Breastfeeding your baby can be a wonderful opportunity to bond while also providing them with the ultimate in nutrition. There are however, a number of reasons why breastfeeding is not possible or may not be the right decision for a woman. No woman should be made to feel bad if she cannot or chooses not to breastfeed. I have a number of friends who really wanted to nurse but were unable to due to low milk supply, breast milk allergies, or illness soon after baby’s birth.
Choosing to breastfeed is great, but not always easy. Just because your body produces milk and it is “natural” does not mean that it will be easy. It is, in my opinion, worth it. So, as I journey into the world of a motherhood for a second time I want to share my experiences, some great, some not so great, but all very honest. 🙂 🙂
My sweet daughter is 3 weeks old. In those 3 weeks we have been on a breastfeeding roller coaster! So, I knew when she was born that she would have tongue tie because my son did. Tongue tie is essentially a condition where a small piece of skin keeps the tongue partially attached to the base of the mouth. As a result, the baby can not extend their tongue fully making it more difficult for them to correctly latch onto the mother’s nipple. My daughter’s tongue tie however, was more severe than Jace’s. That being said, it also caused me more pain while nursing.
**PAUSE** Whenever you begin nursing you are going to experience a certain amount of discomfort because your nipples are not used to being treated that way. LOL Up until now your breasts were used for pleasurable purposes. Now they are being put to work – full time employment. Until your nipples get used to the constant, very intentional sucking of the baby, they will be sore. Apply some nipple cream, cry if you need to (I CRIED), and in a few days the pain will begin to ease up. 🙂 ****
So when I say pain I do not mean the standard “I/m starting to nurse nipple abuse pain. I mean, the skin is literally being ripped from my body, nipples are cracked and bleeding pain. (Sorry to be so graphic, but I think it’s important to be completely honest for the sake of other women seeking to or beginning to nurse and are having difficulty.) At this point I am crying every time I latch her. My midwife has come to our house a number of times to help me work through the pain and correct positioning, but nothing is working. It’s time to go see a lactation consultant/tongue tie specialist! My midwife recommended a great doctor as well as a fantastic Chiropractor who specializes in craniosacral therapy.
Lactation specialist – I highly recommend seeing a lactation consultant when you begin breastfeeding. It can a really great help in building your breastfeeding confidence. 🙂 Having the necessary support is essential to success.
Once we got to the doctor, she observed me nursing, observed Kobi as she latched, examined her lips and tongue positioning. She also showed me some new techniques for getting a better, deeper latch. Even before Kobi had the tongue tie procedure, these techniques really helped. To permanently fix the problem however, the doctor used a tiny laser to cut the skin that was restricting the tongue. It was difficult for me to watch them hold my little girl down, but in the end it was worth it.
Chiropractor – Many people assume that chiropractors are only needed when you have a car accident or to crack your back. While chiropractors can help with these things, they are also available to help in a variety of other ways. While I was pregnant I saw an activator chiropractor who helped adjust me to relieve pelvic pain. Chiropractors can also be specially trained to work on children and babies. A particular therapy that is beneficial for assisting with nursing is called craniosacral therapy.
The chiropractor that we saw was wonderful! She explained everything that she was going to do beforehand. SHE DID NOT CRACK or ADJUST my baby. She was very gentle, watching Kobi as she laid on the table. Based on her observations of the baby’s natural movements and my observations, she was able to determine that Kobi had a slight muscular restriction on her right side. This made her tighten up when nursing. The doctor basically massaged some of her tissue to help correct the restrictions.
Two weeks after seeing both doctors Kobi and I are on our way to a memorable bonding experience. Yes, it hurt at first. Yes, I cried. For me, the benefit out weighed the temporary pain. I think it is important to remember that there is help out there. If you are having pain or difficulty go see a lactation specialist. Get support. In addition to the bonding and health benefits, breastfeeding is also financially beneficial.
P.S. Great perspective – Breastfeeding Management: its-so-much-more-than-just-the-latch