Laura's Breastfeeding Page
This is the story of my experiences breastfeeding. Amelia and I had a much harder time of it than most people do, so please don't be discouraged if you are thinking of breastfeeding. On the other hand, if you are having trouble breastfeeding, then you might find it encouraging to know that even severe problems can be overcome.
Short version of the story
Amelia was born with a high palate, which kept her from being able to effectively nurse. By the time we discovered this, she had lost 15% of her birthweight and was getting dehydrated. With the help of the lactation consultants at Maternal Connections, our local breastfeeding support center, we fed her expressed breastmilk (through a finger feeder) to get her going the right direction.
The good news is that she rapidly put on weight, and started growing. The bad news is, that this was lots of work: It took between 1 and 1.5 hours to get her to nurse 10 minutes on each side (we'd let her go longer, on the rare occasions she wanted to), and then I pumped while Arnold fed her. This was also very frustrating for her, and she ended up refusing the breast entirely.
Once we realized we were in this for a long haul, we switched from the finger feeder to bottle-feeding her expressed breast milk (from Munchkin bottles) for a month, while her mouth grew into the high palate, and to give her time to recover from the trauma of fighting for food from the breast. The Munchkin bottle gave us a chance to train her into openning wide and putting her lips out. I'd offer her my breast 1-2 times a day. The times when I set up, used proper positioning, and so on were the least successful. The times I just popped a breast in Amelia's mouth worked best for her, but usually left my nipples and/or back in pain.
My nipples were initially sore from feeding her, and remained sore for a very long time, for a variety of reasons.
At about 5 weeks, she was getting good enough at breastfeeding that we started the transition to the breast in earnest. We had rented a Medela scale. so we could track her weight gain and how much milk she was getting from me each feeding.
I started by feeding her from the breast while my husband was at work, and pumping/feeding bottles the rest of the time. There were 2 reasons for the slow approach-- one is because my nipples were very sore as we learned how to breastfeed (the hunger of a 5 week old, the skills of a newborn) and also, since she still had some trouble with a high palate, we wanted to make sure she was getting sufficient breastmilk.
It took over a month to get her transitioned back to the breast. I first added the bedtime feeding, as Amelia started relaxing enough to fall asleep at my breast when she otherwise was struggling. The middle of the night feedings were the last to go-- I'd feed her a bottle every 2 hours (my husband would take one of them most nights) and pump every 3 hours or so.
There is something ironic about sleeping with a baby and still having to get up out of bed to deal with feeding her. Even when we switched to direct breastfeeding, I couldn't get the hang of nursing in bed. We finally worked that out at about 6.5 months-- so much better.
We were able (just barely at times) to feed Amelia 100% breastmilk. Now, she gets her breastmilk 100% from mommy-- she will no longer take a bottle. At 6 months old, she still hadn't eaten anything but breastmilk (and some stray cat hairs and junk mail :-) ).
Short version of the resource list
These are the resources I found most useful at the time.
Long version of the story
still under construction
Can I help?
If you need breasteeding support, please contact a lactation consultant, La Leche League or Nursing Mother's Counsel. If I can offer additional help or support, or answer any questions, please feel free to contact me at Lbreastfeed@deLeons.com , and I'll do what I can, when Amelia lets me :-).