A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

An Ounce of Determination

 By Guest Blogger LeighAnn

An ounce of determination + an ounce of education and an ounce of support = unlimited ounces of breastmilk



Sounds easy, huh? As I close in on six months of exclusively breastfeeding, easy isn’t what comes to mind, however it’s such an achievement and great gift to my dear Macie.

I am a mother of two sweet girls, one formula fed and one currently breastfed. With my first baby I thought a little determination could carry me through the whole equation and yield me “unlimited ounces of breastmilk” but boy was I wrong!  I knew I wanted to exclusively breastfeed but I wasn’t nearly educated enough and lacked any type of support ultimately leading to formula. I now believe the equation must be complete in order to succeed, any missing piece could lead you down the formula aisle in tears right behind me.

LeighAnn's daughter

I had a notion that I’d have my baby, she’d latch and never see a bottle but she didn’t latch well in the hospital or at home, lost weight, got dehydrated, jaundiced and was tube fed in the NICU…not my ideal situation. Once she was stable I kept pumping but no milk even at 7 days postpartum so after many, many tears I found myself whaling in the Target formula aisle. I felt so ashamed but if I knew what I do now about proper support and education it could’ve been so different, still not easy but different.

With baby number two on the way I decided to arm myself with same determination but add in more breastfeeding education and find support before she arrived. I have read every breastfeeding article, know about latch issues, food allergies and about every “problem” I could have and made note of the lactation consultant’s information in the hospital.

LeighAnn's daughter

Baby number two came and latched beautifully on day one, had adequate diapers and I thought we were going to breeze through a year of exclusive breastfeeding, wrong again! First of all she lost too much weight and was slightly jaundiced so I followed orders and supplemented for the first few days but pumped after every feeding and ultimately got my milk in. She hasn’t had a bottle since eight days old and I was back to feeling accomplished. Next her stools were complete diarrhea and mucous so over the next few weeks I went allergen free, all allergens, egg, nuts, diary, soy, fish and gluten without any changes. She was gaining weight and meeting milestones but I knew this wasn’t normal so I called in Barbara Miller to take a look and see what she thought.

Our feedings were lengthy and I figured it was just a slow eater and nothing else, wrong again, severe tongue tie! Seriously? Yes, a severe tongue tie caused our hour plus long feedings, I took care of that with Barbara’s help with a referral for a laser procedure. Because she was around 16 weeks old, our healing time was about 2 weeks. Feedings got shorter but diapers remained the same and now we had eczema!

My first baby has severe food allergies so all of these symptoms were familiar to me but being allergen free wasn’t helping.

LeighAnn's daughter

I was referred by the pediatrician to a pediatric GI doctor who immediately told me my baby needs formula and a biopsy! I flipped out, again in tears and whaling over the thought of formula and bottles! I refused to take this as the answer, how could baby be allergic to momma and her milk? That devastating news led me to dig deeper and miss Barbara called to see how it went and knew this was a momma on the edge and went to work for me, she researched more than I could ever thank her for and got me an appointment for a second opinion and I went to an allergist in the mean time for a third opinion to find out that a well-known allergist and the top pediatric GI physician in town said DON’T stop breastfeeding! Seriously? These two physicians felt like the diarrhea/mucous weren’t enough issues to stop breastfeeding if we continued to gain weight and meet milestones. They wanted to deal with the eczema and move forward with breastfeeding.  Even though I thought I was a well-educated mother with enough determination I still needed the right support to keep this breastfeeding journey afloat. I continue to be allergen free since I’m healthy, baby is healthy and gaining well and I just don’t feel the need to “rock the boat” if not necessary. The allergist has given me information and test results indicating that I could add in some food groups but it’s just not a desire of mine at this point, I do well on a fairly raw food, clean eating diet.

If it weren’t for each piece of the equation, I’d be in the formula aisle feeling defeated once more. I’m not saying that medical conditions don’t exist that require formula but I was being told by a professional that we had that circumstance when we really just needed to get another opinion and wouldn’t have had that option without proper determination, education and definitely the right support and now my equation surely equals UNLIMITED ounces of breastmilk.