On the road to motherhood
Catherine Young's book, Breastfeeding Anyway, was very helpful
in ensuring our breastfeeding success. I hope that our story may in turn
offer hope and encouragement to others.
My daughter Mylène and I had difficulty with latch for various reasons.
I have large soft breasts with large aeorlas. Mylène would suck her
tongue - a habit developed in utero and suckled at the breast while
breastfeeding. In addition, I was given a nipple shield to use after her
birth due to the size and shape of my breasts.
I was well prepared to begin a positive breastfeeding relationship.
Armed with information gathered at group support meetings, book reviews
and with my trusty nursing pillow, I awaited Mylène`s birth.
As soon as she was born, I introduced her to my breasts. I continued
offering my breasts well into the night. We were having difficulty
as my nipples were retracting and there was large amounts of breast tissue
for such a small mouth. A nipple shield was introduced in
order to facilitate the latch. It was withdrawn the next day,
however the damage was done.
At first, Mylène seemed to be feeding well but she was losing weight,
brickstaining, had little bowel movements and was becoming listless.
It took a week before her suckling behavior was discovered despite
frequent verifications of her latch by health professionals. We
attempted to correct the latch but she was hungry, uncooperative and did
not seem to have the energy required to overcome these difficulties.
Exhausted, worried if not frantic and convinced that Mylène was starving
to death, I consulted a lactation consultant. Our work then began in
earnest. I expressed breastmilk continuously, or so it seemed, both night
and day to ensure my milk supply. We fed this milk to Mylène first
with a syringe, then a cup and when exhaustion became too great, a bottle
was introduced. I was discouraged and saddened as I believed that the
introduction of a bottle ruined all chances of establishing a
breastfeeding relationship with my daughter. I was, however,
extremely relieved that she was eating. Her bowel movements became
regular, and she became a happy child. I imagined a year of pumping
and feeding resigning myself to a very limited schedule. But my initial
goal was achieved, she was drinking breastmilk!
We continued our attempts at breastfeeding. As her latch was still
very poor, a nipple shield was reintroduced. To my surprise, Mylène
latched on perfectly ! It was heaven! After weeks of pumping
and feeding, we were breastfeeding with a little help. My anxiety
greatly diminished and I accepted that the nipple shield would now be a
part of our breastfeeding relationship. Mylène was putting on
weight and the feelings of distress that so characterized our first few
weeks together were gone.
We regularly attempted to breastfeed without the shield. She was not
able to latch on properly to my breasts. Then one day, to my
amazement, she figured it out! Mylène latched on properly. We
now have a breastfeeding relationship without the assistance of an
artificial nipple. Mylène loves to breastfeed and smiles
before latching on to my breast. I should mention that we are
far from using the typical positions as Mylène enjoys being sprawled out
on my lap while nursing - but if it works.
Our path to breastfeeding success was far from the one expected but the
end result is certainly the same! It took a full month of hard work
but it was worth it. I've learned the importance of persevering and
never giving up on my daughter or myself.
Dear Mother Dear
Joy, & Raspberry Leaves
-a new video compiled by Catherine and Amanda Young
of The Compleat Mother
for more information on the waterbirth video!
Click here to read:
The Farmer and the Obstetrician
here for the Home Sweet Homebirth (Video)