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Breastfeeding – Don’t Give Up (Part Deux)

Posted Dec 01 2010 12:00am

The night Aria had her tongue-tie released,  she cried like crazy and I spent the first 100% sleepless night of my life. Each time I thought I had rocked her to sleep, I would set her down only to have her wake up immediately and cry. By morning, she had cried so hard that she re-opened the wound under her tongue; it started bleeding. I’ll never forget the panic I felt when I saw blood welling up in my newborn’s mouth. The doctor said everything was fine, but from that point on, she “hated” breastfeeding.

Here is what would happen: I would offer her the breast. She would move eagerly towards it, making cute panting noises. Then, when she got there, she would arch her back away from the breast and scream furiously. We’re talking, the kind of crying and screaming that is gut-wrenching. 0-100 in 2 seconds. It was very heart-breaking for me. I didn’t have the will to keep forcing her to breastfeed, so I’d just pump and give it to her in a bottle.

Well, weeks went by in this way. I grew increasingly desperate. I took her to breastfeeding support groups in weeks 2, 3, and 4 with mixed results. In week 2, the lactation consultant was also unable to get her to latch on…she screamed like crazy as I’ve described above. In week 3, the lactation consultant was able to get her to breastfeed on one side, but then when I got home, she would magically forget how and we were back to square one, with square one being the traumatic screaming. In week 4, I took her back to Sylvia Boyd, and Sylvia got her to breastfeed on both sides. But again, that was while we were at Sylvia’s office. At home, Aria still screamed bloody murder.

I grew exhausted with the constant pumping. So, I decided to give up. I had decided to only pump whenever I felt like it, and the rest of the time, she could just have formula. After all, I never had a drop of breastmilk as a baby and I turned out okay.

So I went from offering her the breast at every feeding to just offering it half-heartedly once a day. At the beginning of Week 5, we had come back from a walk and I once again offered her the breast, fully expecting her to wail again. I even had the bottle of expressed milk ready to go, when lo and behold, she latched on to my left breast and started sucking!

Miracle of miracles! At least, that’s what it felt like. After 20 minutes of feeding, she fell soundly asleep, profoundly contented in my arms. When she woke up, I offered her my right breast, and she exhibited the same old screeching behavior again. This went on for a few days – she would feed off the left breast, but then “eek eek eek” at the right one. I was so grateful that she breastfed at all that I just went along with it.

Then one day, in the 6th week, she suddenly latched onto my right breast as well, and since then, she’s been a happy, 100% breastfed baby. In fact, she’s SO happy as a breastfed baby, that she is now refusing the bottle and giving my mother-in-law a fit during the days that I’m at work. But that is a story for another time…

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