Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Answer # 1: Horrible abrasions from latching on incorrectly

Dear MG,

Most of my experience is just personal as I nursed my two daughters for 3 years and 3 1/2 years. The nursing time overlapped a little so it was about 6 years 4 months of straight nursing. In that time and through asking questions when I had trouble and helping others when I could, I have learned quite a bit.

So when my first daughter was born, I knew I would nurse her and wasn't even prepared to consider any other options for feeding outside of some extreme, unforeseen reason arising. I think that's the only thing that kept me going! She was born naturally but the pushing phase was sort of difficult so she was really tired at birth and did not want to try to nurse right away.

That was my first clue that things don't always go the way you envision them. After about 5 hours or so of getting rest and just trying whenever she was awake, she finally took an interest. But she would suck in her lower lip, slide off the nipple, clamped down on the end of the nipple, you name it, she tried it (she is still that kind of person, always trying it her ways first, the advice of the experience means nothing to her!)

I got horrible abrasions from her latching on incorrectly. Both my nipples were totally scabbed and painful after just the first day of failing to get her on the breast correctly!

After a lot of adjusting, she seemed to be getting milk but it was killing me. My midwife helped me some and then I called the local La Leche League Leader. I'm not affiliated with them but they helped me so much that I always recommend them to women needing hands on assistance!

After recognizing that my daughter needed to open her mouth wider, take in more areola, stop sucking in her lip, and get her tongue under the nipple, we started to get on track. The LLL leader told me that after the baby began to get latch on correctly every time, the pain would stop immediately and the wound heal within a week or so.

Knowing this was what made me able to go on. I had to check that her tongue was down, start her again and again when she latched on at the end of the nipple, and manually adjust her lips to the correct position almost every time we nursed until about 4 months of age.

This meant my poor husband had to endure the closet light on in our room every night for the first several months so I could see what I was doing during night nursing. But he never had to get out of bed to heat a bottle either so I figured he could make the sacrifice!

My daughter finally became a pro nurser and went on to nurse through my pregnancy with the second one and tandem nurse with her sister for the first few months. She stayed with it until age 3 when I encouraged her to wean because I was very worn out with the two of them nursing!

I didn't have such trouble with my second child but it was partly because of my previous learning that I was able to avoid some of the pitfalls. I dealt with the sore nipples, pressure from family to wean early, breast infections, plugged milk ducts, thrush infections, exhaustion, etc. and it was the most precious experience of my life just knowing my daughter and I had that time together and she had the best possible start in life.

She's so independent already at age 6 1/2 it makes me realize it was worth it to be patient and stick by her so she could nurse. I hope it works out for you and you are able to nurse your baby. But whatever happens (and yours is a difficult obstacle to overcome) you are doing a great job, so you and your family will know you tried your best. If I can assist you more, let me know. I like to see it work and you seem so dedicated that if it can be made to work, I know it will.

Keep up the good fight! Best of Luck!

This was one of the many replies I received for my desperate question Help! My Baby is still not latching on at 6 weeks! Imagine getting a thoughtful email like that from a total stranger. One whom I have never met and probably never will. The wonder of technology and the goodness of knowing that there are still people out there who care enough to give their time to help others. It really helped.... just knowing that I was not alone.

I shall post some of the other replies I received in my next few posts and hopefully this will help to support some other mothers facing similar breastfeeding difficulties. You are not alone and you can perservere!

Related links:

La Leche League International

Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...