Memoirs Of A Modern Housewife

My life is nothing like the Bravo Housewives!

Archive for the tag “Breastfeeding”

I Don’t “Love” Nursing, But I Do It Anyway.

Breastfeeding is a hot topic that is trending right now; Facebook is banning nursing pictures, there are nurse-ins at Target and brutal mommy wars on blogs and pages. How can something so natural cause such ignorant rants and raves, such intolerance?

Beaner is my third baby that I am breastfeeding and it hasn’t been going as well as the others. I have had fleeting moments of weaning during; the marathon nursing sessions in the beginning, being used as a pacifier, a teething ring, and having to eliminate some of my favorite foods (chocolate, dairy and eggs) or pay the price of a screaming, irritable little boy who ironically wants to be consoled by the very thing that caused his pain (the boob!).

This is all normal behavior in a nursing relationship so it’s really not a complaint just an acknowledgment. My biggest obstacle has been the tongue-tie that could make the toughest lady holler “uncle”.

Yet, I have vowed to stick with it as long as he and I both want to (and he isn’t stopping anytime soon). If it’s so hard this time around why do I stick with it?

There are many health benefits for baby which alone should be reason enough and to be quite honest they are the main reasons I am committed to breastfeeding.  I also have reasons that aren’t beneficial to just my baby.

 All rights reserved by @Doug88888There are many health benefits to moms who breastfeed, one being

  • Reduced risk of breast, ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancers

My mother passed away a few years ago from an aggressive breast cancer.  I have been advised to have yearly mammograms since I was 30. I stay away from artificial hormones and have changed my diet and habits, and I check myself often.

Breastfeeding alone doesn’t exempt me from breast cancer in the future but using it doesn’t hurt (in my case is does hurt but hopefully that will be resolved soon ; )

Some may think that it’s selfish to have that be a motivating factor but in reality I would like to live as long as God sees possible and if nursing my baby can help me then I see it as a win-win choice.

Is there something you are determined to stick with even though it is hard?


The Importance of Support and Breastfeeding

***This is an article I wrote for my doula website a few months before my little guy was born. I just reread it as I was going through some archives and thought it would be helpful here. It certainly reminded me as to why I am still nursing.****

Taking a snooze after nursing

Taking a snooze after nursing


The other night I lay awake thinking about this little one that will be arriving in the next few months and doing so caused my to do list to continue to grow. I’m thinking about the birth, my birth team, vaccinations, breastfeeding, among other concerns and plans that expectant moms often think about.

One thing actually brought a wave of comfort and peace that helped lull me back to sleep. I was reflecting on when my now three-year was six-months old. Earlier I had taken her to her six month check up and was giving my husband the report that evening over dinner. “Petite little thing, not uncommon for breastfed babies, thriving, overall a  healthy happy baby”. As this little one sat on my lap my husband’s face changed to one of adoration and pure sweetness as if he’d gotten a beautiful revelation.

He looked at me and said, “That’s amazing. You’ve kept her alive just with breastfeeding her. I can see how much of a sacrifice it is for you but you do it without complaining and our baby is healthy and thriving because you were determined to do it.” He went on to remind me of the trials in the beginning, but how I had become a pro and baby and I became a team.

At that time I don’t think I really grasped what he was doing or what he said really meant to me. I went on to breastfeed until she was a little over two years old and in hindsight having a supportive spouse made all of the difference.

As I sit and think about what my life will be like the next few months or years (depending on how long new baby nurses), instead of thinking about what I will be missing out on; freedom of spontaneity, clothing choices, convenience and other things I can’t think of now, but will while I’m nursing, I will instead think about how short of a time it really is, the gift I am giving this little one and those kind words of encouragement my husband gave to me.

Do you have anyone who is encouraging your decision to breastfeed? Feeling supported is one major component of successful breastfeeding and how you will feel about the experience.

Seek out other moms who have had good experiences. If they can do it (minus the percentage who physically cannot breastfeed) so can you. It helps to observe and be able to ask questions.

