My first child self-weened at 19 months. The two of us had a glorious relationship from day 1. To make matters even better, I was not only blessed with a rockstar little eater, I was blessed with an oversupply. Sure we had a few crazy moments, but when it comes to breastfeeding, I felt like I could rightfully say, “been there, done that, got the T-shirt.”
My second little one, born only 7 short months after my first child weaned, quickly made me put “that T-shirt” away. We had it rough from day 1. Let me tell you that when a mom says, “breastfeeding hurts” they aren’t lying. Breastfeeding can really hurt. Now if you take nothing else away from this post, please take this…. I knew enough to know I needed help. Thats right, 19 months under my belt and I felt like I knew nothing. On day 3 after LO2 (little one #2) was born, I knew enough to know I needed help. Breastfeeding HURT! I thought I was fine in the hospital, but when I came home and my crazy oversupply of milk came in, it hurt. 6+ straight hours of interventions and my baby still wouldn’t latch. I was engorged and sore. My baby was hungry and frustrated. We just weren’t getting anywhere. This is the point in time when I called a local IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). You can find IBCLCs here 🙂
At some point during our visit my IBCLC mentioned that she thought my LO2 was tongue tied and possibly lip tied. Fast forward to our next peds appointment and our pediatrician also mentioned that she thought my LO might be tongue and lip tied. Off to the ENT we went. The final diagnosis from the ENT was
nothing is “wrong”.
(Momma confession: I was secretly hoping “something” was wrong and that there was “something” was what was causing me so much pain. I just wanted an answer. I was starting to feel like a failure. Breastfeeding was not going to last much longer if the pain didn’t go away soon.)
Over the next few weeks, my IBCLC and I worked together and were able to find a rhythm that was starting to work for LO and me. After about a month or so, we were off and running. We were breastfeeding champs. Once again I felt like I earned my T-shirt.
Fast forward to 7 months old. Exactly to the day, my little one cut his first tooth. He faired remarkably well through the whole teething process, I on the other hand did not. That little tooth, that had barely popped it’s head up through the gum line changed my life. Stress, anger, frustration, pain, it all came back. My nipples were soooo sore. They were cut, bruised, damaged and bleeding. Clothing hurt to touch them. The pain was keeping me up at times (hours after my last nursing session). My husband supported me and let me squeeze his hand through each dreaded nursing session. To all the women who have stopped breastfeeding because their babies cut teeth…. I now understand. It can HURT!
Once again, I knew enough to know I needed help. It was almost like I went back in time. I called my IBCLC back and she once again thought that a tongue/lip tie was to blame. I went back to my peds and saw another pediatrician in the practice and he also thought that a tongue/lip tie was to blame. I did my research more thoroughly this time and I found a dentist that offers laser dentistry, and whom treats multiple infants a day for tongue/lip tie. LO had both, a stage 4 lip tie and stage 3 tongue tie.
Treatment was done the same day as the evaluation. Immediately following the surgery, LO was quick to nurse. It was an almost painless, amazing, motivating experience. Sure, I was still sore and needed some time to heal, but I finally felt like there was hope. LO and I would rebuild our nursing relationship.
We are currently 9 days post surgery and things are going great. One thing I have learned from this whole experience is that if you have ever told a mom that “breastfeeding doesn’t hurt”, you are
It can and does hurt at times. Please instead, hold that mother’s hand and help her find the support she needs. Without that support, too many moms quit. Too many babies are cut short from a healthy nursing relationship. There is nothing wrong with
knowing enough to know that help is needed.