Despite the disapproval of others before she was born I was determined to breastfeed my daughter.
After she was born, she could not latch properly. She screamed literally the entire first night. The Nurses tried to help but offered me conflicting advice. I was so confused and frustrated. The nurses told me she didn't have a lip tie, I was doing everything right. They had no other suggestions. I was ready to quit.
By the time we left the hospital in the morning my nipples were cracked, bleeding and my daughter had a blister on her lip.
The home care nurses came the next day. They also informed me that my daughter had jaundice, she lost a significant amount of weight and it was likely my daughter would need surgery on her skull, we needed to see a specialist. While we waited for the specialist appointment I continued to try. When my milk came in I got so engorged, I got a high fever. It hurt so bad to let my daughter nurse I was bawling and my daughter didn't want to latch due to how engorged I was. I again felt defeated and thought again about giving up.
I preserved, still with sore, cracked, bleeding nipples. I had to yoga breathe every time my daughter latched. I continued seeking help from four different lactation consultants. Each lactation consultant seemed to give me conflicting advice.
I felt so defeated, confused. Then we were told by the specialist my daughter did in fact need surgery on her skull. They booked the surgery for three months later. Due to failure to thrive and upcoming surgery I decided to start supplementing my daughter. I reached out to local moms for milk donations. I was blessed with so much response. I drove around Edmonton for hours picking up milk donations. I was thrilled to be able to keep her on breast milk.
I was breastfeeding my daughter for an hour, bottle feeding her & then pumping for 15 minutes every two hours around the clock. It was beyond stressful trying to work around her feeding schedule and make it to all her appointments. We were going to weekly craniosacral and chiropractic therapy sessions.
We saw a dentist to get her lip revised, they advised she was missing a bone where her front teeth would be and sent us to a specialist who said in fact the bone was fine, but her frenulum is not normal and she will need surgery to correct it when she is a bit older. The doctors and lactation consultants were at a loss. No one could offer us anymore help. We all just hoped the skull surgery would help her latch. After her skull surgery there was thankfully an improvement.
She had to wear a helmet for 5 months after her surgery it was hard to adjust to, it was quite awkward at first to nurse her with it on and again we learned together to work around the bulk. Then she was diagnosed as intolerant to multiple foods, I needed to adjust my diet, but persevered in my goal to nurse my daughter.
In march 2017 I was beyond thrilled to start exclusively breastfeeding my daughter. I’m so thankful for the breastmilk donors the allowed my daughter to stay on human milk the entire time. I was ecstatic to put my pump away, I haven't looked at it since.
She is almost 12 months old now and still exclusively breastfed. It only takes 15 mins to feed her. It's amazing, my life has gotten back to normal. I am so thankful I persevered through it all. In all the stressful moment leading up and after her surgery it was so special to have our nursing time together. My daughter found so much comfort in nursing after her surgery and was in so much pain. I’m also quite proud that I have donated my milk to 8 different babies whose moms needed the same help supplementing that I did. My son and my partner have been my biggest support. I couldn't have succeeded without them.