Friday, April 27, 2012
Feeding my babies
Breast feeding for some comes real natural for others it takes tons of patience and determination. I have had two different experiences that I would like to share with others. Maybe I can encourage some moms through a tough time.
As a first time mom 7 years ago, I was young and did not know much about breast feeding. My mom did not breast feed us so she did not know much about it either. I knew I wanted to do it because it was “the best thing” for the baby. I did not know how hard it would be. I did not know how much support I was going to need… I was clueless!!! Needless to say, I didn’t last very long. In my mind, I thought that it was all or nothing. My son was a very hungry baby. I was a very stressed out first time mommy in a marriage that was falling apart with a man who was not supportive at all. My son would eat every hour, I would try to pump but I just did not have enough time to do anything. I was a disaster! This lasted for about 6 weeks until I called it quits. I gave in and gave him formula and I felt so guilty! This was not a good experience. I felt alone and like a failure… I couldn’t feed my baby, I must have been a horrible mom. (UGH! What a horrible time in my life, I am sure there were also post-partum hormones to blame as well.)
After reading parenting magazines, books, websites, blogs I realized that I could have stuck it out and things would have been better… which made me feel even guiltier! I told myself that the next time I had a baby I would not give up and I will be more knowledgeable and get the help I need in order for me to successfully breast feed. I was determined!
Years later, after a divorce (I am not promoting, or telling others to do this, lol) and meeting an amazing man I had my second son, Austin. This time I was not going to let this opportunity to pass. I was ready to go full force. The day the baby was born I put him to my breast and remembered how I had Brandon latch on for the first time… I wasn’t successful! Austin would not latch on properly. I asked the nurse, she would physically help me to get him on and he would try but nothing! I begged for a lactation consultant to come visit me in the room. They would come in and reassure me that he will, just give it time. I told myself, “its ok, I will do this!” I was prepared this time though. I was ok with giving him formula to supplement while we learn this together. (I would have never thought about this with Brandon) So we gave him formula and just kept on trying. I pumped and would give him any little drop I produced. My breasts were so tender with all the failed attempts to latch him on. I went home and called all the support hot-lines that the hospital provided. This was during Christmas holidays and many offices were closed or not responding. I finally left a message to a lactation specialist/doula and I got a call back a few minutes later. I explained what was happening and how I needed to be able to breast feed. She told me matter-of-factly, “You will, I will help you, it is not too late”. That was an angels voice on the phone, I was sure! I was excited! We scheduled an at home appointment and the next thing I knew she was actually there. She was so down to earth and helpful. The first thing she did was a physical exam on the baby. It was that simple, she knew what was wrong. My son was born with a Tight Frenulum (Tongue Tied). My son was not able to latch on because he just physically couldn’t. We tried using a nipple shield in the meantime and this worked. By the following week we had a very quick and simple procedure and we had it fixed. I thought I was going to be able to breast feed with no problem... didn’t happen. Turns out that by this time he was used to nursing with a nipple shield and would still not latch on. I did not care though. I decided that if he would drink that way, that is just the way I will nurse. Not a big deal. I was producing and he was drinking.
I would take that shield everywhere and he would happily nurse that way. A few months later (4months) I tried without the shield just to see what he would do. He actually latched on. While Im at work I pump and he drinks breast milk out of his bottle at daycare. When I get home and throughout the night we are successfully nursing without a problem. I am so glad that I continued and did not give up.
I am sure that I am not the only one who has had a rough start. Please share your stories so that maybe we can help a new mom.