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Perseverance Through Breastfeeding Struggles

by Kimberly

My daughter and I had a very rough start to breastfeeding.  I knew very little about it, besides I wanted to bf.  When she was born, she didn’t latch on like everyone said she would/should.  I had nurses grabbing my breast and shoving it into my daughters mouth (upsetting us both).  Then I was told she had trouble latching because I had flat nipples.  I had never heard of flat nipples but I was suddenly very ashamed of my body.  I felt disgusting and like a failure.  A hospital lc came in and was rude and unsupportive.  I spent my 2 days in hospital crying and feeling ashamed of myself.  I tried to get dd to latch every hour (or more) and she would just lick the colostrum off my nipple as I would fight back tears.  She had jaundice and I was threatened that she would not leave hospital if she didn’t eat, so we gave her formula and they started me on a hospital grade pump.

I went home feeling depressed.  Pumping in severe pain and supplementing with formula.  After the 4th day I was able to pump enough so she was getting only breast milk.  I went to see my OB, because she was concerned about me getting depressed.  She referred me to a private lc and said the group was more gentle and supportive.  It cost me $90 a session, but it was worth every penny.  I learnt that the hospital gave me the wrong size flanges and my nipples were actually swollen and bruised.  The lc saw this in 30 seconds.  She introduced me to a nipple shield and slowly dd was able to latch.  I asked her (as well as our pedi, the hospital nurses and the hospital lc) if dd could be tongue tied.  everyone told me no.  I spend four long weeks pumping and attempting to get her to use the shield.

At her 3 week pedi appointment the pedi scolded me for pumping.  She told me to get her on the breast and stop pumping.  I broke down in tears.  At this point I had mastitis, thrush and was becoming depressed.  I immediately switched pedis.

I found that there was a lc at my new pedi office and it would only cost me $30.  At 8 weeks (and 3 weeks of exclusively bf with the shield) I went and saw her and she immediately said there was something not right with dd tongue.  We were referred to a specialist and found out she had a severe posterior tongue tie.  She was classified as an inefficient eater and would spend well over an hour for one feed.  Needless to say she was constantly on my boob.  We decided to have the tongue tie fixed.  4 weeks later I was able to begin feeding without the shield.

My dd is now 8.5 months.  She latches like a pro and eats in less then 10 minutes (unless she’s comfort nursing).  She actually refuses a bottle and will only nurse.  I feel fantastic about our bf relationship and have no plans to stop any time soon.

I wish I had known then what I know now.  I wish I had told the nurses to stop shoving my breast in my tiny little girls mouth.  I wish I would have said no to formula and just gone home to heal.  I wish I had told the first pedi to shove it.  I wish my partner knew how much his support meant to me.  But mostly I wish that other mothers who struggle with bf have good support.  It is a beautiful experience and I am so proud of myself each day for pushing through.