Fed is Best: Finding Support During Breastfeeding

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When my son was born almost 3 years ago he nursed almost immediately after delivery and did so for 15 months. When my daughter was born not even 2 years later she nursed almost immediately after delivery but hardly gained weight.

This photo was taken the moment it clicked for me that not all babies are the same, not even your own.

But I did this already? I knew how to nurse. I knew what a latch was and knew what let down felt like. I had all my

I knew what a latch was and knew what letdown felt like. I had all my favorite nursing bras, a pumping schedule to load up my freezer stash. I had all of this but also had a baby who wasn’t getting any milk and not gaining weight. 

I knew first-hand the bond breastfeeding can create. And out of nowhere, I had this baby who needed formula. With it came an awful stigma about formula; however being a formula-fed baby myself, I wasn’t sure where that stigma came from. In the end, I realized that breast and bottle nurtured that very same bond.

If you’re struggling with breastfeeding right now, here are some tips and hope for you. You and your baby will find your groove, I promise.

  1. Unless advised by a doctor DO NOT go to a hospital and rent out a baby scale. This was my first mistake. I rented out a scale and weighed my baby girl after almost every nursing session for a week. This drove me absolutely bonkers and I almost found myself falling into anxiety and depression. It was psychotic to weigh a human after every nursing session. Her weight would move from 7 lbs 4 oz to 7 lbs 4.5 oz and my heart would sink because that magic number was 5. She needed 5 oz every feeding. She only received .5 oz at that feeding. What was I doing wrong? 
  2. Utilize the Lactation Consultant at the hospital where you delivered. There is no one size fits all nursing plan. Maybe your baby needs to supplement like mine did. Maybe you need a different pumping approach to boost supply. Maybe your latch stinks because your babies mouth is too tiny for your big boobs! (Seriously, it happens) Whatever it is a Lactation Consultant can help you get to the bottom of it.Ok, I didn’t hate my lactation consultant but she was the one who told me to supplement and I struggled with it. However, she gave me the permission to do something I was so fearful of, without warrant, but fearful just the same. In this same breath, my lactation consultant had me on a pumping schedule where I would pump after each feeding, even at night. Even at night. The middle, wee hours of the night are of course the most important because that is when the hormone that boost supply is at its highest. How unfair? My sweet husband in bed with me and our new daughter, cords everywhere and that dreaded, “Ree-Raa, Ree-Raa, Ree-Raa” pumping sound. It was then my husband who stopped this madness after about a week and I thank God he did.My advice to you: Do what works for you. Take all the advice from your Lactation Consultant and then make sure it jives with your life and with your new family. 
  3. Seek out other Lactation Consultants and support groups. The Nappy Shoppe in Plano is a wonderful space for moms to come together and support each other on their nursing journey. Certified lactation consultants are on site and by appointment to help with latch, supply, and honestly to answer any questions you may have. I found myself here in addition to seeking help at our hospital. 
  4. When all else fails, FED is BEST. Nursing, while beautiful, isn’t our end goal ladies — even though in the chaos and emotional state that is postpartum it may feel that way. Our end goal is to raise healthy, tiny humans. If your baby isn’t gaining weight, no matter how gung-ho we are on nursing, we must supplement. And, maybe one day you’ll be able to stop. Or maybe you won’t. I do know when they’re 1 and eating pancakes and strawberries you won’t think twice about how many ounces they drank from your boob or a bottle.

 

Need to find a Lactation Consultant? Here are a few contacts that might be helpful:

Baylor Frisco: 214-407-5535

Texas Health Allen: 972-747-6377

Medical Center of McKinney: 972) 547-8000

Texas Health Plano: 972-981-8454

Nappy Shoppe:  469-371-5448 

La Leche League