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Thread: (Inspirational!) My relactation & relatch story

  1. #1
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    Smile (Inspirational!) My relactation & relatch story

    Hello everyone,
    I wanted to share my relactation and re-latch story because I have talked to, read, and heard the stories of several mothers who have experienced one or several of the issues addressed here. According to studies, approximately 1 in 10 breastfeeding mothers struggle with an inadequate milk supply, which can mean harsh consequences for both the health of a baby and the emotional well-being of his or her mother. There are also so many mothers out there struggling to relactate and/or bring their babies back to the breast, or that don’t even know that they can, and I hope that my story can help them even if only for the solace in knowing that it CAN BE DONE!
    When I was pregnant with my now 6-month-old son, I worried tremendously about everything-in particularly feeding him, because I have many health problems including but not limited to fibromyalgia, that inhibit my energy, and cause me a great deal of pain and weakness in my day-to-day life. How could I possibly breastfeed a child? The thought of waking every couple hours in the little sleep I managed outside of my pre-existing insomnia sounded impossible. I have always held highly the belief that the health of a baby begins with the mother, and so, fearing that I was unable to breastfeed my child made me fall into the depths of despair. The fact that my mother (now passed away) was a La Leche League Leader who had breastfed me for two and a half years did not help to ease the pressure and guilt I was feeling. I thought I would surely let her down.
    To make matters worse, I gave birth to Osrid Olov in a hospital where I received, to word things kindly, substandard care. I managed to give him his first couple of feeds from the breast before I was frightened out of nursing by the poorly informed staff. It was lucky that I had that first experience of bonding with him, cradling him in my arms and feeling his warm, tiny, shaking body relax as it filled with nourishment for the first time, his head so close to my heart. I couldn’t imagine missing this love if I had never had it in my life.
    After more negative experiences than I can count on my hands piled on in the care of this facility, that ranged from an (overstitched, at that) episiotomy performed against my will to my pleas for help to feed and change my crying baby through the night-still unable to stand from the epidural-that were ignored for several hours, they were topped off by the midwife who peeked her head inside the curtain and told me I was “not allowed” to breastfeed my baby and rushed me to decide between infant formulas I knew nothing about, without explaining to me what was happening or why things were the way they were. I was so shocked and upset when she returned and slapped a bottle of the ready-made F-word on my bedside table I didn’t know what to make of things.
    It was my medications (apparently) that were the problem. I have to take several medications for a number of things, such as my fibromyalgia and migraines, which I cannot function let alone fathom taking on the care of another human life without. One of them was “counter-indicated” which meant, according to the midwife, that I would be putting my son in danger if I continued to nurse him while taking them. What would I do? In defeat, I screwed on the plastic cap to the glass formula bottle and cried as I fed Osrid from this fake, cold breast.
    (cot'd)
    Proud wife to Paul , dedicated SAHM to our O.O. born 00:00:00 on 08 Nov 2010,

    Look for us in the upcoming September 2011 issue of LLLGB's magazine, "BREASTFEEDING MATTERS" as well as LLL's upcoming booklet on relactation!
    & A proud daughter to a LLLL may she RIP.
    Relactated from scratch after a complicated birth(BAD hospital)...
    Now relatched and & ing after 5 months of 100% EBM feeding
    Planning permanent lactation.
    A millionaires baby fed with commercial baby milk has a poorer diet than the poorest family's baby who is breastfed.-WHO, 1997
    My story-for those looking to relactate, relatch, or boost their milk supply

  2. #2
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    Default Re: (Inspirational!) My relactation & relatch story

    (part 2...sorry)
    When my husband arrived upon first visiting hours to the mother-and-baby only ward, he was surely disappointed too, but must have hid it well. I was lucky; for he is also an ardent lactivist as I, but was concerned first and foremost that I was OK. Needless to say, when the midwives asked that they keep O.O. and myself in for another night of observation due to my poorly condition, I denied them outright; grabbed my baby and waddled as quickly towards the doors as I could manage with the rubber soles of my slippers scuffing across the polished floors.
    During the next few weeks, I battled fiercely with postnatal depression. I wanted to try and get to the bottom of things with why my medication should prevent me from breastfeeding, but I developed a septic womb infection that rendered me essentially bed-bound with a maximum dose of penicillin. The specialists I managed to speak to seem to have had little more information as to why the medication was so dangerous than the midwives, so I then waited to speak to a doctor in Dublin that I had seen during the majority of my pregnancy who specialised in just the matter.
    The long and short of the story here, is that by the time I got to speaking with the specialist, and such a short time it really was, my breasts had ran completely dry. Nevertheless, I asked my questions; and my instinct told me correctly. There was no solid reason to discontinue breastfeeding: I had carried my baby through in pregnancy with the medication, that being the highest risk time of side effect, and he was now alive and well. Nature also has designed our bodies to act as a filter such that our breastmilk is as pure as it can be for our babies, irrelevant of environmental factors, so it only makes sense that the clinical trials done on the drug in question found no trace in the baby’s bloodstream from the mothers’ milk ingested.
    (cotd'...)
    Proud wife to Paul , dedicated SAHM to our O.O. born 00:00:00 on 08 Nov 2010,

