Like JOE, JAE also has a problem latching. To be honest, this was one of my biggest fears when I was pregnant this time around. With JOE, I pumped exclusively for 11 months to ensure she got the best...breastmilk. I recall that towards the end of pumping last time, it became increasingly difficult to pump because JOE was mobile and wanted to touch everything in sight. It was also a challenge finding time to pump while at work with a demanding work schedule. Never mind the middle of the night pump sessions which required me to be up for at least 50 minutes per session each night.
Side Note: I know most people say pump for 15 minutes but I have no idea how you do it. I don't even get any real milk until close to the 12 minute mark. Feel free to share your secret if you have one.
Anyways, due to the significant commitment, the numerous clogs I experienced, the many doses of fenugreek I had to take to keep up my supply for pumping, I was determined to nurse this time around.
For starters, I made sure to attempt to nurse shortly after JAE was born. It was semi successful. Then when I got into my post delivery room, we made several unsuccessful attempts to nurse. I got to see 2 lactation consultants. The first one said JAE might have a tongue tie. The second one said she didn't. Regardless, the one commonality was that neither could get JAE to latch long enough to feed.
I left the hospital with instructions on how to syringe feed. And a hospital pump which I rented at the suggestion of the lactation consultant. The syringe feeding was supposed to encourage nursing at some point in the future.
After I got home, JAE and I made several attempts at nursing but had no luck. I reluctantly decided to pump in an attempt to encourage my milk to come in faster. I did this in hopes that it would encourage JAE to latch on and stay on long enough to feed. I faithfully started pumping 7 to 8 times every 24 hours daily only to get little or nothing at all. To say it was discouraging would be an understatement. I returned the pump after a week and started using my medela freestyle which I purchased and used for JOE.
In the meantime, I kept thinking to myself, here I am with "significant assets" and yet unable to naturally feed my child.
I should add that I also had some other post delivery related health issues I was dealing with so that has made for a very stressful situation. However, I was told those issues should not affect my ability to nurse or JAE's ability to latch.
I was still determined to nurse so I made an appointment with a lactation consultant. I also attended a support group for other moms who had or are having similar issues. Following my attendance of the group session, it was confirmed that JAE did indeed have a tongue tie. I made an appointment immediately to get it taken care of a couple of days later. I was praying for a miracle but sadly, that didn't happen.
On to the next step, I met with the lactation consultant and left $200 poorer. I am told I'll get reimbursed by my health insurance.
During the session, we struggled to get JAE to latch and nurse. By struggle, I mean JAE screamed like she was being punished whenever she was put on my breast. I felt sad that my child was so stressed out about feeding. I left almost 3 hours later. But I left with some helpful tips I immediately started implementing. Before leaving, I recall asking the lactation consultant if some babies just don't know how to nurse but she assured me that all babies are born with the innate ability to nurse and that JAE would eventually get it.
Sadly, after a week, I was still unsuccessful. It really is disheartening to see your newborn baby crying everytime you lift your shirt to attempt to nurse her.
I finally have come to accept that I will be a pumping mom this time around again.
I am not thrilled about it and only plan on pumping for the duration of my maternity leave and how long it takes to completely "go dry".
It has been a very stressful 4-weeks trying to get JAE to latch and nurse.
So as I sit here listening to the loud whining sound of the pump while my family sleeps, I keep thinking to myself, I hate pumping but breastmilk is best and financially, it makes sense. Plus all I have to do is look at the beautiful face of my daughter JAE and I feel blessed that even though she isn't nursing, she is getting fed breastmilk exclusively.
PS: I am not asking for sympathy or reprimand. I know the decision to breastfeed is mine and I fully accept that it isn't a do or die situation. I am just voicing my thoughts/feelings :-).