Warning:  I’m about to get real, so if you don’t want to read about the details of our breastfeeding struggle, come back another day.  
Breastfeeding is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I know that it is supposed to be natural, easy, and is of course best for baby.  I came into it wanting to do it for a year.  Now I’m hoping to make it a month.  I had no idea how difficult it would be, and feel like I was not at all prepared even though we took a class and I read several books.  The first three days were easy, and then my milk came in.  Immediately I was incredibly engorged, and Fisher couldn’t latch on correctly.  He had been circumcised that morning, so he was not in a great mood.  We were still in the hospital because of the c section, so the lactation nurse tried to help.  I was on so much pain medicine that I don’t really remember what she had to say.  We came home that night (Friday) and it was a battle for the next 3 days.  We went to the doctor for his one week check up that Monday.  He had gained weight, going from 7 lb 15 oz to 8 lb 2 oz.  We met with a lactation nurse who gave me nipple shields for my bloody, torn up nipples.  They were a huge help, and we thought our problems were over.
One week later we went back for our 2 week check up.  We walked into the appointment thinking everything was great and that our sweet boy was doing well.  He weighed in at 8 lbs, having lost 2 oz and not back to his birth weight of 8 lb 10 oz.  Our pediatrician was immediately concerned and assumed that the problem was my milk production.  He put us on a regimen of nursing for 10 min each side, then supplementing with a bottle of expressed breast milk or formula while I pumped.  We repeat this cycle ever 2.5 hours.  We were sent back to the lactation nurse, who suggested fenugreek and blessed thistle supplements to increase my supply.  We kept this regimen up and went back to weigh in that Friday.  Thankfully our boy gained 10 oz and was back at his birth weight.  
We scheduled a visit with a private lactation consultant who came highly recommended, and also had a friend who is a retired lactation nurse come visit.  Our friend gave me great tips to help with our latch issues, and suggested that the nipple shields could be interfering with my supply.  Judy, the private LC, was awesome.  She weighed Fisher on a scale that showed how much he took in on each side, to the gram.  She also examined his mouth and noticed that his tongue was closely attached to the bottom of his mouth.  He was tongue tied, which was causing all of his nursing issues.  Thank goodness she noticed it.  
Yesterday we went to a children’s ENT Doctor who examined his mouth and said it would be in our best interest to have a small surgery to clip the tissue on the underside of his tongue.  Being tongue tied could affect his speech later, and was definitely affecting his nursing and my pain during his nursing.  We are hoping and praying that our nursing problems will end soon, as the result of the surgery and lots of prayer.  So far I think I can tell that he is getting more, and less is coming out when I pump after, but it is hard to know definitively.  We will probably have to bring the LC back out to help one more time.  I pray that we will be done with the regimen of feed/supplement/pump soon.  It is incredibly exhausting.  I’m hoping for improvement and that we will be able to get successfully nurse for the next 3, 6, 9 months, or even a year.  For now, I’m taking it a day at a time.  
Have any of you gone through nursing difficulties?  
I would love to hear from you.    

13 Comments on Our Breastfeeding Battle

  1. Oh honey…hang in there..I remember with my 1st it was a battle and I felt like a failure..this is supposed to just happen and be easy and natural..there was nothing natural about it, I struggled and pumped and fought and finally it clicked with us…stick with it, you will be glad you did and your sweet baby will be better for it! BUT do not let anyone (including yourself) guilt you into staying at it if you really have had it…there are tons and formula babies out there that are just as fantastic as breast fed babies 😉

  2. Aw, Becca!
    (You are gonna get all kinds of responses to this post, you know that right? LOL! 🙂
    I am so proud of you! You continue to figure out how to help you and Fisher!
    My babies (4 years apart) were 10 pounds when they were born. I stood no chance. I tried and tried for a week after they were born. They kept losing weight. I had not enough milk for them. Brokenhearted, I nursed and used soy milk formula. After a month or so, I no longer breastfed.
    I wish now that I had asked for more help and stuck it out, but like you said, it is exhausting.
    I will be praying that you two can settle into a routine and that you get some rest.
    I believe that breast feeding is the best (but not the only) way for our children.
    If you and your hubby and the nurses are onboard…keep going…you will find God’s grace and comfort in the midst of it…
    HUGS to you, sweetie!

