchased and I have to admit are I think the most important item anyone can buy when having a baby. They healed my cracks, stopped thrush and I now wear them at night to keep any issues at bay. I really couldn't thank you enough as I have a very healthy breastfed baby who I plan to feed to one. Thank you!
One year later: Its been just over a year since we last met with my husband Charles and son Jacob. I was feeding through incredible pain, dreading feeding and finding myself in a hard place. Since our consultation and my sons tongue tie cut, my over supply settled, my allergy to lanolin discovered, thrush fixed with medication and serious hot washes of everything in the house and Jacob having learnt to adjust to feeding we managed to breastfeed to just over a year. Thank you so much for enabling me to complete my goal of feeding for as long as my son desired. Over this time I did every feed directly from me with no bottles or formula which for me was an important testimony to how far we came. Jacob stopped feeding himself, completely at his own time, he just gave me kisses instead. It was a lovely journey that Jacob and I have shared and I am so grateful to you for enabling me to breastfeed my son, giving him the nutrition I so believed in, but also the relationship that I so longed for. Thank you so much.
Thank you so much for such a great experience and insight into breastfeeding yesterday. You were my last hope. I have continued to feed Rory in the position you showed me.
Thank you for the link, I will have a read when I am on a cluster marathon session with Rory.
I am hoping my sling is delivered tomorrow, really looking forward to trying it out and hopefully having my hands free and a contented baby!
Your knowledge and positive outlook yesterday has helped me massively in continuing to breastfeed, I just hope the cluster feeding and amount of feeding starts to lessen at some stage!
Four months later: I visited you when my son Rory was just over 5 weeks old. Just a small message to say we are still breastfeeding and Rory will be a healthy 5 months this Sunday. Thank you!
Without you, breastfeeding my baby would not have been possible.
Your patience, generosity, kindness, insightfulness, knowledge and perspective have been invaluable during the early weeks of our breastfeeding journey and I will always remember your support and tell Nicholas about it when he is old enough!
Thank you so much!
Nicholas, Daniel and Kathrin
I'm happy to report improvement on all fronts!
Firstly, the sharp pain with breastfeeding is gone, thanks to the nipple shields. There is a small amount of residual pain, but it's totally bearable.
Secondly, the deeper pain within the breasts is gone -I don't know if that's down to the shields or the silver cups. The cups ARE doing something because I don't wear them all the time (not totally comfortable) and I notice the difference in nipple pain when I don't.
Third and most exciting is the change in Nina since I've given up dairy and soya. We started to notice the difference on Sunday. She is much calmer, cries a lot less and will sit or play for much longer. I'm so grateful that you spotted this issue and suggested the change!
Since then someone suggested I also give up caffeine, which I am now trying as well. Thanks so much Karla. I'm so glad I didn't wait longer to phone you!
Just wanted to thank you for all the advice you gave me a few weeks ago.
The breast angels are amazing and I healed completely by six weeks while maintaining exclusive breastfeeding for my daughter. She's thriving and feeding with gusto (and a much improved latch...).
I'm recommending your services to anyone who'll listen!
I just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that Isabella turned 6 months yesterday (I'm not sure where the time has gone!).
After a rocky start to breastfeeding, I am so pleased and proud to say that we have reached the first milestone of 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding (which is soooo easy these days!). I don't think we'd have managed to continue in the early days without your help, so I just wanted to say a massive thanks again.
I will be eternally grateful to Karla for all of her guidance and support in helping me to establish breastfeeding with my daughter.
After a wonderfully easy first feed following Nola's birth I ignorantly believed breastfeeding was going to be easy. However getting her to latch on after this was very challenging and by the time we left the hospital we were syringe feeding her formula.
I was determined to breastfeed, not only because of the health benefits, but because I saw it as a great way to bond with and comfort my baby.
Several midwives advised that we would get there in time, but after two and a half weeks of unsuccessfully trying to get her to latch she was becoming increasingly frustrated at the breast. I was expressing every three hours and as time went on I was becoming very stressed about the volumes I could provide and that this schedule would not be sustainable when my partner returned to work and I was solely responsible for the care of a newborn.
That's when I contacted Karla for help - she was wonderful and I cannot recommend her highly enough. She is so knowledgeable and provides lots of material for support and advice. She gave us so much time and was so calm and encouraging, exactly what a new mother needs. Karla managed to get Nola to latch on with the aid of a nipple shield - something I was not even aware existed.
Her support did not end after our session, on several occasions I contacted her to discuss our progress or my concerns for Nola's health.
At 9 weeks old Nola managed to latch on without a shield (at our local breastfeeding support group) and from 11 weeks she was weaned from shields completely.
I am delighted to be breastfeeding and would definitely encourage other women to get in touch with Karla if they are struggling.
Charlie and I are doing really well since our session (two days after his tongue tie was divided).
