The Support People Critical to My Breastfeeding Success
When my daughter stopped nursing at two weeks old there were three key people offering support and helping me through it. Without them I might have given up.
It’s World Breastfeeding Week and this year’s theme is support. I’ve been breastfeeding for nearly three years now, in large part due to the support I received in the early days, nights and weeks. Actually, if it wasn’t for three people during the first couple weeks I might not have continued nursing my daughter. I was close to giving up.
While I was pregnant my husband, Brian, and I attended preparation several classes, including a breastfeeding one. Having him in class beside me meant a lot. He became an extra set of eyes and ears for the material and once baby came.
He helped arrange my pillows so I was comfortable and handed my daughter to me once I was situated in my nursing throne. He rubbed my shoulders, brought me water and fixed me food. He’d even keep an eye on me if I started to doze off. But the most important thing he did was yet to come.
I felt confident nursing when we left the hospital. Her latch was good and strong and she was very interested in eating. Too interested, it seemed. This child loved the idea of cluster feeding a little too much. Then shortly after turning two weeks old she stopped latching.
I didn’t know what to do. I sobbed as I tried everything I knew (which wasn’t much in my limited experience). Brian searched online for help and assured me everything would be all right. He offered suggestions he found in a gentle way, but finally urged me to call someone.
That was the best support he could give me in that situation. Baby girl had already missed several feedings. It would have been easy to give up and go get formula, but instead he told me to call the lactation consultant and pediatrician.
I wouldn’t have guessed our pediatrician would be key to our breastfeeding success. We knew he was supportive of it, but I had no idea how he could help me. I tried to call the lactation consultant first, but no one was available. I’m not sure how long we waited for a call back before Brian asked me to call the doctor’s office. He knew something was wrong and I needed to talk to someone.
After calling we were asked to come in right away. Both the doctor and his nurse observed my attempts to nurse. They assured me I didn’t do anything wrong. Since I didn’t have a pump yet, they asked permission to feed my baby which I gave. The doctor encouraged me to keep trying and that she should start nursing again. While he did give me formula samples to take home, it was to feed her until I could express enough breast milk.
I began to feel better about our options and our situation.
The Lactation Consultant
We met with her the next day. It was a long night of pumping and nursing attempts, but she helped identify why my daughter suddenly stopped latching. She called it disorganized sucking, which meant she wasn’t positioning her tongue correctly. Thankfully there was an easy way to fix that and she latched on before the end of our appointment.
I was afraid the lactation consultant would be mad at me for giving my baby not only a bottle, but formula. She assured me we did what was best at the time and to keep pumping and trying to breastfeed.
Every step of the way I was told we would get through this. They were all on the same page, offering the same support. Without any one of them I would have crumbled. Defeated. Given up.
Instead I felt supported. Heard. Committed. And for that I thank them.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN