When Natural, Doesn’t Come Naturally.
My whole life I have wanted to become a mother. It literally was a mission of mine. Nothing else mattered.
I always assumed I would breastfeed. As I got older and became a Doula and Birthing From Within Mentor and started working with lots of pregnant moms, I learned more about breastfeeding. I knew all the IBCLC’s in town. I knew that the first couple of weeks could be tough, that both mother and baby were learning something new.
Before I had my daughter I thought that breastfeeding always works out. I thought that the only time it didn’t work out, is if a mom was booby trapped and didn’t have access to a good IBCLC to help her through the rough spots. I thought that as long you tried hard enough, and did all the right things, it always works out.
Before, I became a mother, I used to mentally poo-poo all the women I came across who said they didn’t make enough milk or that their baby wouldn’t latch. I mentally judged them up and down and thought, well you didn’t try this, or you didn’t try this, you are just lazy, etc…
Oh, did I get put in my place when my daughter was born.
Here’s the short story of our breastfeeding perfect storm:
- I have flat nipples
- Penelope had severe tongue tie
- She also had TMJ from a cervical subluxation. Making it difficult and painful for to lay on her side and open her mouth, this also made her have a weak suck (from nerve endings not communicating properly with each other)
We had everything going for us, supportive and knowledgeable midwives, a peaceful home, water birth with my daughter being born into my own hands and being pulled up from the water straight to my chest. We had access and the funds available to pay for the best IBCLC in town to come to my house within 12 hours of birth.
And yet it never worked out.
Not really. At five months, after spending thousands of dollars on appointments with a ton of different people (chiropractors to energy healers and I even scoured the country to find the best IBCLC that knew the most about getting older babies to nurse for the first time and worked with her via Skype) to help us, my daughter finally was able to comfort nurse.
I could nurse her to sleep, and while she was sleeping. As she got older and she got the hang of nursing better and realized she really liked it, I could nurse her during the day for comfort.
Note, I keep saying for comfort.
I still had to exclusively pump for her. I pumped for 18 months and she had frozen milk till she was 24 months.
I still comfort nurse her, now at 30 months old and I am so grateful for that time and experience. I realize that I was lucky. Most mother’s and babies in our situation don’t even have that. All they have is bottle nursing.
My reason for wanting to guest post here on the Leaky Boob is get the word out that, yes, sometimes, nursing does not work out and to ask the breastfeeding community to have compassion for those mothers.
And to make it clear that mother’s who exclusively pump are breastfeeding. I can’t tell you many times I felt like a second class citizen among mother’s in my town that were nursing like normal. It took several months for me to get it in my head that I was in fact breastfeeding. My child never was fed anything that didn’t come out of my breast. She did have a few bottles of donated breast milk in the early days before I built up my supply.
I also want mother’s to know that if nursing has not worked out, there are still things you can do to get baby back to breast if you are so inclined to try. You may only succeed in getting baby to comfort nurse, but it is possible to not even have to pump.
I have written extensively about extreme breastfeeding difficulites and exclusive pumping and I am still no where near done getting the information out of my head and in written form. I would honestly love to write a book about it one day, because there is truly a void in IBCLC’s trainings and information for mother’s on the market.
Here is what I have written so far for your reference.
I hope this helps some mama’s who need it.