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Wonderful World of Nursing
I always knew I wanted to breastfeed, even from a young girl. I’d watch my aunt settle into her rocking chair next to the warmth of the stove, cradle her baby, and nurse him while softly singing. They looked so in sync, so peaceful, so serene, so natural and effortless. I’d sit nearby staring and staring for as long as it took. I felt a sense of calm over me even though I was not a participant.
When my daughter was born, I was adamant about breast feeding. Though they tried, no one could change my mind. Others were very encouraging and strongly supported my decision to nurse my baby. I’d had visions of the moment. I was so excited. The moment it happened, it was just as effortless, peaceful and natural as I imagined it. The nurse even commented on us saying that we were pros. It felt good. I felt empowered. I felt happy and invincible. It went that way for a long time until she weaned.
I didn’t plan to have more children but I told myself if that were to change I would breast feed my next child as well. After all, it was such a wonderful experience what reason could I possibly have for not wanting to live it all over again. Four and a half years later, my son was born. Things went smoothly for the first couple of days but then we hit a roadblock.
Almost a month had passed and my experience was not the same. It was quite painful. OUCH! It’s not supposed to be like this; something was terribly wrong. I search the internet for videos. After all the time I had spent nursing my daughter, could I possibly have forgotten how to do this? Could I really not be doing this right? I watched those videos over and over correcting my posture and my hold but nothing. I sought out the help of a lactation consultant. She went over various positions, various ways of sitting, perhaps the baby was not opening wide enough, and then she mentioned something I had never heard of before; a tongue tie. A light went off in my head. This must be it. I had tried everything.
As it turned out, it was a tongue tie; a posterior tongue tie to be exact, between a number three and number four. From there I entered into an entirely new arena of problems. There weren’t any pediatricians or pediatric dentist who dealt with this phenomenon. So here I was running around from one place to another with no solution in sight, crying my eyes out because I felt inadequate and defeated. What mother is unable to feed her newborn child? I felt the complete opposite of the way I had felt with my daughter. Suddenly all the stories of pain and discomfort, and all the reasons why mothers decide that breastfeeding was not for them, came rushing back. Eventually we did get things taken care of and I was able to successfully nurse my new baby boy.
What is a Tongue Tie?
A tongue tie is when the tongue is anchored to the floor of the mouth preventing the tongue from moving freely. This causes latch issues, painful latch, inadequate feeding, slow or no weight gain, and low or inadequate supply. To learn more about tongue tie and other types of frenulum visit the link below. It was a tremendous help in helping me identify the issue that my son and I were having.
We finally found a doctor that was able to perform the frenulectomy. Smooth sailing from here right; wrong! The latch was much, much better. I could nurse comfortable but then I noticed that my areolas were very red, itchy, and burning. It was a horrible excruciating pain. I had no idea what was going on but I was growing more frustrated than ever. If it’s not one thing it’s another. I took another trip to the lactation consultant and she told me the baby just needed to perfect his latch a bit more. Turns out that wasn’t the issue at all.
What exactly is thrush?
I typed my symptoms into Google and up pops THRUSH. Thrush is also known as candida, a fungus, more specifically a yeast infection; a painful, red, raw, itchy, burning, ugly yeast infection. I read a ton of blogs and tried a ton of different home remedies to eradicate this infection none of which actually worked but did somewhat help with managing the pain.
Home Remedies that helped
- Apple cider vinegar
- Coconut oil
- Genetian Violet
Eventually, I went to a doctor for myself and a pediatrician for my son. Both doctors prescribed Nystatin. The skin cream version of Nystatin worked but the oral version for my son did not work. The only thing that worked for us in the end was fluconazole. A lot of my online breastfeeding moms friends directed me to a website that was very instrumental in helping us navigate our battle with thrush. I'm so glad we were able to get past that.
What type of road blocks did you or someone you know encounter while breast feeding?
Help with Roadblocks
Remember, pain during breastfeeding is not normal. When I begin to experience the road blocks with my son, I has some who tried to convince me that pain was normal. Had it not been from my painless experience with my daughter, I probably would have believed them.
If you are having issues breastfeeding I would recommend seeing a lactation consultant immediately. The sooner the better for you and baby. Lactation consultation is provided free at your local WIC (Woman Infant & Children) center.
To assist with issues of pain in the meantime I recommend doing a bit of research on nipple shields to discover if it is something right for you. Of course, there is the option to pump as well. Both will eventually interfere with your milk production, therefore, as I said, it is best to see a lactation consultant immediately.
Happy Breast Feeding!
- KellyMom : evidence-based breastfeeding and parenting
evidence-based breastfeeding and parenting