When I was pregnant, everyone asked me if I was planning on breastfeeding. Sure, I thought I’d give it a try. But if it didn’t work out, I was ok with throwing in the towel, too. Friends had warned me that it was difficult and to give it a good shot. But really, how hard could it really be? Women have been doing it for centuries!
Naturally, I was surprised when we got home with our sweet baby only to realize that we sucked at it. She wouldn’t latch, I cried as much as she cried. It was hard. SO. HARD.
Don’t introduce the bottle, she’ll have nipple confusion.
Just keep trying, she’ll get the hang of it.
Try a nipple shield (What the heck is a nipple shield, and why would I want some sort of armor on my boob, I thought).
But for some strange reason, I just wasn’t ready to give in. I felt it. The mom guilt. So I kept trying. Hand expressing into a spoon and syringe feeding a hysterical baby, when I couldn’t get it together myself. Did you read that? HAND EXPRESSING! Misery. Plain misery. Oh, and not sexy. It’s a good thing my husband loves me.
But after many prayers, encouragement and coaching from friends, we stuck with it. And by golly… we had the hang of it! We were doing it! I was a breastfeeding momma!
But something still wasn’t right. She was still fussy, pulling away, and making a clicking noise when she nursed. What was wrong?!
So I turned, once again, to ole trusty Sir Google. And what I found was something I had never even heard of: tongue and lip tie. Ever tried to check the mouth of a colicky baby? …nearly impossible. But once I was able to get a look, sure enough, I suspected a tongue and lip tie.
Again, mom guilt. Am I crazy? Am I a hypochondriac?
I did some more research to find out what I could do. I made an appointment with a very reputable doctor in Oklahoma City. I didn’t tell anyone except for my husband that I was taking her in, because what if I was wrong? What if this was just the baby we were blessed with, and I needed to leave it alone?
We went and saw Dr. Coleman who was AMAZING. She listened to me through my tears, she took a quick look in Kinley’s mouth and then… validation. She had a tongue tie and an upper lip tie.
Then… the hardest part of all… the revision.
Dr. Coleman was able to do the revision right then and there by laser procedure. She walked me through exactly what would happen, and how it would likely be difficult for me. And boy was it! I cried more than she did. It took about 5 minutes and I was able to nurse Kinley right then and there immediately after the procedure.
I took Kinley home that day still unsure whether or not I made the right decision. She didn’t eat anything for 24 hours, and wouldn’t nurse for more than two whole days. She cried the saddest cry I have ever heard, and there it was… more mom guilt. Did I make the right decision? Why did I put my baby though all of this just so I could breastfeed? Why didn’t I just give in?
But then she did it. She nursed. And nursed some more. And never stopped. She continued to gain weight and our breastfeeding relationship continued.
I’d be lying if I said a piece of me still doesn’t feel guilty. But I wouldn’t never known if I didn’t do something about it.
For moms that are going through their own journey with breastfeeding struggles, my advice would be to do what you think is best and makes you happy, but to give it a good shot. I wanted to give up. A million times a day I wanted to give up. But I am so happy I didn’t. Breastfeeding was something I never thought would be an emotional attachment for me, but something I will never forget.