Before Noah was born I was preparing my plan of attack on the first few days/weeks of breastfeeding. I knew it would be rigorous but was ready with a positive attitude and plan to start strong with a bit if experience and knowledge under my belt. In no way did I think it would be easy but I thought I would feel more empowered having successfully overcome the early challenges of breastfeeding Jude.
A Little History
I have large breasts. (36G) And while many women have no problem at all breastfeeding with large breasts I also have flat nipples. Not completely flat but they aren’t as pointy as other women. (I’m assuming since I haven’t seen a lot of other boobs) So with Jude we had to overcome that obstacle by trying a variety of positions, helping shaped the nipple so it would fit in his mouth and a LOT of patience and practice.
I knew I had the same challenge ahead of me and I thought I had a bag full of tricks that were guaranteed to work. Boy was I in for a surprise.
Noah was born with a moderate case of tight frenulum (tongue-tie) which when added to my already large breast/flat nipple issue put him at a great disadvantage for breastfeeding.
We tried and tried for 2 days to get him to simply latch on but he just wasn’t capable of doing it. We tried tongue massage to help pull his tongue out and every other trick I found. I think I was able to get him to latch (hold my breast in his mouth) twice. (Talk about discouraging.)
The more time elapsed the more I could tell our big baby was in dire need of nourishment. He became lethargic and showing signs of dehydration. On our post-partum visit with the midwife she confirmed he would need to have his frenulum clipped. (a fairly simple and minimal pain procedure) She was able to clip his tongue and we saw immediate results. Where he previously couldn’t push his tongue past his gums he was almost immediately pushing it outside of his mouth. (Hooray!) But the troubles don’t end there.
He need nourishment very badly and with no sign of my milk coming in (because there had been no stimulation to let them know milk was needed) we decided to give him some formula. (I’m not anti-formula at all but I just never thought we would have need for it.) After giving him some formula a few times he became once again a lively newborn (if that’s possible).
We have been working very hard to help him establish a relationship with my breasts. I have been pumping like crazy to help my milk come in so he will learn that is where the good stuff is. Just today my milk came in and he’s started show great signs of improvement. While he isn’t completely nursing at the breast he has latched and sucked several times which is a vast improvement.
We are so lucky to have such a supportive group of family and friends that have aided us in this unexpected adventure. And it’s been a huge growing experience for Joe and I as we’ve had to make some tough decisions and push through to do what we feel is best for Noah.
We still haven’t achieved total breastfeeding success but I know we will get there in time. In the meantime, we are taking a little extra effort and time to work it out. I honestly believe most women can breastfeed if they are given enough support from family and friends. I think we may have abandoned the idea of breastfeeding very quickly had we not had so many wonderful people offer their time, advice and resources to help Noah.