I thought it would be so easy. I mean, it’s not like I haven’t nursed a baby before, right? Three and a half years of nursing should make me an old pro, right?
This journey, while not quite as difficult as it was learning to breastfeed Gabi, has been incredibly difficult.
Katie latched on almost immediately after birth. It was fantastic. I thought we had it made. But by day three, the pain was starting to get intense. Note that I said “pain” and not discomfort. Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful, but this was.
She was born on Tuesday, and we took her to see her pediatrician on Friday. He checked her for a tongue tie, but didn’t see one. He encouraged us to meet with an IBCLC, Rhonda (not her real name). We called her and scheduled an in-home visit. Good thing, too, because by the afternoon I was in tears every time she latched.
She came and helped us to latch correctly. Things got better for a few hours, but in the night it got much worse. By morning, I was a bleeding, crying mess.
Saturday, I called her in tears because I was reaching the point where I just could hardly stand to bring her to breast anymore. She recommended pumping and syringe feeding until my nipples healed. I did not want to do that, so I called my midwife who came right out to the house and helped me learn a new position to nurse Katie in.
I still wasn’t healing, though, and the pain and bleeding were getting worse.
Monday, I went to a group meeting that Rhonda leads. She helped me latch on there as well, but the meeting made me very uncomfortable. Believe me, when you’re a deeply attached parent, hearing other parents talk about night weaning 5 month old babies through is not something you need to hear at 6 days post-partum. Most of my tears were from the pain of nursing, but some were from grief for those poor babies who just needed their mommies at night.
Monday night, I went to a second meeting, where I met two angels: Shirley (not her real name) and Paris (this is her real name and here is her awesome blog!). Both are IBCLCs for one of the hospitals here (NOT the hospital where they tortured me). Paris taught me a 3rd way to nurse Katie, and it didn’t hurt!
Unfortunately, by the time I left the meeting at around 7:30 PM, I was shaking. As I drove home, the shaking got worse and worse. When I got home, I took my temp and it was 102 degrees.
Juan ran to the pharmacy to get my antibiotics (God bless my midwives for acting fast and calling it in immediately), and I had to pump after every feeding so that the milk didn’t sit and grow bacteria. It was a long, brutal night.
36 hours later, I was feeling much better.
It was Thursday, and we had an appointment to meet with Shirley. She helped us again with Katie’s latch and taught me to tuck her little hips in against my body. This is a natural way to get a baby to extend her neck a little more and to keep her from tucking her chin. It worked!
But I had a suspicious tingle in my nipples and Katie’s mouth was coated in white. We walked a block over to the pediatrician who took one look at her and diagnosed thrush. I asked him to look in her mouth again for a tongue tie, but he very confidently said, “This babe is definitely not tongue tied.”
So after a week of Katie taking Nystatin and me taking Diflucan, we were ready to move forward.
But something still wasn’t right. She was growing slowly and her lips were blanched after every feeding and full of blisters. She also clicked and lost suction as she nursed. Nursing wasn’t bringing me to tears anymore, but it wasn’t very much fun either.
What was going on?
Stay tuned for Breastfeeding the Second Child Part 2: Tongue Tied or Not?