A Dundee mum has told how breastfeeding helped her bond with her newborn daughter after postnatal depression, to mark Breastfeeding Awareness Week.
Shannon Kenneth experienced postnatal depression following the birth of her first daughter, Daisy, seven years ago.
However, she was keen to breastfeed her new arrival Blossom, who she gave birth to in June this year.
Shannon explains: “My initial thoughts were I wanted to offer Blossom her first feed at the breast.
“I was very patiently supported by the midwife and with the comforting baby skin-to-skin contact, I was pleased that Blossom attached and fed with ease.”
Overcoming the challenges
Like many journeys with breastfeeding, it was not all plain sailing for Shannon who experienced challenges trying to establish breastfeeding, painful feeds and mastitis.
At this point Shannon was unsure if she could continue with breastfeeding, but with perseverance and support of a breast pump, she managed to get through.
Shannon continues: “At first I had no confidence feeding my baby, and having mastitis did not help.
“But after a couple of weeks, my confidence started to grow and each day I found I was getting better at putting her to the breast.
“I was learning to feed discretely which also helped my confidence.
“By the time I had been breastfeeding for six weeks I honestly felt like I had passed the ‘breastfeeding test’ and I was doing it naturally.”
‘I have no intention of stopping’
Discussing the benefits of breastfeeding helped Shannon and she even noticed improvements in her mood.
Her success has made her feel positive about herself and her postnatal recovery was quicker than with first daughter, Daisy.
Shannon says: “I would not have managed to breastfeed Blossom without the support of the NHS infant feeding team, including home visits by breastfeeding support staff.
“I find the whole breastfeeding experience very enjoyable and rewarding.
“I have joined a peer support group Breast Buddies Dundee where women help each other and I have found the support of other mums invaluable.
“We’re in full swing now, and I have no intention of stopping breastfeeding anytime soon.”
New mum Veronika Sitkel recently gave birth to baby Andre also found the support from NHS Tayside staff to be an invaluable part of her breastfeeding journey.
She says: “Everyone has been so kind and supportive. It has been a hard journey but all the staff have helped by always being there.”