Sweet Pea Births

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Sweet Pea Births

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In Their Own Words: Kate

Posted on August 27, 2013 at 9:42 AM
This is part of an "In Their Own Words" series in honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month 2013.  Here at Sweet Pea Births we celebrate and honor all breastfeeding relationships, and want to share these stories with you to empower and inspire you.  No matter how the journey starts, with help, support, and persistence, most mothers can achieve the breastfeeding relationship they want with their nurslings.  If you would like to submit your story, please email me at krystyna{at}sweetpeabirths{dot}com.  Sweet Pea Births understands that not all mothers can or want to breastfeed.  These stories are shared for learning purposes, not to judge the choices we make when we feed our children.

Kate’s Story:
My breastfeeding adventure

I had always known I wanted to breastfeed, and there wasn't really a thought otherwise. During my pregnancy I took a breastfeeding class that I found very informative and helpful! I also knew from friends and family who breastfed that it isn't supposed to hurt, it takes some getting used to and practice, etc. Although I felt ready, nothing could have prepared me for what my experience was actually going to be.

My son was born perfectly healthy, but 5 weeks early and not even 4 pounds. I was planning a home birth, so having him early and at a hospital was way outside of my plan already. There was no clear reason for the pre-term labor and they only had him in the NICU for 6 days out of precaution.

Two hours after he was born they finally let me go to the NICU to hold and attempt to nurse my baby!! A lactation consultant was there and 'helped' him latch. Honestly he nestled and really did it all on his own. So she said, "Great!  That's so awesome and surprising for such an early baby," and left. Seconds later he unlatched and it was all downhill from there.

The NICU nurses told me he couldn't nurse because he was too young and just too tired for it. So, I believed them. Every 2-3 hours I would try nursing (he would often latch, but it wouldn't last long), bottle feed him breast milk (some nurses let me feed him, others refused to let me saying they had to do it themself), and then I would return to my room to pump, eat, and rest. I was lucky if they let me stay with my baby for more then 30min (except one nurse who let me stay as long as I wanted, encouraged bare skin contact the whole time I was there, and let me do everything - feeding, changing). This continued the whole 6 days he was in the NICU - try to nurse, bottle feed what I had pumped, pump some more. Finally we got to go home!

He was still having the same issues with unlatching and seeming very tired. I hated feeding him from a bottle and pumping, it is not at all what I imagined for our relationship. Plus I already felt like I had missed out on his first 6 days of life with all the NICU restrictions (it still saddens me!). I had this gut feeling that something else was causing the nursing issues, but didn't trust myself since the 'professionals' told me why he couldn't nurse. He would latch perfectly, had a wonderful suck, but couldn't last more then 30sec before being tired and upset by hunger. I had been producing/leaking colostrum for at least a month before he was born, milk came in full force on day 3, and I had an oversupply the whole time (common in my family I guess). Finally I decided to go with my mom instinct and schedule an appointment with an IBCLC.

We went to my lactation consult and she weighed my son, felt his suck with a gloved finger, had me show her how I hold him and latch (gave me some pointers to make it easier/more comfortable), and let him nurse as long as he wanted (which wasn't long), and then weighed again to see how much he got. She also checked my pump flanges and they were SO the wrong size and causing lots of discomfort!  I didn't even know they had sizes!! Pretty sure the hospital should mention that when they give you the pump kit there..  anyway... 

When she felt his suck she told me she was pretty sure he had a tongue tie, which was probably the cause of unlatching and tiredness since it makes maintaining the latch and sucking SO much more work. We finished our wonderful, helpful appointment and she referred me to a pediatrician who specializes in tongue-tie.

We set up our consult with the pediatrician as soon as possible. A week later we had our appointment;  sure enough he had a tongue-tie! We set up another appointment for the procedure the next week. He had his tongue-tie clipped at 6-weeks and nursed right after the procedure for the longest so far.

I talked with my husband and we decided to give up bottles cold-turkey now that the tongue tie was taken care of, but I would continue pumping. So, I would offer him my breast and let him nurse or try as long as he wanted and if he was getting upset I would sneak a syringe full of breast milk between his lip and my skin and squeeze in a bit every time he sucked. We continued that for a couple days until I gradually got rid of the syringe as he was healing and getting used to his new tongue mobility. 

After a few days he was, thankfully, nursing happily with not a bottle in sight and I gave my hospital grade pump back to the rental company. I only pumped occasionally to have milk for date nights or if my oversupply was bugging me. Our son nursed happily for 12mo until he weaned himself, my son LOVES food. =D

Looking forward to a second child (hopefully sometime 2014) and breastfeeding again! I will definitely follow my mommy instincts right away next time!!!

Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
We are now enrolling for Fall 2013 Series
The Bradley Method® for New Parents:
September 6, 2013 through November 22, 2013
Classes meet at 6:30 pm

Bradley™ “Next” – full series plus focus on sibling preparation
September 7, 2013 through November 23, 2013
Classes meet at 2:00 pm

For more information or to register, please call us at 602-684-6567 or email us at [email protected]


Categories: Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding Challenges, IBCLC, In Their Own Words, Lactation Consult

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