Lactation nurses don't need help with lactation, do they?
Posted Sep 15 2009 4:46pm
It's kind of funny- my boss chided me because as the lactation nurse, I shouldn't need help with lactation- but I did! You forget everything when it's your own baby.
Little man was born without much of a fuss, two hours after induction. He nursed well for the first feed, back and forth for 45 minutes. But then he had a bath. Then he slept for 5 hours. Then another 5 hours. And suddenly he had forgotten how to nurse! He sucked on his tongue. He slipped off after a good latch. He got sleepy.
How was it possible that as a lactation nurse and a doula, that I could need breastfeeding help? My friend said to remember the advice I had given so many moms. But being sleep deprived really messes with your memory and your ability to follow directions.
The lactation nurses, my co-workers, helped me latch him on. But he would definitely need more work. I tried self attachment. I tried re-latching over and over. I tried nipple stuffing. Nothing seemed to be clicking.
Then we got to take our healthy baby home for the first time! After two NICU babies that was quite an experience. Pumping for a baby every 3 hours and nursing on demand were certainly not the same. The engorgement was definitely not the same.
For some reason I was following the oversupply advice- nurse on one side until that's drained then switch. Well that made the engorgement so much worse! I tried cabbage, ice packs, pumping to drain the breast, but nothing worked.
My poor baby was so overwhelmed with milk every time he nursed. He developed a tight little latch that hurt like hell, because otherwise he'd drown. He had milk coming out of his nose every time he burped. It was getting to the point where he didn't want to nurse any more.
So I read all of my books, searching for an answer with a foggy memory. I called the nurses at the hospital. My best friend told me again, "remember what you tell the countless moms that call you! Where is your brain?"
I finally found it in the Nursing Mother's Companion- pump once every 24 hours after feeds, enough to feel comfortable, but not enough to drain the breast. So I did, after the morning feed, an ounce on each side. After 48 hours the engorgement finally calmed down.
But now I have this crazy let-down and the baby chokes and gags. At night if I don't burp him he wakes up and can't breathe because there's milk in his nose. I leak like a faucet at night... but little man has gained a pound and a half in two weeks!
So if you don't believe that lactation nurses need help with their own kids, think again. We're just as clueless and sleep deprived as the next mom with a newborn. That's him in the top picture- ain't he cute?!