Thursday, August 26, 2010

Breastfeeding and Colbie

August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month.  In honor of that, I want to share my experience so far breastfeeding my daughter, Colbie.

Colbie, just like her sister, was born two weeks early.  That is where all similarities end!

When Colbie entered the world, she was silent.  It completely freaked me out.  I thought something was seriously wrong with her.  But she started to cry soon after and the Dr. and nurses all told me how perfect she was.   Her personality is very laid back and has been from the first breath.  Around our house, if Colbie cries then she actually needs something (and that something is usually sleep!)

Thanks to my experience with Piper, I asked to have Colbie nurse right away.  As it would be, luck was on our side.  Colbie was the only baby born in our hospital on her birthday.  She was the only baby on the floor.  So, the nurse washed her up and quickly returned her to our room.

Is this what you imagined when they
took your baby to be cleaned up?
I did not have any problems getting Colbie to latch on.  I was, however, surprised that it felt like it had with Piper.  I had naively assumed that because I had already breastfed one baby that I would not experience any soreness at all.  I guess I thought that my body would still be accustom to it.  That was not the case. 

Family of four
This is what I looked like the day I had Colbie
Because I "knew" what I was doing and Colbie was eating well, I told the nurses that I did not need to meet with the lactation consultant.  I know that the real reason behind this decision was because of being reprimanded back when Piper was born.  This would be a mistake and my poor "ta-tas" would pay the price.

This is the day after. 
I sported this look for about 4 months
Colbie loved to eat.  She went from 8 lbs 5 oz to over 10 pounds in less than two weeks.  We didn't have any issues with jaundice.  I practice on demand feeding with her and it felt like I was feeding her constantly. It seemed like she was "snacking" a lot.  I came to realized that if she ate a full meal, most of it would come back up.  She was very gassy,  and I was in a lot of pain.  At first, I thought that this was the normal soreness that new moms experience.  After that first week, though, it got worse and not better.  And she was making a very loud "clicking" sound when nursed.  I knew something was wrong, but I didn't want to go see the lactation consultant.  So, I did what I do-  I turned to the Internet for answers.

This was her favorite way to be held.
I think it helped her tummy.
With extensive research, I came to the conclusion that Colbie had a "bad" latch.  Thanks to that latch, she was swallowing a lot of air and I was being tortured with sore "ta-tas".  I was stubborn.  I tried to fix it on my own.  The soreness went away, but I could tell that she was still suffering from swallowing a lot of air.  Finally, when Colbie was 5 weeks old, I gave in and met with a lactation consultant.

Thankfully, the lactation consultant was not the same one I had met with when I had Piper.  Kelly was friendly, informative, and most of all, NOT JUDGEMENTAL!  She explained to me that Colbie had a high palette and that she had figured out how to compensate for it.  That was why her latch was bad.   She showed me ways to help her get a better latch.  I also learned that when I thought that Colbie was just snacking, she was eating a ton.  She took in 4 ounces at the visit in less than 5 minutes.  No wonder she was gaining so much weight! 

I went home after the visit and again looked to the Internet to learn more about nursing a baby with a high palate.  I read that it would not be a problem anymore around three months.  That gave me hope because even with Kelly's help, I was having a hard time correcting Colbie.  I can't  really tell you when the problem worked itself out, but eventually it did.  All I know is that she no longer makes the clicking sound and she doesn't suffer from gas like she used to.  Her latch looks better, too.

It has been 7 months since Colbie entered the world and we are still successfully breastfeeding.  At her six month well check she weighed 17 lbs 9 oz.  She is in the 75th percentile for both weight and height. The lesson that I learned with Colbie is that each breastfeeding experience is different.  I mistakenly assumed that because I was able to breastfeed Piper for 13 months that I would not encounter any problems with Colbie.  I was definitely wrong!  I also learned persistence does pay off.  I wanted to give up many times those first few weeks.  I'm glad I stuck with it.  I am hopeful that Colbie and I  will make it to at least the year mark.  And, so far, so good!


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