My son was born 16 days early after I was induced due to pre-eclampsia. The labor and delivery was pretty easy…And then it came time to feed my son. We did okay breastfeeding at first but began to have some issues as the hours went by. I cannot tell you the number of Lactation Consultants that came into my hospital room. We even got an extra nights stay in the hospital so we could get more one-on-one help.
Two weeks in and I was in a world of pain! I honestly believed that if spy agencies used breastfeeding as a method of torture there would be no secrets left to tell!
I kept calling Lactation Consultants until I found one that was able to see me right away – something needed to be done because there was no way bleeding, cracked nipples were normal! Mary came by our house the next morning ready to help. Our latch looked good so she checked out his mouth. She immediately diagnosed him as having a bubble, or high, palate. My son would not let her get a good look under his tongue but I had been told in the hospital he did not have a tongue tie so we didn’t think that was the issue.
Because he was a late pre-term he lacked buccal fat in his cheeks – so, along with the bubble palate, we thought we had found the issue. I began using a nipple shield and was told that in a few weeks, when the fat started growing in his cheeks, nursing would get better. From that point on our lives were dependent on that silly little piece of silicon. I couldn’t go anywhere without it – in fact, I got nervous if I didn’t have one immediately within arms reach.
Lucas was also eating pretty constantly – if he went more than 20 or 30 minutes without eating he’d start screaming. He was also eating for about an hour at a time. He was constantly falling asleep at the breast and I would have to pat his little bum to get him to keep eating. My life revolved around breastfeeding. I didn’t mind it, but I had friends with babies only a few weeks older and that was NOT their breastfeeding relationships. I tried to remind myself every baby was different, but something just didn’t seem right. I had cut out EVERY type of gassy food I could think of, stopped eating dairy, tried gas drops and gripe water – nothing seemed to work but latching my son back on.
I finally called the pediatrician out of frustration and they scheduled an appointment. They asked about my supply, thinking I may not be making enough milk, but I was pumping 4-6 oz AFTER feeding him in the morning so that was ruled out; my son didn’t spit up so they ruled out reflux, the breast did calm him so they said it wasn’t true colic. After 20 minutes I was told I had a fussy baby and I was feeding him too much (He had gained 1.2lbs in about 2 and a half weeks – but remember he was eating constantly). I was told to only feed him for 15-20 minutes per side and then wait at least 2 hours before feedings. The pediatrician said that the first few days would be rough but that my baby would “adjust.”
Something about that advice just didn’t seem right to me but I thought, “Hey, this lady went to school for this and I didn’t so I guess we’ll give it a whirl!” Those next few days were torture. I’m pretty sure there is video of my husband and I with the baby in the kitchen with the microwave fan on, the water running, us “shhh-shing” and squatting with our 8 week old. Those videos will certainly be used against us at some point in the future! After two days I knew this wasn’t really working and started to feed him more frequently again but not constantly. We began giving him bottles at night and he’d chug 5 or 6 oz if we let him. He made such funny noises when he’d take the bottle (another red flag we totally missed by the way!).
After a few weeks of this I began to notice that he wasn’t gaining weight as well as he had been. He was still gaining okay, but not nearly as well as in the past. I had also began to have the most horrible pain in my breasts, which I eventually realized was blocked or plugged milk ducts. Literally every two or three days I’d be in the hot shower, massaging my breast and pumping like crazy. I even began taking Lecithin (which does help with plugged ducts in case you were wondering!).
Finally, after posting all of this on a Mommy Group board that I belong to one of the women suggested a posterior tongue tie. My mom, who is amazing and was doing her own research, came up with that same theory.
Were these wonderful women right? How exactly do you diagnose a posterior tongue tie? Since this post is getting very long (and because I want to keep you interested – hey, I’m honest!) we’ll save that for tomorrow!
If you breastfed, what were some issues you faced? Would you breastfeed again if you have another child?