Newborn Baby and Tongue Tie
Mum, Lynne, author of parenting blog, New Mummy, shares her story of breastfeeding her two little ones. This story explores Lynne’s experience of breastfeeding and pumping breastmilk. Breastfeeding isn’t always as straight forward as first thought, it can present challenges and difficulties. Lynne’s story documents the challenges of tongue tie, breastmilk supply, latching on and expressing using a breast pump, as well as the amazing moments, including her ‘eureka’ moment.
Breastfeeding is difficult and so so varied. I can safely say that from experience. I’m currently breastfeeding my 3 month old, and previously breastfed my toddler.
At first I thought breastfeeding Toddler H was easy, the midwives all said, and wrote in my notes, that I was breastfeeding well and easily. They said Toddler H had a good latch. In the following days it quickly turned out that wasn’t the case. It turned out Toddler H was tongue-tied and barely feeding, she was losing weight at a worrying rate.
Within that first week we added a top up feed and an evening bottle which my husband gave her. I expressed every day using a manual breast pump purchased in a frantic 9pm supermarket shop as we feared being sent back to hospital if H didn’t stop losing weight asap. It was so painful, I used nipple shields to try to save my breasts, to help H get some milk and so I could keep feeding and keep my breastmilk supply up. My husband begged me to stop as I winced and cried with each attempted latch. I also cried seeing my massacred nipples black and streaming with blood. I persevered because I wanted more than anything to be able to feed my baby myself, to have that picture perfect breastfeeding experience we were led to believe just happened.
After a couple of weeks Toddler H’s tongue-tie was fixed by a quick snip and I discovered how breastfeeding should feel. The pull as she sucked was something I hadn’t experienced until that moment. It was like my eureka moment, and I knew the perseverance had been worth it. The rest of our breastfeeding story was like a fairytale, and by 6 weeks my NCT friends and I discussed how easy it now was, how regardless of our starts in breastfeeding, those pains and long feeds were long gone. It was worth it. My husband did continue to give an evening bottle, something that he loved. It was his bonding time with H and something I found so special to watch. I also found it easy to pump, perhaps because I started expressing so early.
Fast forward 2.5 years, and I’ve just had my second baby, Baby B. I can safely say that breastfeeding this time around has been very different. The first couple of days were a bit painful, but not on the same scale by any standard. Feeds have also been much faster than with Toddler H. Right from the start, feeds have lasted 10-15 minutes every 2.5 hours, not 1-1.5 hours, with a 30 minute gap like my previous breastfeeding experience. It’s been much easier from the start. I did ask for help in hospital to get a good latch on the breast as I knew Baby B wasn’t quite getting it, but that was solved by the time we were discharged within 9 hours after her birth.
My advice to any new mummy would be to trust your instincts, get any tongue-tie fixed as fast as you can (and go private if you can and need to), and finally, ask for help if you need it. Help is out there, a midwife, a breastfeeding group, a lactation consultant, even just tips from friends, forums and the internet. You’re not alone, everyone does have a different experience, but even your own babies can be like chalk and cheese.