(Re)Learning how to Eat

May 16, 2012 10:37 am
Posted by: heather

Since I had a C Section, I didn’t get to nurse Trevor right away when he was born. After we were finally reunited in postpartum he was sleepy but we tried anyways. Despite the fact that I was in the hospital an extra couple of days this time, my milk didn’t come in until the last day. However, that didn’t stop Trevor from suckling really vigorously to get as much colostrum as he could. After a couple of days of this vacuum cleaner action (hmmm, seems I wrote a similar post about Jace’s suction power!) this was causing my nipples some serious distress so, having had latch problems with Jace, I made sure to seek the help of the lactation consultants on staff. I asked to speak to one on Sunday night and finally she showed up late in the afternoon on Monday. She check our positioning and said we looked fine and that I should just try nursing in different positions to give my nipples a break and gave me some soothie gel pads to help with the discomfort. Sounded a little odd to me but she is the expert right? Well, lets just say I am not impressed with the lactation staff at MGH.

After a week at home I was still in pain so I sought out the services of an independent lactation consultant. She came over to the house and after I explained what was going on, she immediately checked Trevor’s mouth for a tongue tie (which limits the ability for an infants tongue to move back and forth, thus making nursing hard). He was fine but it was immediately evident to her that instead of using his tongue to suck, he was pulling his lip and jaw in. This took her all of about 5 minutes in my house to figure out yet the consultant at the hospital never even bothered to check for either thing. She showed me a nursing position that forced Trevor to tip his head back and made it hard for him to nurse the wrong way. She also suggested we make Trevor “practice” by sucking on our fingers. You could easily tell when he was sucking the wrong way on your finger and could immediately pull it out and make him try again.

When Trevor was born he was 9lbs 11 oz. When he left the hospital he was around 8lb 14 oz which is a pretty big drop but less than the 10% which is when doctors get worried. After a couple of days at home we had a pediatrician’s appt and he was back up to 9lbs 6 oz which was great (keep in mind that while he was nursing incorrectly, Trevor was getting plenty of food). We made an appointment for a week later just to make sure he was back his birth weight. Well, during that week, that is when I was retraining Trevor how to eat and it didn’t go so well apparently. By the end of the week he had mostly figured it out but had actually lost weight and it was evident that my milk supply had dropped dramatically. So we spent the next week with me pumping, Trevor nursing every 2 to 2 1/2 hrs, syringe supplementing Trevor with pumped milk after feedings, and everyone getting frustrated and tired. It was hard work but at the end of the week we went back to the doctor for a weight check. He clocked in at 9 lb 9 1/2oz. Our pediatrician nicely gifted him the 1/2oz and declared him back to his birthweight. From that point we got to proceed with a more relaxed baby lead feeding schedule and Trevor thrived while my nipples healed.

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(C) Steve and Heather Leibman, 2007.