For Deliana, the first latch went perfectly, but within hours it became clear that she didn't have enough milk. She had arranged to see a lactation consultation after the birth of her son, but thanks to Covid-19 restrictions, it wasn't to be, and for weeks she struggled to establish a good breastfeeding routine.
"As a first-time mum, I felt so alone and scared," she admits.
Meanwhile, Emily's breastfeeding was going really well, until her baby started showing symptoms of an allergic reaction to dairy in her mum's diet. She endured a few anxious days while she waited for a callback from her overstretched GP, but fortunately her health visitor was able to help solve the problem, despite being unable to visit in person.
For some new mums, being stuck at home during a pandemic has been a godsend to their breastfeeding journey, allowing them to spend months of uninterrupted time getting their babies off to a good start in life.
Yet for many, it has been a lonely, arduous struggle as they battle to establish breastfeeding at an unprecedented time when medical support can be difficult to access.
These are two of the many first-hand accounts posted by new mums on Boobingit, the website set up last year by breastfeeding advocate Ruth Maguire (35) to support nursing mothers and incorporating the UK's first breastfeeding podcast.
Now more than ever, she says, new mums need support, which is why she has just launched a new eBook, Breastfeeding for Beginners, which is packed with honest and positive information aimed at helping mothers and babies to establish that early bond.
"Breastfeeding can be daunting and overwhelming to get to grips with at the best of times, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, things have been made harder," Ruth says.
"Breastfeeding rates in the UK are already one of the lowest in the world, and now it looks as though these figures will dip further if we don't do more to give new mums support."
She says the idea for the book came to her last year during the first lockdown.
"As a breastfeeding peer supporter I wanted to offer as much mama-to-mama support as I possibly could during these difficult times we are all living through. I set about writing the book whilst simultaneously working on launching boobingit.com. It's been a labour of love!
"Breastfeeding for Beginners is the kind of book I wished I'd had to hand when I was learning to breastfeed for the first time. It's full of real, honest, and uplifting information on breastfeeding. I hope it will bring a lot of comfort and reassurance to new mums as they get to grips with motherhood during a pandemic."
Ruth lives in north Belfast with her partner Phil, a UX designer, and her children Rose (4) and Alex, who is a year and half. She had worked in marketing for years, but it was only after she had Rose that she found her new calling in life.
Despite only launching the Boobingit website last year during the pandemic, she now describes it as her full-time job.
"When I had my first child, I was very intent on breastfeeding her. I found the first six weeks very tough, trying to establish breastfeeding, but I really have become such a big advocate," Ruth says.
Both children were born in the Royal Victoria Hospital - Rose was a natural birth and arrived on her due date, weighing 5lb 12oz, but it proved difficult to establish breastfeeding.
"My partner says she came into the world hungry - she would feed for really long periods of time," Ruth says.
The problem, as it is for many new mums, was encouraging Rose to latch correctly, and Ruth faced frustrating weeks of agonising pain and a relentlessly hungry baby.
"It wasn't long before I had really sore nipples - I was in constant pain and every time she would latch on, it was like a nipping sensation, bringing tears to my eyes. I said, 'How can I go on?' It was so painful.
"I had some lovely midwives who were trying to help me get the latch right. I became obsessed with getting her latched on right - why is something so natural so difficult?"
What did help was the advice she received from health visitors and from other mums in her breastfeeding support group - things would probably get better after six weeks.
"I kept hearing the first six weeks are the hardest - and it was definitely the case for me. Literally, like a switch, once six weeks hit, things became much easier and breastfeeding became a really lovely experience," she says.
"It's a very bonding experience with your baby. If you can get past those difficult days, it's a wonderful way to bond with your baby, along with that feeling of pride you have as well."
Fortunately, things were much easier with Alex: "He breastfed wonderfully from the get-go."
But that support Ruth had had from other mums inspired her to retrain as a breastfeeding peer supporter for the Belfast Trust. However, just as she finished her training, the first lockdown hit and she could no longer fulfil that vital role.
Instead, she turned her hand to coming up with a way of supporting new nursing mums isolated at home, while also embarking on her first book.
"Just as I became a peer supporter for really talking to other women about helping breastfeeding, lockdown hit. It was just heartbreaking for all those new mummies who were trying to breastfeed while in lockdown," Ruth says.
"When I go back to when I was breastfeeding and finding it really difficult, a big part of what helped me was going out to breastfeeding support groups and meeting other mums - and mums can't do that now.
"So I thought, what more can I offer? More people are going online for support during the pandemic and I thought I would start a website for it.
"I'd also been wanting to write a book for years and when I finished my peer support training, I felt it would be lovely to write a book from the perspective of one mummy to another, a relatively positive guide to breastfeeding and the kind of book I would have liked to have read when I had Rosie and was really struggling. It would have really reassured me."
Ruth launched her website in October and it's gone from strength to strength, drawing visitors from Northern Ireland and around the world.
"There are lots of new mums who think it's a great place where we can share our own stories - a big part of the website is the mama stories," she says.
"I firmly believe you learn more from hearing about other people's experiences and it can be a really empowering way to continue on your breastfeeding journey. A big part of my book was about talking to lots of other mums to contribute to the book, sharing their tips about breastfeeding.
"I think that really brings the book alive, hearing from lots of other people and what they went through good and bad - if they can get through that I can too! It's about not suffering in silence."
While Alex was born before the pandemic arrived, he was only six months old and still breastfeeding at the start of lockdown, Ruth says.
"My journey with him inspired me to write the book. Technically he was a bit of a lockdown baby too - he hasn't been anywhere for the first year of his life. So many mums I speak to had babies over lockdown and they used Zoom instead of face-to-face support. That's hard, especially if you're struggling for one reason or another."
Ruth says breastfeeding in Northern Ireland has been growing in popularity in the past couple of years, albeit from a low level, and it's good to see so many places normalising it.
"I'm really starting to see changes - I'm seeing more women breastfeeding and people are happier to breastfeed," she says. "Anecdotally, I am hearing that a lot of people have been breastfeeding for longer during the pandemic, because they are at home a lot more.
"So they have plenty of time to focus on the baby and feeding, and they're not getting any negative comments from people in their life. They're just able to get on with it and find a way that works for them.
"I also think a lot of people are wanting to breastfeed more during the pandemic because they feel it's safer as they're able to pass antibodies through their breast milk to the baby.
"Lots of people are breastfeeding longer because they want to keep their babies close and pass on their antibodies.
"There hasn't been a breastfeeding census for 10 years so I don't know what the rates are at the moment, but it's going to be really interesting to see how things have changed once there is a census about it."
The Breastfeeding for Beginners eBook can be purchased from boobingit.com or Amazon. Follow Boobing It on Facebook at www.facebook.com/boobingit; on Instagram at @boobingit and on Twitter at twitter.com/boobingit
THE HEALTH BENEFITS FOR BABIES AND MOTHERS
All the right nutrients in perfect amounts
Good immune system with reduced likelihood of infections
Less likely to be obese in childhood
Less chance of childhood diabetes
Less likely to have severe asthma
Less likely to suffer chest and ear infections
Less likely to need treatment for dental problems
Less likely to get gastroenteritis
Feelings of attachment to mother
Breastfeeding health benefits for the mother:
Reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancer
Lessens the risk of osteoporosis
Improves mood and reduces feelings of anxiousness
Helps decrease blood pressure
Reduces instances of type 2 diabetes
Encourages bonding with your newborn