A few months ago, we sent out a Call for Breastfeeding Stories. Our desire was to flood the Internet with beautiful breastfeeding stories of triumph, overcoming challenges and struggles, and positive outcomes, regardless of the total amount of milk a mom was producing. We are thrilled to share these stories with you, our readers, and hope that they offer support and inspiration for you, wherever you are in your breastfeeding journey.
Thank you to all of the mothers who submitted their stories! If after you read these memoirs you are inspired to submit your story, feel free to send it to RobinKaplan@sdbfc.com.
This Breastfeeding Memoir is from Natalie.
Before my son was even born, I knew I wanted to breastfeed him. I attended multiple classes on breastfeeding, stocked up on nursing pads, nipple butter, and felt as prepared as I could be prior to his arrival. After a precipitous labor/delivery, he ended up being born in front of the hospital! One benefit was that I got to hold him immediately, so we had lots of skin to skin time which was emphasized in the classes. We tried breastfeeding within one hour of his birth, and he immediately latched! We had a lactation consultant visit at the hospital, and she said everything looked great! I even scheduled my first lactation appointment at SD Breastfeeding Center when my son was 4 days old. We weren't having issues, but I quickly learned that breastfeeding my son was way different than the practice doll we used in the class! During that visit, I learned my son had lip and tongue ties. Nobody else evaluated him for these, but being tongue tied myself it didn't come as much of a surprise. Fortunately, he was transferring well and the ties did not seem to be interfering with his feeding.
Fast forward 2 weeks, and my son was not at his birth weight. He was feeding for over an hour, falling asleep, and seemed very irritable and unhappy. As a new mom, I assumed this was normal. I pushed on for another week and then decided to schedule another visit with the LC for an evaluation. There, I did a weighted feed and learned that he wasn't transferring effectively. The LC explained how he was being restricted by his lip and tongue ties, and this could potentially decrease my supply. She recommended I consider a release of his ties, so I immediately called a provider and had them addressed the next day.
I read how many mothers noticed instant results and symptom relief post release. I didn't notice immediate results, but was confident that things would improve over the next few weeks. When they didn't, I followed up with Melanie, our LC. She assessed him and noticed that he still seemed restricted, wasn't transferring adequately, and recommended we take him for body work. Due to his poor weight gain (6 oz in 2 weeks) she taught me how to use my breast pump and implement an SNS (supplemental nursing system). She also recommended a galactagogue supplement. Things weren't moving in the direction I wanted, but I was committed to do everything I could to continue breastfeeding.
At this point, I was feeling very defeated and inadequate. I felt like I was doing everything I could, and was so sad that my little baby was not growing at the rate he should. My pregnancy and delivery were so natural and without issue that I naively thought breastfeeding would follow. I called my sister in law, who happens to be a breastfeeding mother. She immediately came over with galactagogue-rich foods and tea, and even pumped for my son while I built up my supply!
After additional LC visits, support groups, and the implementation of bodywork, I made the decision to have a second release for my son. Even though we are still post op and performing stretches, I already am seeing results. My son is happier, and I no longer have to use the SNS system. I have a nice freezer stash of my milk, and he is thriving with weight gain. He's not even three months old, so I don't know how this journey will end. I do know, however, that I'll do everything I can to preserve our nursing relationship. Without the help of multiple providers, I'm not sure where we would be. "It takes a village" is such an appropriate phrase for this season of my life. I am so thankful to live in a community that has SO much support for breastfeeding mothers.