Have an open communication with your spouse or partner about why it’s important to you and baby and how they can help. A lot of times they want to help but are unsure of how to.

There are also local La Leche League International groups that are available by phone and also meet on a weekly or monthly basis. I found this connection to be invaluable especially when I would hit a breastfeeding obstacle.

Most hospitals have on staff lactation consultants and specialists. It is important to meet with one who is actively involved with continuing education and who is not so easily ready to give up on you.

I would like to note that if you have decided not to breastfeed or are/were unable to for what ever reason that this article is not meant to be condemning but supportive to those who have chosen to do so. Truth be told, breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful, natural things in the world but it can also be one of the most challenging situations a woman may encounter. For some women knowing that they are not alone and have support is enough to help them go a few more weeks, months or year if she and baby decides.

Books to consider:

The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Your Child from Birth Through Weaning by Martha Sears and William Sears

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (La Leche League International Book) by Diane Wiessinger

The Nursing Mother’s Companion: Revised Edition by Kathleen Huggins

Sleep Issues And An Overlooked Cause Pt 2

In my last posting I recapped my year of nursing and sleep issues with Beaner and was headed to the pediatricians for a solution. This would be my second time proposing that he has some sort of tongue tie and I was prepared with research and ready to advocate for my little guy even if it meant getting second and third opinions.

After presenting my case and ruling out any other physical issues she looked deeper and agreed that he indeed had a mild posterior tongue tie and a very tight lip tie.

Normally a tongue tie can be corrected with a simple in clinic procedure by an ENT but ideally it would have been done when a child is a small infant as the membrane that is cut is thinner and only a local anesthetic would be needed.

Beaner will be one years old in a few weeks and this will not be a in office snip but a minor surgery with him needing a general anesthetic.

We have to consider the pros and cons, how long our breastfeeding relationship will be and if we decide to not do anything will he end up having to have the procedure later on due to speech issues. We won’t know about the speech issues until later and now we are dealing with the eating/sleeping issues.

We have a consultation with a pediatric ENT in a few weeks, plenty of time to discuss what we would like to do. One thing we do know is that it doesn’t get better, it won’t go away.

Sleep Issues And An Overlooked Cause

Breastfeeding Callus

Image by diathesis via Flickr

I have a hunch as to what may be going on with Eli a.k.a Beaner. He has never been a “good sleeper”, and for the last few months he has been waking up every hour on the hour, screaming and only wanting to come to mama.  It may be something we should have pursued months ago and for that I am frustrated at myself for not advocating for him harder.

I am convinced he has a mild posterior tongue tie. In hindsight; in spite of several visits with a lactation consultant, a few pediatricians, checking with my peers, referring to the online community and many books, I was told that my breastfeeding “technique” (as far as how he was being held and his latch) was fine. However, in the beginning the pain from nursing was worse than my c-section recovery and eventually I was taking pain relief for my sore nipples not my abdominal pain.

His painful latch caused trauma to my nipples (and emotions as I dreaded when he cried to nurse) and led my ob to believe that I had thrust. In spite of no physical signs on Eli or myself we still treated me with a very strong dose of antibiotics. It did not help the pain even after being on it (and a doctor prescribed pain relief regime) for two weeks. I tried alternative methods, creams etc. and eventually just got used to the pain.

The problem with getting used to “pain” while breastfeeding is that pain inhibits the release of the oxytocin hormone which is mother nature’s gift to a nursing mom (sleep and relaxation inducing). So I was nursing a baby through pain, without rest and totally tense and trying not to be resentful.

The long extended and painful nursing sessions were a first for me as I did not experience them with my other two babies. I was use to feeding my babies and watching them peacefully drift off into a deep sleep, “milk-drunk” we called it.

Eli never peacefully drifted off as I had and still have to pry him off of the breast. If he doses off during nursing it is short-lived, fifteen-twenty minutes tops. He still does not sleep longer than that during the day and at night (since he has been on solids) he will sleep for an hour and wake to nurse…every..hour…until…morning.

