A Baby Begins Breastfeeding On Her Own.
Right after she was born, Olivia was placed on her mom's stomach. Slowly and surely, she made her way up to Tricia's breast. She kicked her legs and bobbed her head. She lifted up, sweeping her head from side to side. She paused and sucked on her fist and then bobbled back and forth, finding the nipple. In the delivery room, and to everyone's amazement, she found the nipple, and in one lunge, attached and began suckling intently. She continued nursing for nearly an hour. Someone joked that they'd never seen a baby born with a milk mustache!
Preparing a Breastfeeding And Pumping Plan While Pregnant
Before Olivia was born, Tricia studied up on breastfeeding. She wanted to breastfeed and also to pump so her husband could feed the baby with a bottle. She and Chad met with me for a prenatal lactation consultation where I gave them breastfeeding education and a system to help them figure out when to ask for help if they had a breastfeeding challenge.
We practiced positioning learning how to support a tiny, floppy newborn while leaning comfortably back in bed. At home, they continued by watching nursing videos on Global Health Media and YouTube.
Problems Begin To Develop But Quickly Resolve
Tricia had sore, cracked nipples on the second day. She tried to be more conscious of Olivia's positioning. The nurse taught her to hand-express her milk and rub it into her cracked nipples. The healing properties of her breast milk helped a lot and by the next day, her nipples were completely better.
Tricia practiced the leaning back position pulling Olivia in closely so that her cheeks, nose and chin had good contact with her breast. Chad would tuck a pillow under Tricia's arm so she could relax even more and check that Olivia was well-supported and in alignment.
On the third day, Tricia was still a little tender but the pain had resolved. She and Olivia were over their first speed bump and happily breastfeeding together.
Prepare For The Worst And It May Not Happen.
The night before her six-week checkup, Tricia was getting out of the shower and noticed a red streak on her breast. She texted me and I suggested using a warm compress and massaging her nipple below the red area to help move milk past the clogged duct. And to definitely show her doctor at the postpartum visit. Her doctor diagnosed mastitis and prescribed antibiotics. She kept massaging and never developed typical flu-like symptoms. The day after she took antibiotics, it cleared up.
Olivia shows her preferences.
Tricia started pumping a little bit every day so that Olivia's Dad could feed her. However, Olivia refused to take a bottle. At first they thought it was the type of bottle, so they tried a few others, but she refused every single one. Tricia posted in our Café Mama forum and got a number of other ideas to try. Several people also shared that their baby had also refused to drink from bottles.
Chad tried. Olivia's Grandma tried. Tricia left the house. She left a tee-shirt she had slept in so that Olivia smelled her. They tried but Olivia refused to drink from a bottle. Tricia left for a longer stretch and Olivia got cranky but she still refused to take comfort from a bottle of Tricia's milk.
Tricia Decides To Stop Stressing
Tricia called to see if she had overlooked anything, "It's a good thing I don't have to go back to work! Olivia would starve herself."
I assured her that Olivia would never do that! If Tricia was gone all day, every day, Olivia would adapt and eventually find a way to eat."
It was difficult for Tricia to go out because she had to plan around her feedings.
She Says "Yes."
Around 6 months, Tricia and Chad left Olivia with her Gramma and went on their first date since her birth. They had a great dinner and then walked through the town. It felt good to have fun together. They reminisced about the good times they before they were parents and celebrated how they much closer they had become through all the challenges and frustrations of new parenting.
They ended up in the park, sitting on a bench. Chad held her hands, knelt and asked Tricia to marry him. He said that he had never known such a deep love was possible, as he felt when he watched Tricia with their baby.
Tricia started crying as she said yes. Her mascara was running and she wiped it with her thumb, giggling about the streaks. Chad told her she was never more beautiful than that moment.
They kissed and hurried home because they had a hungry baby to feed.
Chad Weighs In.
"Breastfeeding is so amazing. We've never had to buy formula. Tricia lost all her baby weight right away with the breastfeeding. I get so choked up when I see the two of them. It just looks so natural and she and Olivia are really bonded, which I think is due to nursing."
Olivia weaned because Tricia became pregnant. Tricia didn't want to tandem nurse and she didn't want to wait until the baby arrived to stop breastfeeding. She didn't want Olivia to blame the new baby for weaning and honestly, she wanted her body back.
It took them about three weeks. It wasn't easy but Tricia's nipples had become very sore from the pregnancy hormones and that made it easier. First, they cut comfort feeding and added snacks and drinks. The nursing before naps was next and bed time was the last. They switched to rocking her to sleep and Olivia learned to go to sleep without nursing.
Learning Lessons Is Part Of Being A Mom.
Tricia said that she would give this advice to other new moms. "Accept whatever way your breastfeeding goes. Sometimes it doesn't work at all. I was lucky and it did, but I thought I'd be able to pump and give a bottle until Olivia refused everything we tried. And now that the new baby is here, its a different story. He takes a bottle with no problem!"