By Lindsey B. Bickers Bock
On the fourth day after our daughter was born, my husband and I were struggling. We had a distressingly sleepy, jaundiced baby, and we were concerned that my milk wasn’t coming in after dealing with a retained placenta after her delivery. We were exhausted from someone being up with her 24 hours/day to keep her on the biliblanket that was provided as treatment for her jaundice. We were overwhelmed when a suggestion was made that she might need to go to the hospital if we couldn’t get her feeding and regaining weight better. Thankfully, the midwife on call at the Women’s Birth & Wellness Center suggested that we could at least try an appointment with an LC before heading to the hospital. Then, if we still felt like we needed to go, they could at least facilitate our admission, instead of having to go through the ER.
That afternoon, we spent nearly two hours talking with the LC, learning more about ways to keep a tired baby awake to feed, strategies to maximize the energy our daughter did have, and a game plan until we met again. We walked away with clear written notes about what to do, what to be concerned about, and when to come back again. Over the next ten days, we returned to the Birth Center 5 or 6 times for additional LC visits and weight checks. When our daughter checked in at her birth weight after 15 days and we got the okay to stop an exhausting schedule of pumping and feeding every two hours, we cheered…but only long enough to gear up for outpatient surgery that I had to put off while being pregnant. Again, the LCs were an amazing help, assisting us with putting together a new game plan that would ensure our little one continued to be fed breastmilk on demand around my surgery and follow-up care.
Five weeks after she was born, I was delighted to “graduate” up to the local La Leche League meeting, where I was able to share and troubleshoot more routine challenges of breastfeeding with other mothers, as well as celebrate milestones along our nursing journey. After those difficult early weeks, I knew how valuable the support of others could be in reaching my breastfeeding and parenting goals. I have been exceedingly thankful to have an awesome local evening meeting with lots of other working moms.
Our first breastfed for 20 months, when the upcoming arrival of her sister brought an end to her nursing journey. As we were expecting our second, the staff at the WBWC, our prenatal care group, and my LLL crew were so valuable in helping us think through the things we could do in order to avoid some of the challenges from our first go round. We weren’t lucky enough to avoid another jaundiced baby, but we were much better prepared, so we got through it much calmer and quicker. Now, twenty-seven months later, we’re nearly to the end of our second breastfeeding journey. I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to breastfeed both girls, and so very thankful to have had such a support team that helped make it possible.