Thursday, July 24, 2014

Breastfeeding Goals Then and Now: A Breastfeeding Carnival Post Day 7

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival! This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about how your breastfeeding goals have changed. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!  

Today will be a more detailed version of how I got to my goals and the difficulties we went through which helped shape my goals.  At times it was just a daily thing-just get through the day and go on to tomorrow if we can get through today.

Monkey: When I had Monkey my goals was to breastfeed for 6 months.  Right around the time he was born I learned that it was beneficial to breastfeed for at least a year.  I set 6 months as a stepping stone.  When he couldn't latch at birth I was devastated!  I thought that by taking a breastfeeding class in my Maternal and Infant Nutrition course as part of my degree that I would learn everything that I needed to know to be successful but it didn't. I did everything right and he still couldn't latch.

Everyone told me to give up and just pump until I dried up but a nurse said he was tongue tied.  The Pediatrician refused to clip it.  I hated bonding with the pump.  I couldn't feed my baby be ause I had to have my nipples ripped apart by a pump.  I wasn't allowed to take one home.  I was sent home with formula and at a loss of what I should do other than contact an Ear Nose and Throat doctor the next day that one of the nurses recommended.  My parents bought me an Avent Isis hand pump because I NEEDED something and couldn't afford an electric.  That first night was miserable.  I was pumping almost constantly with absolutely NO result whatsoever.  He screamed all night because we had no idea what we were doing.  A car ride at 2 AM finally put him to sleep but I don't think any of us got more than an hour total that night.

The next day I called the ENT and they squeezed me in that afternoon.  He slept through the clipping with scissors.  He latched on to me one time.  He nursed for 30 glorious minutes.  Hope.  He never latched again though.  I cried.

My goal became to see an IBCLC the next day and figure out if I could SOMEHOW get a pump.  I still had no insurance to cover it.  That night, my milk started to come in and Monkey refused formula.  I wasn't pumping what he needed though (pumps are not nearly as effective as baby and I've never been able to get much if any colostrum out for my baby to take but fortunately I didn't HAVE to pump from the get-go after Monkey).  I pumped 2 hours straight, changing bottles and handing off the couple ounces to Spencer so he could give it to screaming starving Monkey. 

The next day I saw an IBCLC and I got a nipple shield and he latched on to the shield.  A few weeks in I heard horror stories again about how I would dry up if I didn't wean him off of it.  I tried everything.  He never was able to wean from that nipple shield.  Now I know that he had a lip tie that prevented his mouth from staying open to stay on my nipple.  I wish I would have known about them back then.  I also wish I would have known about an SNS and donor milk so that I wouldn't have had to put Monkey on formula from the beginning.  I wish I wouldn't have had such pushy nurses and a REALLY rude Pediatrician.  All I can do with these wishes is try to help new mothers learn about breastfeeding, teach them who to contact for immediate help, and hopefully someday as an IBCLC I can help educate doctors and nurses about breastfeeding (in my experience though they often don't like to listen to someone they don't consider their equal) so that moms and babies don't have to suffer.  I wouldn't be surprised if some of Monkey's allergy issues were made worse by giving him formula in the beginning.  He also was extremely colicky which I think was due to the ties and his gut health not being so great not getting the colostrum in the beginning.

With Monkey we hit 6 months breastfeeding and I used that stepping stone to get to a year.  We made it a year.  I decided I wanted to nurse him until he was 18 months.  He had other plans and weaned at 14 1/2 months.

Kangaroo: When I was pregnant with Kangaroo I set my sights on 18 months.  He had a really rough 8 weeks.  He was also tongue tied but it was clipped with scissors within 2 hours of birth.  We had a REALLY rocky 8 weeks.  At times I just hoped we'd make it through the day.  Finally we hit our groove.  When he got teeth I was in a lot of pain most of the time.  I know now that he also has a lip tie though not as bad as Monkey's.  I believe his tongue also reattached and he has had major gagging issues and vomiting because of his oral defensive sensory issues.  He's been in Occupational Therapy for it but we plan to get his tongue and lip ties revised with a laser as soon as the insurance allows.  Fortunately, I was able to breastfeed him until I got pregnant with Roxy.  I started bleeding the day I found out, Mother's Day, so I had to stop breastfeeding him but when the bleeding stopped the next day I decided that he could nurse one more time so we both had good memories of our last session.  By the time I helped him finish weaning he was only nursing to go to sleep and not every night.  He was 2 +4 months.

Roxy: I have hit the 6 month mark with the little gal.  We had a very difficult first 4 months-even more than with the boys.  Now my goal is to nurse until she is at least 2 unless she has other plans and we'll just see how it goes afterwards.  With her it was just let's make it through this nursing session for many weeks.  It took two tongue tie revisions (5 weeks and 3 1/2ish months) and the lip revision she had at 5 weeks and some time afterwards before we hit a groove.  I was screaming in pain from weeks 2-5 every time she nursed.  I cried much of the time afterwards.  I knew it wasn't normal or right but had a hard time getting some doctors to listen so fortunately I knew who to turn to and was super pushy because I refused to give up.  She is our last baby.  I am trying to savor every moment.  Once she reaches 2 I guess we'll see where breastfeeding takes us.  Right now I'm just trying to love every single moment with her.

Photo by Alicia

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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