Monday, August 4, 2014

Breastfeeding: The Quest Continues

I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy Leon on June 5, 2014 and was determined to breastfeed. The lactation consultant came in about 2 hours post-birth because he would not latch. She informed me that he had a severe tongue tie and that I would have to pump until it was corrected in an out-patient ENT office. For the first 5 days of his life, my husband would finger feed him my colostrum and milk through a tube while I pumped. Once his tongue tie was “fixed”, he latched, but I noticed that feeding him was getting increasingly painful to the point where I was dreading nursing him. I resorted to using the nipple shield, which was very helpful during this time.

I went to 3 different lactation consultants for a total of 4 times over the next 3 weeks to try to determine why breastfeeding was causing pain and so that I could stop using the nipple shield. I was told everything from you have Reynaud’s syndrome, his tongue tie needs to be redone, you have flat nipples, you have an overactive letdown, he has a lip tie, he has a bad latch, you’re holding him incorrectly, he’s compressing your nipple and finally, the nipple shield seems to be working so just keep using it. Well, as much as I am thankful for the nipple shield because it has allowed me to continue nursing my son without pain, it is an inconvenience to use in public. I took the advice from the second lactation consultant and had his tongue and lip tie reevaluated by a recommended breastfeeding friendly doctor. He agreed that a lip tie and second tongue tie procedure were necessary. We are currently 2 weeks post procedure and I am sad to say I am still using the nipple shield. I think the procedure helped, it took a lot longer for my nipples to feel painful when nursing; I actually thought for a second that I could ditch the shield. But after a week of nursing him with no shield, the pain came back. I am not giving up yet and will work with my son until he is able to latch without compressing my flat, overactive letdown nipples. Until then I am thankful for the nipple shield that is allowing me to nurse my baby.
When I think about the challenges I have faced, they are nothing compared to stories I have read from others. For example I have never struggled with low supply, clogged ducts, mastitis, cracked or bleeding nipples, the list goes on. I think the reality is, breastfeeding is not as easy at is looks, but when you get it right, it’s the most rewarding experience to know that you are providing your child with the best nourishment they can get.



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