I will never forget that feeling, the pain of finding out that Kash’s tears were from hunger (it felt like starvation to me!).
When I took Kash to see his pediatrician and found out that he had lost a full pound since he was born, it was a Friday. His pediatrician said to go to MilkWorks right away. I called MilkWorks and told them my baby had lost a pound and I needed to come in the next morning to see a lactation consultant.
Although she wasn't scheduled to work that Saturday, Ann met my new (distraught) family to help us get some food into our starving baby.
She was so kind, gentle and understanding of our clueless-ness when it came to parenting. I remember at that point I was still wondering if I was holding him right (kind of humorous when I look back on it now) - let alone figuring out how to breastfeed!
Ann had me start pumping and bottle feeding right away and Kash put the weight back on quickly. The problem then became that he and I lost faith in the process of feeding at the breast. I believe we were both terrified that it would lead him back to starvation. With pumping and bottle feeding, I could verify his intake and he was eating with ease. It seemed worth the lack of sleep and hassle of pumping while trying to take care of a sometime screaming baby.
I'm so thankful the ladies at MilkWorks continued to encourage me. Especially during the times that I had pretty much decided that breastfeeding was a pipe dream. They worked with me and guided me through the technical and emotional sides. But, it wasn't until one day when Kash was 6 weeks old, that Suzy sternly said to me "he is strong enough to do this," that I realized I hadn't let go of my fear. I hadn't forgotten the pain of knowing my baby was starving when I was supposed to be his food source. In that moment, when she said that to me, I looked down and saw how strong he had become, and even if he lost a little weight at this point, he would be okay. It was then that I really committed to the process. I set a timer for ten minutes and attempted to get him to at least latch on at every feeding. And he always did before the timer went off! Then (as Suzie suggested) I blocked myself off from the pump and him from the bottle for 6 hours a day. All we had was the breast to work with. Before I knew it he was 100% breastfeeding at 9 weeks old!
I can't imagine having gone through this journey without the support of the ladies at MilkWorks and the support group of moms experiencing their own breastfeeding struggles. Thank you so much for all that you women do for us moms and our hungry babies. You really are a blessing to us.
A note from Ann, one of the lactation consultants at MilkWorks: “One of the advantages of working with so many different moms and babies is that our lactation consultants see the incredible progress moms and babies can make! A new mom does not have the advantage of seeing all the babies who come to MilkWorks not feeding well and, with patience and persistence on the part of their mothers, become expert breastfeeders! A huge part of what we do is provide a supportive environment as moms and babies figure it out.”