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  It was withdrawn the next day, however the damage was done.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.

~Lyne Girard
email: fgirard12@yahoo.ca
 

BREASTFEED

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