Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Visit with a Lactation Consultant

It felt very weird visiting a lactation consultant today. First of all, I've nursed three children for six years now. I felt like I should know what I'm doing by now. Then there's the fact that the pain I've been experiencing as been getting better. I considered canceling. Then there's the fact that I'm only sore; there's no cracking and bleeding. It's not that bad. Certainly, other people deal with much worse. What a wuss! Finally, it felt weird to latch a baby on while someone is watching. I mean really WATCHING, and evaluating how you are doing it. I felt like it was a test and I might fail it. And it was a test involving my they look (ie. are the nipples flat or inverted), how I used them (ie. am I latching baby on correctly), etc. I just felt self-conscious. Of course, I've always been self-conscious about my body, especially those dubbed my "privates".

Anyway, the appointment went well despite my feelings going into it. The consultant was friendly, smiling, nice and had me at ease pretty quickly.

We weighed Madelynn first thing. She was 9 pounds 2 ounces on her scale. Then I was suppose to nurse her on the side that hurts. (It's actually kind of different that only one side hurts.) She watched me try to latch her. I felt like a bumbling idiot and had difficulty. The LC swooped in there and latched her on in an instant. She used the same technique that I was...but is 10 times faster and more adept than I am at it. While Madelynn nursed, she nudged her head into a better position, got my foot up on a nursing stool, propped her more upright after I mentioned having an oversupply issue, gently pushed breast tissue out of the way so she could see how Maddie's lips were positioned, etc. Then, I nursed and we chatted about bunches of things. We talked about tongue-tie, vasospasm, nursing, my other kids, what happened in the hospital, and tons of other things. She'd prompt me to do something as she noticed Maddie nodding off to sleep or reach over and tickle her back, wanting her to get a good complete nursing rather than fall asleep prematurely.

One of the things she wanted to know was why I didn't call them sooner. I told her I didn't know how to get in contact with a lactation consultant until the pediatrician's nurse gave me their number. She asked about the lactation consultant in the hospital. I told her that no one had visited me while I was there. Apparently, they should have. Maybe we just left too soon? I don't know.

Finally, when it was obvious that Madelynn wasn't going to nurse anymore, she took her from me. Burped her, got spit up on (LOL), and weighed her again. She drank 2.x ounces...which is a good amount. She got spit up on again. Then I took her back. By this time, she was sort of interested in more. She wanted to see her nurse on the other side, the one that doesn't hurt. Madelynn only barely nursed on that side, not enough to really register on the scale, just another 1/10th of an ounce.

We talked. The guesses we came to included...

Her tongue-tie very well may be the problem even though it looks like she is able to get her tongue under the breast properly. She recommends getting it clipped and was happy to hear that I already have it scheduled. If I didn't, she could have made a referral.

The pain might be improving because the frenulum might have stretched a bit since birth, allowing for more movement.

It may only be hurting one side because the painful side appears to be larger than the other. Each side is also different in shape.

I may not be seeing the usual over supply issues I'm used to because she's not nursing as efficiently due to the tongue tie, which is reducing my supply.

I'll probably see an improvement in comfort after her tongue is clipped.

I may see a change in nursing duration and frequency after her tongue is clipped. She may nurse more efficiently, and no longer nurse for 1-3 hours at a time, or give me longer breaks. That would be nice.

I can make another appointment a week or so after her tongue is clipped to see how things are going. They will do another before nursing/after nursing weighing to see if she's taking in more too.

Finally, Madelynn decided to spit up again, this time on me. Then she chose to fill her diaper, blowing out all over the clean outfit I put on her now 2 minutes before. I changed her and we said goodbye.

After a bad morning, it was nice to sit there nursing Madelynn, talking babies and children with a friendly woman, without the other kids. The break was refreshing.

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The Four Week Vegan said...

That sounds like it went amazingly well. I'm sure it was odd being studied while you nursed though.