“The Dr. came in to do his rounds and I was in the middle of trying to nurse him and he was basically taken away from me in the middle of trying to nurse him, to be weighed and then we were told that he lost too much weight and he needed formula. They brought the formula bottle in and I just lost it.”
Jennifer Gaskill is a former teacher now works in instructional design. She lives with her husband and beautiful 10 month old baby boy in Florida She is also an aspiring blogger of One Working Mommy, where she writes about new mom life and what’s it like to be a full time working mom. She recently weaned after 9 months of breastfeeding 6 of which were spent exclusively pumping.
How did Jennifer hear about All About Breastfeeding podcast?
She first heard about the show when I was a guest on another podcast. Looked me up and listened to a few shows before she was pregnant. One of the things that she heard loud and clear is that: Breastfeeding pain is not normal. That was helpful for her. When she gave birth to her son and had some struggles, she joined the Facebook Community and has found it to be a helpful and supportive community. If every mom learns that breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt, this will help them to seek help sooner rather than later. Before she left the hospital, one of her nipples cracked and it was toe curling pain. If she did not know that there was helpful she probably would have given up.
Jennifer was born In NY and moved to Florida when she was 4 years old. Her family consisted of just her and her parents, until a baby sister came into the household when she was 7 years old. Jennifer and her sister are real close. Her sister was her second birth coach, along with her husband. Because they are 7 years younger, she got some real life experience in taking care of babies, changing diapers and babysitting.
Jennifer shares the same experience that I observed. None of the mothers that we babysat for seemed to be breastfeeding. We never saw pumps or moms not giving any instructions on warming their breastmilk for bottles. We only saw formula. Jennifer’s mother formula fed her and her sister.
Decision to breastfeed:
Although she did not see breastfeeding when she grew up, Jennifer knew that when it came to how she fed her babies, she did want to breastfeed. When she planned to take a breastfeeding class, her husband wondered why he should go because he was not going to be the one breastfeeding. He did accompany her and he was happy that he did as he learned so much more about breastfeeding then he ever thought there was to learn.
We talked about the importance of her husband being in the class and learning. This really became helpful because when Jennifer was struggling so, her husband was right there reminding her of the health benefits and when she wanted to quite he was right there reminding her of how hard she had worked at breastfeeding so far and reminding her why she did want to breastfeed. He was supportive in all the right ways and Jennifer feels that if he did not have the background knowledge he learned in breastfeeding class, things may have been different as far as his support.
Early breastfeeding experience:
She had a c/section and was medicated and feels that some of the medication was in babies system. This did not help her situation. When he latched on it was painful and by Day 2 he had already started losing weight and her nipples were cracked already. She requested a pump because this is what she learned in class. On Day 3 he had lost more weight and it was advised that she begin to supplement with formula.
Her baby would breastfeed, she would pump, but get very little, barely enough for the syringe. Gradually her supply began to increase and she really noticed a change once she was home from the hospital. Her basic plan for feeding was to begin each feeding at breast, supplement with formula and pump. Like most new mothers she does remember the pumping being somewhat inconsistent. This is very common with new mothers as they are pp, exhausted, hormonal and frequently don’t fully understand the need to pump consistently.
How did it feel to be told her baby was losing weight and she needed to supplement:
Jennifer really wanted an unmedicated vaginal birth. She just did not progress on her own. She had pitocin and her baby did not respond well to the pitocin and this led to many interventions that she did not plan on. She had a cesarean section and was already feeling like her body had completely failed her. She states that by the time it came to the struggles she was having with breastfeeding and this not working out either it was stressful and devastating. To be told that her baby was not getting enough milk from her it was the final blow.
Jennifer also feels that the decision to start supplementing was handled well. The Dr. came in to do his rounds and she was in the middle of breastfeeding. Her baby was taken away while she was trying to breastfeed and her baby was weighed then she was told he lost too much weight. They were told she needed to supplement with formula and the bottle of formula was brought into the room. She remembers feeling inconsolable.
Our care providers need to remember how vulnerable a mom is at this point. They need to be mindful of how to speak to moms and how to treat new mothers. In this case, they could have waiting for her to finish breastfeeding. They could have explained to her baby’s loss, what is normal and expected. Perhaps hand expression could have been discussed and the expressed milk offered to her baby while they worked on breastfeeding.
The first few weeks at home:
Each time she thought about switching to formula feeding is that she knew she would need to keep track of ounces so she was sure to not overfeed or underfeed. She also knew that she really desired a breastfeeding relationship with her baby as the few times that he did latch on, she was reminded of why she wanted to breastfeed. She also wanted her baby to be able to eat when he was hungry and stop when he was full and she felt that breastfeeding would really help with this.
She started to search for help. A friend helped her get through the next few days until she could get help from the lactation consultant at her pediatricians office. Jennifer is grateful for her friend’s help who was so important to her ability to keep working at breastfeeding.
Visit with Lactation Consultant:
The lactation consultant was very supportive. However, her baby latched well at that appointment and transferred all the milk that he needed to do. It was very frustrating for Jennifer and her husband because they cleared their schedule and attended the appointment, all for her son to do an excellent job with breastfeeding. They did receive some good advice and additional information, however, since he had not breastfed well before this appointment and while she was grateful he did feed well at the appointment, she had a feeling this was not going to continue and she would need more help.
listen Now Part 1
listen Now Part 2
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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