On a good night he may sleep for 3-4 hours but after that he is attached until morning to make up for sleeping so “long”. Normally having a nursing baby attached while I slept wasn’t an issue. I did it for my other babies and I often would sleep right through their feedings with the only signs that they nursed being a lack of engorgement and a happy baby in the morning.

With Eli, I always know when he is nursing and I have never been able to sleep through it. My toes are curled up, body is tense and I can’t wait to unlatch him, add the fact that I haven’t benefited from the beloved sleep inducing oxytocin and you have a very exhausted, zombie like mother. For the most part he does not wake up a happy baby, he is always instantly upset the second he wakes and only nursing calms him down.

As far as his weight gain it was always on the bottom percentile suggesting that the nursing possibly wasn’t sufficient for this little guy in spite of the every hour on the hour, 30-45 minute nursing sessions (this seriously lasted to about 7 months with the length, shortening to about 15 minutes and stretching to 2 hours in between, sometimes).

So I began eating different foods, taking herbs and supplements, and drinking different teas to try to increase my milk production (which I never had a problem with before).  By the way, do you know what is the best way to increase supply? Sleep….sleep helps increase milk supply, which I have not been getting a lot of.

Obviously my efforts did work as he began plumping up and rose from the 10% to 95%. This was before solids were introduced. My pediatrician was so surprised that she asked me what I was doing differently for him to be growing so fast.

I’d brought him in and called our clinic’s nurse-line on several occasions only to be told that “he must be hungry” or “sounds like a bad habit, you need to sleep train”.

Breastfed babies tend to wake up a few times a night but his unusual sleeping behavior has been going on for months and mama is getting burned out. I don’t expect him to sleep 10 hours, or even 8 hours (although it’d be nice).  I am not a CIO fan and wouldn’t be comfortable doing that with my kids. We do have him on a bedtime ritual that gets thrown off by teething, a cold or a long day.

When he was an infant I asked about the possibility of a tongue tie and his doctor did a finger swipe and said she didn’t think so. Hmm. That’s funny because I thought that may explain a lot and could give us some answers. I didn’t push the issue and tried other suggestions. After doing some research on the issue I’ve learned that there is more than one tongue tie and that mild ones are often overlooked.

My mother’s instinct tells me that; he has a mild posterior tongue tie and a lip tie that did not get diagnosed and treated. Because of that he has never been able to fully “drain” or get a full meal out of my breast. Because he had to work so hard to nurse he would go to sleep from the efforts. He will then wake up after a very short nap only to resume his nursing session…because he never got full. In hind-sight, I don’t believe it was a supply issue, although I was happy to do whatever to help him. I believe the nursing tea helped because it caused me to become fuller and he didn’t have to try so hard to get milk, it just flowed out.

I also believe (in spite of the tongue and lip tie) that the only reason he is thriving (from nursing), the reason we are still nursing this far and why I didn’t have to supplement with formula is because I am home with him full-time and was able to dedicate the time and effort, e.g letting him nurse every hour during the day and all night long. It still didn’t make the situation easy, but I didn’t feel the pressure from my husband or the demand of an outside job to end the nursing relationship abruptly. I know that in our culture this is rare and not always an option for every mom, so I do count my blessings.

Could the night behavior be a habit now and not a necessity? Maybe, maybe not. I tell you this, I recently cut back on the nursing tea because I needed a break and he has increased his nursing and the waking up at night.

Could this be the reason why he won’t let my husband comfort him only at night (he doesn’t have the food)? Could be the reason why he couldn’t hold on to a pacifier as they always fell out (we tried 5 different brands and textures).

We are headed out to an appointment with his pediatrician and this time everything needs to be carefully considered. If we rule out any other physical causes for the night wakings and screaming I really think this is it

What do you think? Have you experienced tongue tie with your child and how did it affect your nursing? Also, did you decide to have it clipped? Did that help?

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