Feeding has become easier and easier with C enjoying his new tongue mobility to the point of hilarity - he spent the first week or so sticking it out to see how far it would go and then giggling. He still does this from time to time as if to say 'whoop, there it is!
He's gaining weight fantastically and going much longer between feeds, so getting better naps too. I excluded milk & soya from my diet until yesterday and I'm now reintroducing it to see what happens. So far, so good.
Thank you so much for your help and advice, everyone is faring much better now that feeding is going well.
Karla's input came at a time when I felt like quitting the breastfeeding due to pain from a poor latch and nipple thrush.
She spent over 4 hours with me in my own home, working through a range of breastfeeding challenges and potential solutions.
Her suggestions regarding how to treat thrush, how to supplement with expressed breast milk, and how to use equipment such as 'silver cups' helped to reduce my pain significantly. It also helped to facilitate my baby's weight gain. As a result I was able to continue feeding through those first few difficult weeks, towards the establishment of a healthy breastfeeding relationship with my daughter. Karla's listening ear and caring nature were also a very important part of this process.
I wanted to let you know that I am still breastfeeding Ädeline (at 5 months) and no longer need to top her up with formula at all. This is thanks to you and I will be eternally grateful.
It is completely pain free and has been since about 2 weeks after I saw you.
I never thought I would say that breastfeeding is easier than bottle feeding but it is and has made life so much easier with Robert being away so much. Being able to feed Ä. on the plane has been so much better for her ears too!
Thank you so much again!
It looks like the battle has been won! Rima has been feeding the baby for 48hrs without a shield, 5 hours at a time with short breaks and no pain (well sometimes, but it has improved greatly)! i can see a huge relief on her face and the way she perceives the feeding which is great.
I hope this is the beginning of her feeding with pleasure and confidence, but i will be sure to reach out for any additional help if that's ok. Your support has helped us so much, thank you from the bottom of our hearts (three of them).
Two months later:Looking back we are so very grateful for all of your support - we always remember your promise that he will start feeding well and we can now see that it has happened.
Lukas and Rima
I hope you are well. That's Reuben now 5 months and a week or so old and a while back he jumped from the 5th to the 25th percentile. He's been thriving since Angus and I came to see you in the summer and you gave us those shields.
At breastfeeding group a couple of the midwives couldn't believe that shields could help in this way. I also managed to wean him off the shields when he was ready in just 3 days - I think he was maybe 10/11 weeks old. I find breastfeeding such a pleasure, so easy and it's thanks to your advice and encouragement that I carried on with it.
Thanks again for all your advice.
You probably don't remember but I visited you last October when my youngest son Rory was about three weeks old. Our breastfeeding journey came to a natural end last week - he is now 13 months old.
I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you for all the support you gave me to enable me to continue to feed through bleeding nipples, mastitis, thrush and pneumonia. It has meant such a huge amount to have had such a positive journey with Rory, who I am pretty sure, will be my last baby.
You give such incredible support - practical and emotional- to mums. I just wish all mums had access to such support. It really does mean so much. Thank you.
Thank you so much for the kindness you showed us at the consultation.
We both feel incredibly supported and are very happy to carry on breastfeeding using shields. The relief that I am not in pain any more is enormous and is felt by both of us. Little Lorcan was weighed yesterday (Friday) and he had put on another 50g since you weighed him on Wednesday afternoon. Lorcan is a settled and satisfied baby. I love feeding him at night, listening to his gulps and gurgles and then watching him fall asleep making satisfied little noises. Last night he slept for 4 and a half hours, woke up for a feed, change, cuddle and another feed and slept for another 4 and a half hours!
I love the stretchy wrap video. Mostly because it is your soothing voice. We haven’t quite got to grips with catching him at the right moment to pop him in, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out.
Thank you so much for spending the time that you did with us (at our Antenatal Consultation), the information you gave us was invaluable and I feel I have learned a lot.
I certainly left a lot more confident about things and i'm looking much more forward to the experience. We are going to start working our way through all the links and information you have sent us.
Many thanks again and we will be sure to be in touch once our baby is born to let you now how we are getting on.
Amy and John
Myself and my daughter Eden met with you back in November. She had had thrush for a long time and as I had suspected, a tongue tie.
After you referred Eden we got an appointment on the 30th of Dec. It was traumatic, but only for me. She recovered after a couple of days of being a bit tender. Eden's thrush has also cleared up simply from the bicarbonate soda tip you gave us.
Eden still has quite a tight latch but she's a very efficient feeder and hardly takes in any air like she did before. It's pain free for me and Eden seems much much happier. She still feeds a lot through the night but I don't think that's because she is struggling.
We just wanted to say a massive thank you. I wouldn't have been able to continue breastfeeding Eden if we hadn't seen you. You changed our journey and we are so grateful.