Christen's Breastfeeding Journey

Christen soon after her son was born

Christen soon after her son was born

"My second baby was born Jan of 2015. I thought that since I had successfully breastfeed by first for 18 months that this time would be second nature.

I was wrong!

My breastfeeding journey started at 38 weeks pregnant when I started pumping once a day for 10 min. With my first it had taken a long time for my milk to come in.  During this pregnancy I read a book called "Making More Milk" that teaches you causes and solutions  for low milk supply. I know now that my low supply with my first baby was due to thyroid disease, so this time I wanted to make sure I would have a some colostrom saved in case my milk took a long time to come in again. After two weeks of pumping before baby was born, I had about 2 oz of colostrum to feed my newborn.

When my son was born he nursed within 30 min of birth. That night, like most babies, he was difficult to keep awake and only would nurse 5 min at a time. The nurse that delivered my son, (yes I typed that correctly the nurse delivered him!) noticed that his tongue was tied at the tip. So, in the hospital we started using a breast pump to keep up my milk supply, and a nipple shield to help with my baby's poor suck and disinterest in nursing. I didn't want to use any bottles, so we started using a syringe and a tube to try and get him to feed. It took a hour for him to take 1 oz this way in the hospital.

Luckily one of my nurses was a mother of twins that were both tongue tied.  She provided me with lots of resources for lactation consultants and doctors who could help.  She was very supportive of the alternative methods we were using to supplement our baby. On the day we were discharged (2 days) we had his severe tongue tie clipped. Things improved, but it was still painful to nurse on one side. He would only nurse in cross cradle hold on one side and football on the other side. I saw an IBCLC who told me that he may have been in a contorted position in utero, causing neck constriction.  So I began head/neck stretches and the nursing pain went away. However, he still did not have a strong suck.

At 4 weeks he was referred back for a second tongue tie procedure, and at this time he was also diagnosed with a lip tie. After the second tongue tie procedure we did suck training exercises and stretches to make sure the tongue did not re-attach. This improved his suck and nursing skills but he still did not have a good seal when he nursed, and would often leak milk out of his mouth. So at 6 weeks we had his lip tie clipped and this made the leaking go away. We continued to use the nipple shield and pump as often as possible with a 3 year old running around also to maintain a good supply.

By the time I returned to work at 10 weeks we were off the nipple shield and only pumping at work. Since I work 15 hour days, he then started refusing to nurse at the breast. I would just continue to put him to the breast whenever I was not at work and now, although he still prefers the bottle he will nurse at the breast unless he is very distracted.

My breastfeeding advice for new mamas:  

Breastfeeding is the hardest natural thing you will ever do!

Don't give up.

Seek help early and often!"