This is my breastfeeding story as a lactation consultant…
After a normal vaginal delivery of our son, Graham, he was placed skin to skin on my chest and soon started to breastfeed. I think Graham breastfed for the first three hours of his life! I thought this was going great! Skin to skin, great first breastfeed, and did I mention that I am a lactation consultant, so I know everything there is to know about breastfeeding! Oh, and I have been a nurse for 10 years and this is our third child…so this is a piece of cake! Yeah, not so much…
When gazing at our beautiful baby boy, I noticed that he had a really tight frenulum (The frenulum is the thing that connects your tongue to the bottom of your mouth. We notice these kinds of things as Lactation Consultants). A tight frenulum can cause issues with breastfeeding and also with speech later in life. Luckily, they can easily be clipped by a pediatrician, which is what happened in our case.
During my stay at the hospital, my nipples were a little tender, but Graham seemed to be doing great! He latched on well and was breastfeeding often. We were sent home on a Friday to fend for ourselves! We get home and all is going great, except, Graham won’t pee. In fact, he hadn’t peed in a really long time (like greater than 24 hours). But, I am a professional, I got this! I just keep breastfeeding and keep him skin to skin as much as possible. Okay, so I start to get a little worried…
I bring Graham in to see how much how much breast milk he is transferring when nursing. This is easy-peasy and done with a scale with none other than a lactation consultant (don’t you just love them?). So, he is doing okay-- Not great, but okay, so I go home and keep nursing.
Still no pee… Now I am not only concerned, but I feel like a complete failure. I give my baby, wait for it....some formula. I know, how could I?!? I mean a lactation consultant? Come on! Believe me, I am crying in my son’s room, while pumping, saying the same thing. I am a complete fraud.
Day three of being home, Graham is finally having some output (hallelujah!) and I am a complete mess! This was supposed to be easy! Third baby, and did I mention that I know everything about breastfeeding? So now, I am breastfeeding and pumping and supplementing when needed, which is often. But why? What went wrong?
Having a frenulectomy can take some time to adjust. He was still healing and his latch and suckling were being adjusted by better tongue movement, he needed to practice breastfeeding. Graham was not very efficient at moving milk or breastfeeding at all, for that matter. And I didn’t even realize it, I mean he was nursing all the time and I wasn’t in excruciating pain. By not being efficient, my milk supply suffered, tremendously. I started on a prescription medication, domperidone, and also some herbal supplements to boost my production, while nursing and pumping every 2 hours.
Eight weeks later, Graham is now breastfeeding efficiently! It took a long time to get us there, but we did it!
The moral of my story is simple, it did not matter that I am a lactation consultant, RN or mother of three--it wasn’t easy for me at all and I needed help, but I didn’t give up! I didn’t need initials behind my name to make me persistent and passionate about giving my baby what I know is best. So to any mom out there who is struggling with breastfeeding, whatever your struggles may be, know that you have support from your lactation consultants and ask for help when you need it. That is why we are here!
For assistance from the Lactation Consultants at The Women's Hospital, please call 812/842.4239.