Hi again! I’m back with the final installment of Brynne’s birth story and our journey to breastfeeding!
It’s crazy to believe I have a 4 week old baby now! Brynne breastfeeds about 95% of the time, and takes a bottle with her dad either in the early morning or evening to give me a little break…it hasn’t been an easy road, but I am SO grateful to say that we are doing great and Brynne is a healthy, happy (and definitely fussy!) little girl.
So I’ll begin where I left off….
It was Friday and I was due to see the lactation specialist at Women & Infants that Sunday for help with breastfeeding. I was completely engorged and unable to pump at all. Not only painful, but SUPEr frustrating! We were forced back to square one, Brynne was being fed formula in order to get her needed nutrients and calories and there was nothing I could do.
Being a 21st century mom, I looked to Google for guidance. Although usually a pretty reliable source of information, this time seeking online counsel was a big mistake. Several sources told me to treat my engorgement with heat and pumping, and after a bit of poking around and finding similar answers across the board, I decided to do just that.
I heated up my Lansinoh 3 in 1 packs (which I HIGHLY recommend! If you’re a soon to be, or a newbie nursing mama, get yourself these things. Pronto.) and went about trying to get my swelling down.
….and nothing. If anything, my swelling was even more painful, and I was definitely getting nowhere with pumping to relieve some of the pressure. It was Saturday night and I felt at a total loss.
We decided to go ahead with the appointment anyways, however. I figured even if I wasn’t able to get breastfeeding down pat, maybe we could work around this current problem. I’m so glad we went. We worked with a wonderful nurse named Janice. She has unknowingly become my savior for breastfeeding my baby.
Janice solved my engorgement issues immediately. I learned that despite what 10,000 moms on Google have to say, it’s actually cold therapy that will bring down the swelling. Although I wasn’t able to work through breastfeeding issues at that appointment, I used ice cold washcloths on my chest and a hospital rental pump to begin to alleviate the swelling. Finally I was able to produce milk again! I made another appointment for the following week and went home to get started healing my swelling the second time around.
This time things worked out much better.
Although I wasn’t yet able to get Brynne to latch on, at the start of her 2nd week, I had a decent milk supply and was FINALLY able to actually feed my daughter a bottle of breastmilk.
It was a small, but meaningful victory. I had felt that things regarding Brynne’s birth and the beginnings of my caring for her had been so out of my hands, it was a special moment when I was able to complete a feed with her using what my body had made especially for her.
We were at the start of a new beginning.
My follow up appointment with lactation was scheduled for the end of that week. Perfect timing. This time, due to work, Glen was not able to come with me but I was fine with that. He’d been, and continues to be, a very supportive and wonderful partner and dad. However, his presence wasn’t required for this trip. Brynne and I had work to do.
After a decent amount of trial and mostly error, we finally made some progress. Because Brynne had had to be fed by bottle the first two weeks of her life, she was struggling with identifying my nipple as a source of food. She could smell that it was there, but wasn’t sure what to do to get it,
Thank goodness for Medela nipple shields! Often used for mothers with flat/inverted nipples, these little guys are also great for babies with problems latching on. In this case, it was a perfect solution to our last obstacle.
After identifying the correct size, we tried to latch her on again. This time we had success! Janice weighed Brynne before and after the feeding to figure out about how much she was getting. Somehow my body produced 2 ounces of breastmilk, exactly how much we normally bottle fed her, without ever having had a successful breastfeeding session prior. The human body is truly an incredible thing.
We had our first of many successful feeds. I left that appointment feeling on top of the world.
And here we are today. Due to determination, patience, and with a little help from Medela, Brynne is finally a breast-fed baby!
Yes we do still feed her a bottle of formula from time to time. Make that once or twice a day when I need a break or we want her hunger to stay sated for a little longer, like right before bedtime, plus it’s a great bonding time for Glen and Brynne. We still love our Earth’s Best Organics.
Do we still struggle with latching from time to time? Absolutely. I’m not claiming breastfeeding purity or perfection in any way, shape, or form.
What I can claim is to finally be 100% satisfied with how my daughter is fed and what is going into her growing body.
And in the end, no matter what works best for your family, I think that’s all that really matters.
(I receive a small commission for purchases/signups made through the Target.com links I provide. These commissions help me provide for my family and keep this blog running. Regardless the opinions and feelings shared here are my own, and I’d happily endorse Target with or without incentive)