We don’t have any beautiful images of us looking into each other’s eyes while he nursed and played with my nursing necklace. I don’t have any warm memories I can recall that make my heart swell and my eyes well with emotion.
I nursed a wolverine. (click here for clarification image)
Nursing my son felt like taking a Brillo pad to my boob every 1.5 to 2 hours. He never slept. Ever. His naps were only 15 minutes long. I was crazy sleep deprived. While looking through a box of photos from my son’s first year, I found one of my husband holding a baby I didn’t know. I asked him “whose baby is this?” to which he replied. “yours”.
Let that sink in. I didn’t recognize my own baby. Ugh!
Now 11 years ago, there was no Lip Tie/Tongue Tie groups on facebook. (Was there even Facebook?) I read everything and nothing helped.
I reached out for help and was told over and over, “breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, if it hurts you’re doing it wrong.” I HATE THAT PHRASE! It makes me want to throw things and do other worse things that I will never put in print. (howya doin NSA)
I asked my OB for help. She told me “don’t be a hero”. I fought on, in agony. My husband begged me to stop and just use formula. I fought on, in agony. I asked my pediatrician for help. She told me to supplement because the boy wasn’t gaining enough. I fought on, in agony, and now supplemented.
Supplementing was the biggest slap to my motherhood self-esteem. Maybe they were right. I was too old to be having my first baby. (Yes they used to say stupid s**t like that to every woman over 32)
I still fought on, nursing and topping off his tank with formula.
There is good news.
Around 6 weeks postpartum (yes 6 LONG PAINFUL weeks. I am a stubborn mule) we sat down to nurse. I did my natural childbirth relaxation/meditation to prepare for the pain. (yes that still comes in handy throughout life so take a real class) and it didn’t hurt. It was sore, but not agonizing. IT. WAS. GLORIOUS.
I had tamed the wolverine! (click here for clarification image)
I became the queen of breastfeeding! I started nursing ALL OVER in public. I was that mom who could whip out a boob and latch a baby on before you even saw that rouge and always controversial nipple. I would tell the host at restaurants to make sure we had a server who was going to be ok with breastfeeding, cuz we were gonna be throwin’ down.
But, I still was supplementing. I tried everything to increase my milk supply and nothing was working. Nurse on demand, blah blah. Check. Co-Sleep, blah, blah. Check. Oatmeal, blah, blah. EEW, not checked. You need to sleep more, blah, blah….did you read paragraph 3????
And finally one day a wonderful little herbalist lady gave me fennel seed to make tea. She told me this would increase my supply and he would get enough milk so we could all sleep. So I made fennel seed tea and drank it at every feeding that day.
IT WORKED!!! I drank 6 oz of fennel seed tea at each feeding for a day and my milk went BOOM! My supply was suddenly amazing. This simple little plant was able to do amazing things for my boobs. He started to extend the time between feedings. He finally started sleeping for 5 hours straight at night.
I was finally able to stop supplementing with formula. I continued using fennel seed tea for the rest of my breastfeeding career. I didn’t have to use it every day, but I used it a lot. I used it with my daughter who came along 2 years later and didn’t have to supplement with formula at all. Now she is a whole other blog post…