Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Breastfeeding Blog Hop: Support ~ Week 7

My mom has been my biggest supporter and advocate through this breastfeeding journey.

It started as soon as she found out I was planning to breastfeed.

It wasn't until then that I found out that my mom was never able to successfully breastfeed me.  I remember my mom breastfeeding my sisters, at least for a little while, but I guesss I never really gave it much thought.  I'd always just assumed I was breastfed. 

I was born in 1981, a year when just over half of new moms breastfed.  Neither of my grandmothers breastfed because it just wasn't what you did at the time.  They weren't able to provide support to my mom.  I had difficulty latching, and I quickly lost weight.  She became self-conscious of her decision to breastfeed and felt that everyone was blaming her for my weight loss, which could easily be rectified by switching to formula.  Over time, she reluctantly gave in and switched to formula.  She had more success with my sisters, but only nursed my sisters for the first 6 weeks or so because it was too hard.  She promised that when I had my baby, she would be there to support me, no matter what I decided to do.

But I wouldn't need support.  I was prepared. 

I attended prenatal breastfeeding classes, read everything I could get my hands on, and adjusted my birth plan to make sure that latching on in the delivery room was a priority.  My baby would do just fine.

And then she didn't.

The first encounters with breastfeeding were difficult, but I wasn't too worried.  The day after we left the hospital, I took Bug in for a weight check.  Her weight had dipped from her birth weight of 8 pounds 11 ounces to 7 pounds 9 ounces, and her Pediatrician recommended I supplement.  I'd pump to maintain my supply, and it was a temporary solution.  She'd have her tied-tongue clipped, and it she'd be a breastfeeding baby in no time. 

I called my mom every night to update her on Bug's progress and told her everything was going just fine.  And every night she told me that if it ever wasn't fine, she'd be there for me.

The night before Bug's surgery, I told her that I wasn't expecting much, but I was hoping that there would be some noticible change.  My mom said that if there wasn't, she'd be there for me.

I was worried about the surgery, but Bug slept through the whole thing.  The doctor numbed her tongue and then held it up with a tongue depressor and clipped her frenulum with a tiny pair of scissors.  And just like that, it was done.  Later that evening, Bug experimented with her new tongue, rolling it around in her mouth. 

I decided to give breastfeeding a try.  We'd been given a nipple shield by a lactation consultant at our last appointment.  I placed it on my nipple, positioned Bug, and tried to get her to feed.  She gummed the nipple a few times then burst into hysterical tears.  I cried with her. 

DH supported me the best way he new how.  He told me that it was okay if she was never able to latch on.  He told me we could use formula, or I could continue to pump and everything would be fine.

But it wasn't fine with me. 

I called my mom for our nightly check in, and told her that the surgery had gone well, and everything was fine.  And she told me that if it wasn't, that was okay too. 

Once again, I burst into tears, and so did she. We spent a long time crying on the phone together and sharing this mutual heartbreak.  I don't know what I would have done without her support.

We are still struggling, and I am reaching out in every way that I know how.  We've been to support groups, lactation consultants associated with our insurance company, outside lactation consultants and tomorrow we are heading to a La Leche League meeting.  I am hoping that at some point, Bug will be able to latch consistently and I'm doing everything I can to make that happen.

But if it doesn't, I know my mom will be there to support me.


  1. Oh girl, I'm crying! The hours and hours I spent crying over what to do with my #2 guy when he wouldnt latch right, and the bleeding and the chafing and the pain. I know that heartbreak so well! You are doing all the things I would recommend, I had a lactation consultant come to my home and I did the nipple shield, I pumped, I supplemented, and it took a few weeks of pumping and using the shield (I never got his tongue checked out though and in hindsight I wish I had) but eventually, eventually he got it. And then, funny enough, I had the opposite problem, he'd never take a bottle! LMAO!! But we nursed almost up until a year. It was a rough start but I am so glad I stuck with it and woudnt change a thing. Had I not stuck with it, I would have had the support from my family either way and that is so so important. I'm so glad you have the support. Keep us posted and always always know that whatever it is you decide to do, whether it's to stick with it or move on, you are doing what's right for you. *hugs*

  2. I first this on my ipod this morning at 2 am and I was teary eyed! You are very brave to share your stories and your blog will be an asset to those who need to find hope! You go sister friend!

  3. That is so wonderful that you have your mom's support!! You are a lucky woman!

    My mom did not breastfeed, and I actually didn't know anyone who breastfed growing up. My son is 8 months old and today my mom still tried to encourage me to give cereal to my son since it has "so many vitamins." I reminded her that since my baby is fully breastfed, I don't have to feed him something he doesn't want to get vitamins in him.... sigh... ;-)

    Following you via the Breastfeeding Blog Hop!

  4. i have my mom's support too! isn't it great!?!?

    thanks for linking up for this week's blog hop!

  5. I was born in '81 too :) My mom bfed me for about 6 weeks then was worried I wasn't eating enough.

    Did women obsess over that as much before formula was popular? I have a feeling I was eating just fine..but even a little while is beneficial.

    I'm glad your mom is there for you and your hubby's way of supporting is good too - no need for anyone saying it's bad if you can't continue.

    I wish you luck and strength to keep at it. Bug is still learning with the new tongue freedom! My sister-in-laws boys (both of em) had latch issues so she nursed & pumped to supplement. Around 4-6 wks the "suddenly latched" is what she tells me.

    I've also read that oftentimes latch issues seem to resolve around 4-6 wks.. maybe bigger mouth helps?

    Stay strong!
    Darcy @ Tales From the Nursery

  6. Thanks everyone for the support. I am determined to exhaust my resources before giving up. We are seeing another LC on Tuesday.

  7. Hey! I found you on the blog hop! It's so great that you have an awesome support system!