I had many struggles breastfeeding my first daughter and you can read all about it in this post about breastfeeding Madison, but in the end I felt it was worth it. So worth it that I opted to do it all again when Mallory came around. Sort of. I thought it would be less painful this time. I’d know what I was doing, getting the position right from the get-go. My nipples would surely have retained some of their toughness. I’d get the doctors to identify any lip or tongue ties right out of the gate and release away! Right? No. It didn’t go down like that.
Alright I knew what to do to get her into position, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. It still hurt. And I pushed and pushed until the pediatrician came to see us before we left the hospital and I asked about lip tie and tongue tie. I told her of the struggles I’d had with Madison, that I was already having pain with Mallory and that I wanted to catch any ties early on. She gave Mallory’s mouth the quickest glance and said she didn’t see anything to worry about. I left that interaction frustrated because I didn’t trust her quick judgment. I felt it hadn’t been given the time of day and I resented her for ignoring all that I’d said.
I had an incredibly painful first night of frequent and long feeds with Mallory. My nipples were getting worse by the feed. After the pediatrician’s feeble check I went home and I was in a newborn whirl-wind for the first day or two but then I quickly signed myself up for a breastfeeding consultant. I found one that specializes in lip and tongue ties who releases them herself.
As soon as I got to this consultant, Tanya, she confirmed that Mallory had a lip tie and a slight tongue-tie. She clipped both on our first visit. I didn’t feel improvement but I felt so validated. I came back a couple days later for our follow-up and she offered to clip the lip tie even further. I hesitated because I don’t want to just go clipping away for nothing but I decided to do it if she thought there was merit. Mallory latched again and I felt immediate improvement! I had never gotten that noticeable change before. I was elated and I raved to everyone how I had been the driving force that got the thing finally taken care of. So this is what it’s supposed to feel like. It’s not always painful? Huh.
It took some time, even with the latch resolved, for my nipples to heal fully and toughen. Mallory still doesn’t take a bottle reliably (this is a little different than Madison), so I don’t get any break from it, but we have a pretty good thing going now. We feed more often than my peers, sure. And by weighing her with an infant scale I can see she only ever gets about 3oz to 3.5oz per meal, no matter how far apart the meals are. That’s about all I had ever pumped during my first year after Madison was born (I think I got 4 ounces a couple times). So that’s us. That’s our rhythm. That’s Mallory’s max tummy capacity. Or maybe it’s my boobs’ max capacity. Or maybe she just gets tired of working for it. Who knows?
All I know is it’s working for us, and I can’t go far or stay away long, but I know it’s temporary. We will have this time and then it will change. And I know I did everything I could do to give us the best chance of success here. And I went with my gut and pushed for what I needed and that is all I really can do. So I’m just going with the flow. Sorry for the pun. And enjoying our intimate moments as she strokes my back, grabs my shirt and we spend our time alone together in the dark.
What I Learned
Breastfeeding is still hard the second time around. I do think I shed fewer tears over the frustrations of it all than I did the first time but definitely still some. And definitely tears for the pain. Oh the pain. If you’re in this, hang in there. This too shall pass.