When Your Boobs Are Too Big! Patience & Julian's Breastfeeding Journey

I met Patience at a community vendor fair when she was pregnant with Julian. We spent some time chatting and exchanging business cards and then crossed paths a few months later when she needed some assistance with breastfeeding after Julian was born. Like many breastfeeding journeys, Patience had some hiccups along the way. By the time I arrived to help Patience and Julian, Patience had made a lot of progress on her own and figured out the latch and positioning as you'll read in the story. So when I arrived, I did my "check-up" and got a weight check on Julian and measured a feeding and caught up on the feeding history from before I arrived. Then I just kept an eye on progress with weight checks and got to hang out with Patience and Julian at TummyTime! Method class! He's a super star and has graduated already! Here is Patience and Julian's breastfeeding journey....

My breastfeeding story- Patience and Baby Julian. (Born May 2018)                 I always wanted to breastfeed. I actually planned to adopt my children and was thinking to try the supplements to be able to try to breastfeed (if I adopted an infant). My mom breastfed me and my sibling so I grew up with that being quite normalized. So I was quite excited when my baby was born and I did the first feed and it went great. He ate like a champ and seemed all was well. But then… things went south. His next few feedings he struggled to latch, and wasn't getting enough. My milk hadn’t fully come in. One nurse said some people with PCOS (an ovulation issue that I have) can't breastfeed, though some can. So now I was super worried I didn't make enough milk and wouldn’t be able to to breastfeed. The nurses at the hospital said I should try to pump. I pumped for a half hour and got NOTHING. I cried. After the first pump the nurse said that was normal to not get any the first time. I wish they told me that beforehand! I was so upset. The next time I pumped though I got a tiny bit and it was quite exciting. I was then able to pump about 1-2oz of colostrum the next few times. I would breastfeed and then bottle feed what I had pumped. I had the lactation consultants come down daily to my room while I was in the hospital to help me with latch and hand expression (still haven’t got that part down…). Then one night when they had Julian in the nursery so I could sleep, a nurse comes in and tells me he’s not gaining enough weight, he’s screaming in the nursery and I need to give him formula. This freaked me out because previously the nurses said he was fine, he never screamed really, and I thought my breastmilk was coming in- slowly but still! This shocked me and I was worried they would think I was not properly caring for my child. I had them bring him in to me and agreed to try formula. He came to me and was not screaming. (I think he just wanted to be held as he was not a fan of just being left to lay in the crib thing!). I gave him a bottle of formula and he sucked down a lot of it. He had few more days of breastmilk and formula. I was in the hospital for 5 days because of some other issues with me (I got an infection in my leg unrelated to childbirth) so I had plenty of time to work on latch with the nurses and LCs. I got home and continued to nurse and supplement with my pumped milk. Once my regular milk came in I got plenty and I was overjoyed. I could actually breastfeed and supply the milk my baby needed! (I brought home the formula the hospital gave me and I had some free samples too but never needed them! After a few months I gave it all away to a friend who needed it.) If he would just stay latched maybe we’d get somewhere with just nursing. He would often pull off, struggle to get back on, prefer one side, or get so worked up I couldn’t get him on at all. My mom, a breastfeeding champ of 6 kids, plus my sister who is a nurse, and others all tried to help. It was rough for the first week or two. I was ready to give up the latch and just pump and feed at one point but my mom said I needed to nurse him. I wasn't sure what to do. I made an appointment with Dana and by the time we scheduled my baby was doing much better. Somehow he figured out the latch after a few weeks. When he got a bit bigger I was able to lay down and feed him side-lying style which worked really well for both of us. One of the struggles was that my breasts are so large I would literally suffocate him and he would pull off to breathe. So I had to hold his head onto the boob plus hold my breast back from covering his nose. It was a lot for me and poor baby to manage for quite a while! He finally was gaining weight enough and latching well enough we stopped the bottle supplements and he was fine to only nurse. (He just got bottles when he was with the babysitters). This was good as it was really hard to find time to pump as he wanted to be held all the time and once my mom wasn't around to help me I just couldn’t do it. Now i only pump at work and he has a bottle when I'm not with him. After the first few weeks things improved on their own and after a few months we were confidently able to breastfeed anywhere. While at first with all the pulling off and on it was a struggle to feed in public, he eventually got the hang of it and I can now feed him without even a cover and do it discreetly enough. I’m glad I hung in there because exclusively pumping would just not work for me since I don't have time to pump, and I really love the extra cuddles, even if its all night to nurse him. He likes it too. Now that he’s older (9 mos) he is very distracted and won’t feed much during the day because he wants to look around, but at night he will eat for long stretches and I think he enjoys our cuddle-nursing-sleep time.

When a Child is Born, a Mother is Born