  3. My third was the battle for weeks I had to fight with him to latch on properly to one side. It was just that one side but I was practically in tears because it would take me forever to get him to nurse on the one side. I spoke to the lactation nurse like 20 times I swear and then eventually he got it which was such a realief. No I can’t get him to take a bottle to save my life but he’s a pretty good nurser these days so just hang in there. My second little guy use to make me bleed all the time too. Try a cream like lansinol or one of those. It was the only way I could get through it with him. Good luck he sure is a cute little guy.

  4. Oh girl, I so feel your pain! I really really hated bfing, it was HARD and PAINFUL! i used nipple shields too and had to have someone inject formula through a syringe so she would latch on. Plus supplement with formula because she was so tiny {5p2oz when she came home} The good news is after about 2 months it got SO MUCH BETTER! I ended up bfing until she was 8 months old, by then she had a mouth full of teeth and I was done 🙂

  5. Oh Becca! I know how hard it can be- I developed Mastitis with Cooper and ended up in the hospital 5 days after having him. It was the sickest that I have ever been. I just did not have it in me to continue to breastfeed, and there was a lot of guilt, a lot of judgement, some women understood, and some were cruel. Don’t let anyone influence your decision, you do what is best for you and your darling baby. I will tell you this, I let the negative feelings color my experience and I don’t have happy memories of Cooper’s newborn stage. I wish I could have looked into the future and seen that he would be a happy healthy kid and that formula would be fine. Breastfeeding is fantastic, but all you can do is give it the old college try, and if it does not work- it is OK. I promise, it will be. I always like to say that my husband was bottle fed, and he is a rocket scientist! Hang in there and try not to beat yourself up, you are doing GREAT!

  6. I think you should count yourself lucky! If you hadn’t been struggling with the breast feeding you probably wouldn’t have noticed the tongue tied issue until it had already affeced his speach and this surgery will be so much easier for a tiny one than it would have a toddler. I am sure things will get easier for you, stay devoted, it is worth it!

  7. Oh sweetie! With both boys, I struggled for the first 6 weeks. Those were 6 weeks of pain, tears, frustration, and lots of break downs for me. Once that 6 weeks was over, I was fine, the sisters were fine, and we nursed.

    You’re doing great Becca. I know it’s hard. Take it one day at a time, Momma 🙂

  8. I don’t envy you right now. I remember with my first child we both had a hard time for a while too, but it did get better. My last son I couldn’t nurse because of the medicaton I had to take and I felt so guilty, but he turned out quite healthy. So whatever way you have to end up going know everything will be okay. Best of luck! He is a cutie!

  9. Hi, I’ve been visiting awhile but rarely comment, just wanted to tell you to hang in there cause it does get easier. And if you can’t deal with it, if it becomes too hard, then don’t beat yourself up! I had a really hard time with my first baby, I think most moms do. It takes time and patience. Another thing, everyone’s nipples hurt at first and not just with the first baby, but it gets better, one day you’ll wake up and it won’t hurt anymore. I promise. Best of luck!
    I wrote a post awhile back on my own experience if you’re interested:

  10. oh becca! you’re doing such a great job! i was so lucky to have it easy, but i know that’s not the norm! so many women find those first several (4-6 weeks) so difficult. just do what you need to do, one day at a time. breastfeeding is wonderful and best, but any mama’s milk you can give your little guy is wonderful – whether or not you are able to do it for as long as you’d like. i hope it does get better for you though, and i hope these consultants will help you figure things out. (((HUGS)))

  11. Yes, breastfeeding is the best, and natural, but it is NOT easy! It takes so much committment and time even when everything goes right, which pretty much it did for us. But it is downright hard when things aren’t perfectly aligned as they seem to be for you guys. I have heard of other people who had to get the surgery to overcome tongue tie and things immediately improved after it. I pray they do for yall. You are such a good momma for sticking with it for your little boy. The two of you are a team and will accomplish this together!

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