Welcome to the place where you can easily access TONS of FREE Breastfeeding information and GAIN valuable insight on best tips, how-to’s and “ need to know” about all things breastfeeding related.This week Lori speaks to Melanie Denzer
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” It was not pretty, the first few days. I have to say. I guess there is no way to avoid getting too graphic. There were scabs and blood involved and crying involved from both me and my son. It was tough and Nobody told me that it was not going to be something that was going to to click naturally for everyone. And that was really scary to me. “
Episode 65 Melanie Denzer
is a married stay-at-home mom to 3 children under 8 and freelance recruiter. She is active in her community as a foster and adoptive parent and a member of the Mothers’ Center of Southwest Nassau and also facilitates groups with the Center.
Background family history: The oldest of 4 kids and grew up the first quarter of her life in Queens NY and then moved to Long Island. She has a younger sister and 2 younger brothers. She feels like she had an idyllic childhood. Her parents were creative and always encouraged creativity in her kids. Melanie said she definitely fits the older child profile. She is bossy and controlling and if you ask her siblings they will still say she is the one in charge.
When she was younger, Melanie thought she was going to be a famous actress/doctor. She feels like cleaning up boo-boos and administering band-aids can fall into the Doctor category and actress part entertaining children you have to be a world class actress. She currently is a Part time contract recruiter in the fashion industry. This is something she never thought she would do – talk to people all day and offer them jobs, she laughs how she could have saved herself a lot of money in school loans. She loves the flexibility of this job as it allows her to be there for her kids and take care of all the after school activities and appointments.
Preparing for breastfeeding her first baby: She was the first of her friends to have a baby, so she did not have any friends as resources. She did take a birthing class. Her first baby was born at home. Her mom nursed her and she saw all of her siblings be nursed. So this was her exposure to breastfeeding as it being the norm for her family life. She read many books, loves Ina May Gaskin and became a birth junkie. Halfway through her pregnancy, she watched the excellent documentary, The Business of Being Born with Rikki Lake. This movie was all about birth practices in the United States and how it differed than other countries. Watching this movie and learning about the high induction rates and cesarean section rates in hospitals, she remember thinking: “I do not want to have a baby in the hospital. She felt there was a direct coorelation between hospital birth and high rates of interventions. She wanted to reduce the possibility of induction and c/section for herself. She understands the hospital environment, the liability they have and the need to control birth. Her husband watched the documentary with her and when it was over, she said to him she wanted to look into homebirth and he was fine with this. Melanie that took on the task of interviewing midwives. She was looking for that good connection as well as someone with experience who she felt comfortable with and who had a passion for midwifery.
Early days of breastfeeding: Melanie takes a big sigh and tells us that one would think with all the exposure to breastfeeding and natural birth, that breastfeeding would be easy and comfortable for her. And yet, it was not. When her baby first latched on, her immediate thought was: “there is someone with their mouth on my nipple right now and this is weird.” We are brought up to believe that our breasts are sexual things, they are meant to be hidden, you should not show them to anyone. Suddenly you have to turn this thinking around and say breastfeeding is normal, this is what breasts are made for and just have a change in the way you think.
She felt like the positioning was pretty good. She did not realize until a few days later that her son was tongue tied. ( definition below). Her husband is also tongue tied. Her midwives did not feel comfortable doing this procedure and they referred her to a specialist who did the procedure in her office. After that procedure, called a frenotomy, things got a lot better. However, she was still experiencing some pain. During a visit with her lactation consultant, it was explained to her that she had Raynaud’s Syndrome of the nipples. Her nipples changed from red to purple to white and this triphase color changes, along with the pain she was describing were common signs of Raynaud’s. A change in temperature contributes to the pain/throbbing that moms feel when they have Raynaud’s. She also has Raynaud’s Syndrome. Melanie had her son in the middle of January and our her apartment was not the warmest. Once she figured out that was part of the problem, she made sure to bundle up and this helped to reduce the pain and symptoms that accompany Raynaud’s syndrome when there is a drastic temperature change. ( definition below) Melanie does have Raynaud’s Symdrome because the tips of her fingers go numb when she goes out into the cold.
This is a great example of even when the position and latch is good and you feel like you are doing all the right things, there might still be pain. There are some very good reasons to see an IBCLC because they have the years of experience to evaluate your breastfeeding challenges and find what it is that is causing you problems. While Melanie had the support of her husband and breastfeeding was so painful, she was determined that she was not going to use formula. She was determined to get through the tough part as she very much desired to get to the place of comfortable and enjoyable breastfeeding.
