Friday, November 30, 2012

Lets be honest. It's not always easy.

Four years ago I never would have imagined I would be where I am today, helping Moms and babies breastfeed.  See, four years ago I was struggling to breastfeed my newborn daughter.  When I was pregnant I had visions of spending my maternity leave cuddling with my new baby and of course breastfeeding.  Little did I know how hard it would be.  I will never forget sitting on the bed in our guest bedroom and crying out of frustration and feeling completely helpless as my baby girl screamed and cried as I tried to latch her on.  From there I spent six weeks enduring excruciatingly painful feedings that lasted an hour or more.  This wasn't how it was supposed to be!  So, why didn't I get help?  I did!  I had a lactation consultant come to my home.  She spent over an hour with us.  She helped me latch my daughter.  She said everything looked great but then we weighed her she hadn't gained any weight!  What was going on?  Well, we figured it out- we meaning my husband and I.  My daughter was tongue-tied.  Why hadn't anyone- our pediatrician, the lactation consultant, the nurses in the hospital- why hadn't anyone noticed this?  We got it clipped, but it was too late.  I was beyond frustrated and my daughter had been latching the wrong way for so long I just didn't have the energy to fix it at that point.  So, I pumped.  For seven months I pumped.

I was determined that when I had my second child it would be different.  I had learned from my experience with my daughter and believed it wouldn't, couldn't happen again.  My son was born with a cleft lip but thankfully it did not affect his ability to latch.  And you better believe one of the first things I did was check if he was tongue-tied!  So, things were going well but then my milk came in.  And man did it come in.  Suddenly my sweet little boy was crazy fussy, before and after feedings.  I was at my wits end!  Was he not getting enough or was he getting too much?  I was so confused.  Was this really happening again?  So, I pumped and I didn't stop for seven months.

So I am now a lactation consultant who didn't actually breastfeed her own children!  Ironic, right?  I think it has given me a unique perspective.  I know first hand how painful, challenging, and exhausting breastfeeding can be.  I have been there.  But as a lactation consultant I also know it doesn't have to be that way, it shouldn't be that way.  New Mom's need and deserve the right information and support so they can have a successful experience.  Although breastfeeding is natural it doesn't always come naturally.  I don't want any new Mom to struggle like I did.  There is nothing more rewarding than helping a Mom learn to feed her baby.

So, if I have a third baby will I breastfeed?  Of course.  Third times a charm, right!?

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