“But when our son was born a challenge that we had with him and a mistake that I made with him is that with our daughter was I was able to nurse her for 13 months before we weaned. I know what I am doing now and what I didn’t account for was that the next baby is a whole new baby. Even though I got to a point where my daughter and I knew what we were doing, it was a whole new experience with my son.”
Becky Ramsdell is a Peoria, Arizona woman who is now a mom of two after going through 10 years of infertility and failed adoptions in the process of building their family. She had struggles with breastfeeding both of her babies but was ultimately able to work through those struggles and nurse each of them for their first year. She went back to work when each of them was 3 months old, so there was a lot of pumping and milk freezing involved. Now she loves to share her story of hope and encouragement with other moms who are facing similar challenges with establishing nursing with their babies.
Background History: Becky was born and raised in Arizona. She grew up as an only child. Her parents had her late in life. Her mom was 39 years old and found herself unexpectedly pregnant with Becky. They moved in with her maternal grandparents and instead of being surrounded by other siblings, she was grew up with her grandparents. Becky is grateful that she had the opportunity to spend so much time with her grandparents and living together provided her with an opportunity to establish a bond with her grandparents.
Becky did notice a change in her relationships with friends who had their kids, while she was still trying to have kids. Through her struggles with infertility she bonded with other woman that were going through similar issues. By the same token, now that she has young children, she has found another new set of friends as they go through breastfeeding challenge, having babies, changing diapers, toddlerhood and school age children. She said: “you meet people where you are at in life.” One thing that she did not expect, that with all her emotional and physical challenges, she did not expect breastfeeding to be a healing experience, but this is certainly what has happened.
Becky acknowledges that it is not just the fortitude and persistence but was going into it having very realistic expectations. She expected this to be a challenge and that helped her because she did not have a picture in her head that she would put her baby to her breast and everything would magically work. When she was in her early 20’s she had a friend that she met from work. She was 10 years older and Becky really looked up to her. When she had her first baby she really wanted to breastfeed. She saw her friend going through a hard time breastfeeding. It was Painful, the latch was not good latch,her baby was losing weight and she really tried and graciously acknowledged to herself that her baby be fed and grow well and so she did not beat herself up that breastfeeding was not working. She said to herself that If this person that I admire so much and she struggled so much, I should not automatically expect that it come so easily for me. She also watched other friends struggle with breastfeeding issues. The message that Becky received was that breastfeeding was not easy and that it was not her doing something wrong, it is just a tough thing and you just need help with this.
Becky is optimistic person, however, she does not want to give everyone with the idea that this was all easy for her. She definitely dealt with the repercussions from cesarean section and the hormonal changes during the early days of postpartum and the difficulties of breastfeeding. So, while she was realistic, it certainly does not mean that this was easy for her. Her daughter lost a lot of weight and so she was needing to be supplemented and her daughter was associating her husband with food. Seeing others struggle, did not necessarily make things easier for her, however, it was a very important to Becky to realize that she was not alone. This was very helpful because she did not hesitate to call for help when she realized she needed assistance.
When she was younger: She knew fairly early on that she wanted to be a newspaper reporter. She worked toward a journalism degree in college, this was just as the internet was starting to get established. Even back then, being a good journalist was a 24/7, /365 day commitment, to your time and energy. She quickly realized that she enjoyed all the excitement and activity of the newsroom, it did not allow for the balance that she was looking for in her life. She transitioned to the marketing and PR side of thins and and now she works full time because she works full time on the Internet and I dod digital analytics. She is still involved in communication and this works very well for her. This is a job that did not even exist when she was growing up, but she does enjoy it and it does allow for the balance that she was looking for with family and work life.
Was she breastfed? She was not breastfed and was strictly formula fed. Her mother tells Becky that she loved her formula. This helped Becky in that she knew that she grew up healthy and well educated and ultimately you can have a healthy, happy successful life even if you don’t breastfeed. Her mom has lived with her for 10 years and has been a keen observer of watching Becky go through breastfeeding struggles. Her mom may have felt a little hurt by Becky’s decision to breastfeed, and yet was also very curious about it. She had questions about breastfeeding as she asked her how breastfeeding works and what does it feel like? When her second child was 4 months old and her daughter was 2 1/2 years old. One time her daughter was sitting on the couch and we looked over at her and she had pulled the collar of her shirt down and she was holding her baby doll at her chest and she told Becky that she was feeding her baby. Becky’s mom did think this was so cute and Becky thought it was neat that her daughter was getting this message that this is how moms feed their babies.
Becky shares a story of nursing in public and the impact it had on her. We both lament how it would be nice to live in a world where breastfeeding is considered the norm.
Preparing for breastfeeding her baby: She did very little preparation. Becky has her own reasons why she did not prepare for birth or for breastfeeding. She had lost 6 pregnancies prior to this one. She just could not sit through a class and be with her other parents who fully expected to take home a baby from the hospital at the end of this. Until her daughter literally cam eout of her body, she and her husband did not ever believe that she would be taking home a living baby. She did not even register her baby until she was 9 days old. She did do some reading, but this was a challenge also. In the hospital, the nurses tried to help as much as they could. The challenges was that each one of the nurses seemed to have a different way of going about teaching. The lack of inconsistency was something Becky found difficult. When she asked to have a lactation consultant,, she wsa told that since she did not have any specific problems with brestfeeding, the lc was sved for big problems and.
At home, she started producing milk and she was like, oh, this is what it looks like, this is how it works. I started looking online and found the first one, who would help her if she came to her house. So, she went over there it was 8:00 pm on a Friday night, it was in someone else’s home and she just found that it was not all the help she needed. She needed more assistance and looked some more and found me. Becky;s words of wisdom in this area is to not give up reach out for help, someone else. This is a process it takes time. I took about 3 weeks old until she ws able to stop the supplemental formula. Another part that was key in this ws having a pediatricin who is supportive with breastfeeding.
Lori acknowledges that one of the biggest complaints that parents have is the lack of inconsistency in the care they receive during their hospita stay. It seems that each staff person has their own way of doing things and this drives parents insane. Lori feels badly that Becky was not givenh elp with breastfeeding just because she was in the learning pahse and did not have great difficiles. It can be very difficult for lacation consultants to get to see everyone.
Listen below to hear the full story
Contact Info: [email protected]
Lori J. Isenstadt, IBCLC
Lori Jill Isenstadt, IBCLC is a huge breastfeeding supporter. She has spent much of her adult life working in the maternal health field. Once she became turned on to birth and became a childbirth educator, there was no stopping her love of working with families during their childbearing years. Lori became a Birth doula and a Postpartum doula and soon became a lactation consultant. She has been helping moms and babies with breastfeeding for over 25 years. Lori founded her private practice, All About Breastfeeding where she meets with moms one on one to help solve their breastfeeding challenges. She is an international speaker, book author and the host of the popular itunes podcast, All About Breastfeeding, the place where the girls hang out. You can reach Lori by email at: [email protected] or contact her via her website: allaboutbreastfeeding.biz/contact
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