Every night at about 3 or 4 in the morning: Melanie said that this was the time of the night, every night, that she felt like quitting. She knew she was too stubborn and not going to really quit, but it was so painful that she frequently had thoughts of quitting. Eventually, by the time her son was about 2 months old, breastfeeding went much better. She nursed her son until he was about 19 months old.
Her second son was also tongue-tied. She went through a period of painful breastfeeding with cracked and bleeding nipples. This time her midwife did the frenotomy and things were much better. She gave birth in the warmth of the summer so her Raynaud’s was just no a problem. She nursed her second son until he was about 17 months old.
She was pregnant with her second child and since her baby was only nursing a few times a day, she worked towards weaning him because her nipples had become so sensitive.
What Melanie would like other moms to know: Her husband did encourage her to go to LLL meeting, but, the thought of getting out to a meeting was just too much. She did not do this with her first baby, but did with her second. She made sure she did get to La Leche League with her second and found this very valuable. Melanie highly recommends this to new mothers – push yourself to get out to meetings as the friends and resources are invaluable, it is so worth it.
What words of wisdom would she want to tell mothers: Sleep when the baby sleeps. So much of her crying and frustration had to do with the fact that she was exhausted. She was trying to get things done while the baby was asleep. rather than resting her body. Melanie feels she would have healed faster and been able to deal with the rest of her day and with difficult breastfeeding had she been more rested.
What would have helped her to heed those words of wisdom of sleep when the baby sleeps: Having some say – Please let me make you dinner. Please let me fold your laundry. She felt a lot of pressure to make sure the house was in order and everyone was well fed. She knows she would have done better if she just turned these duties over to someone else.
Funny stories about breastfeeding: Melanie had her own office with a lock on the door when she was working full time. She did make sure her boss know that she was going to be pumping while back at work. She even went as far as writing a letter to her boss telling him that she would be pumping, but that she would be available via email. Every Tuesday, there was a guy who would come around and water all the plants in the office. Her routine was to lock her door and sit in her chair and lock the door and set up the pump. She would often wear a shirt that was not conducive to breastpumping, so she would just take her short off. Every Thursday, she would hear office people saying hi and joking with the plant guy. She would always hear the doorknob jiggling and it was locked and then the guy would go away. She had a very comfortable routine doing this and never flinched when she heard the door jiggle. Until one day, she heard the key in the door and before she knew it the door flung opened and there stood the plant guy and her office manager. She took a very quick dive under the desk and with this, she lost suction on the pump and all the milk spilled. Needless to say that she everything fell all over the floor, she was wiping her spilled milk off the floor. Here she thought she was immune to all these horror stories about being walking in on when you are pumping. After that, she hung a sign that said – Do not disturb. Melanie laughs and tells us: “Nothing to stop that milk flowing like the sound of hearing a key in the door.”
Melanie talks though about how she paved the way for other employees coming back from maternity leave and pumping on the job. A lot of moms pumped when back at work. They made jokes about the pump and the noise and walking back to the refrigerator with their milk in that little brown bag. She feels she helped normalized pumping. Melanie says that she is sure she is the talk of her company and long after she stopped pumping. She is pretty sure that others laughed about the nursing pads that she use to wear that you could see the lumps through the shirt.
Mom-mentum and Melanie – She belongs to the Mother’s Center of SW Nassau. It is a great group of women in the community who are open minded and non-judgmental and we get together on a weekly basis and to talk about all things going on in our life. Topics such as sleep issues with your toddler, getting into middle school and mean girls. The topics go from Pre-birth to being part of the sandwich generation. She started out attending the groups as something to do and not feeling judged by others moms. After attending for 1 1/2 years, she trained as a peer facilitator so she now gives back as a facilitator.
She heard about Mom-mentum a year before her second son was born. She thought it was a parenting group and felt she was doing fine and didn’t need it. At some point, a friend of hers invited her to a group that she was going to attend also. She enjoyed this first group so well she wound up coming to the group on a weekly basis. She felt comfortable and safe and felt like she “found her people.” It was not like everyone in the group thought and acted the same. What she was drawn to is that everyone was willing to be warm and open. She enjoys the kinship and camaraderie. We are all in this together and we are getting through it day by day. Being a member of this group has been the biggest area of growth in all her years of motherhood. Being able to hear other mother’s stories has helped her to be more accepting and less judgmental.
Contact Info: 516-593-2042
Link to Momentum
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