Another Breastfeeding Story...
It only feels fair to share my 2nd born's breastfeeding story on the day of her birth also. Amelie was born in Belgium on 5/15 weighing in at 5# 15oz at 38 weeks. I felt so confident in breastfeeding since I had breastfed her sister for 2 years. I felt like a subject matter expert! And, in the hospital, everything went really well with feeding. I had no pain when she latched, no significant weight loss. She was ever so slightly jaundiced, but having 2 risk factors for jaundice (being part Asian and having a sibling who was jaundiced), I wasn’t surprised, and no one felt we needed any other interventions other than continuing to feed on her cues. She was a pooping machine. As a newborn, I remember she pooped at every feeding. She was also the complete opposite of her sister. She rarely cried. She would have periods of being awake and not screaming (whhhaaaattt?!) – I didn’t realize this was normal. I wore her from the very early days and she slept peacefully on my chest in between her feeds. She was so quiet and content and slept such nice long stretches I would have to remind myself that she needed to eat. She gained weight very well early on and if I recall correctly, by her 3rd week, she was well over 7 pounds. Things continued on very well for several months.
Fast forward to her 9 month well baby appointment, the pediatrician told me that she hadn’t gained any weight in 3 months (since her 6 months check). How was this possible? I fed on cue, we co-slept, I wore her all the time so I could easily feed her when we were out and about. I had no idea what happened, but I was very upset. I know how important weight gain and proper calories are to developing infants. They wanted me to supplement with formula. I did not want to do that. She had not had one drop of formula in 9 months and I didn’t want to start then. So, I decided I would just feed her more and hopefully try to up my supply. I fed her every 2 hours (which is kind of a lot for a 9 month old). I wasn’t sure if my supply was going up or not. I just felt like that was what I could do. I also saw another provider and decided to start galactagogues. I got my prescription filled for that and taking that along with feeding more frequently, I did feel like my supply increased. I also reached out to a local breastfeeding support group leader who had me over to talk about what was going on. She observed a feeding and noticed that Amelie clicked a lot when she latched and fed. It was something that I had not even really noticed. She told me likely it was the suction breaking and that it was common with tongue tie. Again, whaatt?! I had never heard of tongue tie. When I left her house, I of course went home and did research on it. I did not have the typical symptoms – I had no pain when she fed, I never had any nipple damage. But then as I continued to do research, I also started noticing a few things that I hadn’t realized before. One, her latches were never painful, but never 100% comfortable. With my first, I would often fall asleep when I woke to feed her overnight. With Amelie, I could never fall back asleep while nursing her because it was slightly uncomfortable, but never painful. Also, my period came back really early to be exclusively breastfeeding – at 3 months. I was shocked. But in hindsight, I now realize that likely she was not draining my breast well and so it impacted the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) of birth control. Also, the lack of her effectively draining my breast likely impacted my milk supply and explains why when I was still feeding her very regularly, that she was not gaining well. All of these symptoms I learned can be related back to poor milk transfer and tongue tie.
I was living in Germany at the time and it was very difficult to find any providers who knew what tongue tie was let alone correct it, so I flew back to the US to New York and Dr. Kotlow, a well–experienced pediatric dentist and frenotomy provider diagnosed her with posterior tongue tie and upper lip tie. She had them both revised at 11.5 months old. I can’t believe that she had this and I had NO idea! Tongue tie can take on many different forms. What is one person’s story is not going to be the same for another person. And while I know there has been some recent controversy surrounding tongue tie by (in my opinion) an unknowledgeable pediatrician, I can only hope that every story that is shared regarding tongue tie and how it impacts families can strengthen the need for this procedure to continue to be available to breastfeeding families.
Amelie and I went on to breastfeed for a long time after her procedure and we had a very happy, full-term breastfeeding relationship. <3
Just Carrie wanting a space to write about being a mom to 2, boob nerd, military wife, and food enthusiast. But mainly a place to talk about boobs and babies!