    Look for us in the upcoming September 2011 issue of LLLGB's magazine, "BREASTFEEDING MATTERS" as well as LLL's upcoming booklet on relactation!
    & A proud daughter to a LLLL may she RIP.
    Relactated from scratch after a complicated birth(BAD hospital)...
    Now relatched and & ing after 5 months of 100% EBM feeding
    Planning permanent lactation.
    A millionaires baby fed with commercial baby milk has a poorer diet than the poorest family's baby who is breastfed.-WHO, 1997
    My story-for those looking to relactate, relatch, or boost their milk supply

  3. #3
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    Default Re: (Inspirational!) My relactation & relatch story

    (...part 3!)
    HOW ANGRY I WAS! I felt cheated out of the most meaningful relationship I could have ever had! I cried and cried and cried so hard. I could have filled an ocean with my tears. Eventually though, with the love and support of my husband, the love for my baby, and the anger I felt fueling me, I was determined to relactate and pump the breastmilk for my son.
    Countless hours of research contributed, certainly, but often too did it confuse me. Never once did it cross my mind to contact anyone for help, because I assumed back then that the La Leche League was only for mothers who were breastfeeding already and I didn’t know whom else I could turn to. I didn’t know anyone who had done this sort of thing before!
    I bought an electric single pump and used it as often as I could stand. It was a terrible, noisy pump with hard flanges that constricted and chafed my nipples. I thought of and looked at Osrid, concentrated long and hard about milk flowing from my breast and about feeding him whilst I pumped. I tried to ignore the loud “CCCHHHRRRRKKKK-IIIIICCCCKKK” of the obnoxious gadget, the sensation of my raw nipples rubbing every which way against the sharp dry plastic, the strain in my back from leaning over.
    I couldn’t stand the agony, but the milk began to flow! Little by little, drops turned to slow drizzles in the hour plus long sessions I was torturing my poor breasts (which I now know is a completely unnecessary amount of time to spend, by the way). It was such hard work, but the instant the breastmilk was fed to my son he inhaled it like it was the best thing he had ever tasted, and every time he had it I could see how much he preferred it to the formula. It inspired me to persevere-the proof is in the pudding, as they say!
    Now, if I thought I had problems before…I could no longer tolerate the sore, tender pain in my cracked and chafed nipples. They appeared constantly to be purple and bruised, and on one occasion a bit of blood leaked from one. With a bit of research online-not ALWAYS the best of ideas- I figured I was most certainly using the wrong size of breastshield(flange).
    I bought several of them trying to get it right. A size larger felt more comfortable and more milk began to stream outward, but soon my areola began to pull inward and the chafing continued. This isn’t right either, I thought. So, another size up…and the story repeats. Much pain and bruising later did I discover a soft, flexible silicone shield in the original size that I had assumed was too small for me, but this was optimal. It didn’t matter nearly as much what size my nipple was, because it fit to me, instead of my body squishing to fit to it. The sharp edges of the hard plastic had been a major cause of my irritation.
    After it had now clicked in my head to contact a La Leche League Leader, I also discovered that it really wasn’t normal to be feeling the way I was. Bearing that thought in mind, I purchased and fiddled with several breastpumps, of which the type is very important to optimising your comfort and milk production. Doing a bit of simple research in this area can go a long way.
    The impatience was driving me insane, I longed so badly to produce enough to get rid of that darned tin of formula! It made me feel like a bad mother. I don’t criticize adoptive parents who have no choice but to feed with formula. I don’t judge other mothers whose milk supplies are struggling and require the supplementation to keep their babies at a healthy weight. For those reasons, I’m glad it exists. In fact, the only people I can say I truly look down on are those who don’t try to breastfeed their children-to give them the healthiest start in life. Nevertheless, we are our worst enemies, and I judged myself for needing to give my son something that was less than pure. I felt horrible.
    I turned to galactagogues, and took so much fenugreek that I woke up from a nightmare smelling like a stack of fluffy pancakes. I sat on the toilet and smiled after first waking, being so strangely reminded of my favourite breakfast back in America. I also tried milk thistle and raspberry leaves and several herbal blends, but nothing worked so well as when I discovered a product that, much to my skepticism, boasted overnight results.
    Much to my surprise, overnight results were achieved, and my milk was indeed flowing! It was not long before I was able to feed my son 100% breastmilk with the aid of MilkFlow and hard work at the pump. What an accomplishment that was! I was over the moon with joy; I could not believe what I had achieved!
    A mild case of mastitis struck me and it was then that I got into contact with Karen Butler, a LLLLeader upcountry who must have spent hours thoughtfully typing lengthy, informative responses to every question I then thought to ask-and there were a LOT. This wonderful woman has guided me through every issue several times from there out I needed help with-from everything to breastfeeding issues to how to handle yourself gracefully when confronted with criticism from those outside the family.

    I now had worked through all of the “issues” but one-getting Osrid back to the breast. It was something I needed to do for myself, but every time I tried he would cry and refuse me, leaving me tearful and feeling rejected. What was I doing wrong? I had gotten to a point of not wanting to try anymore, because it hurt me so bad each time it happened. My entire days felt destroyed, I felt this irrational feeling that I wasn’t good enough for my son despite what anyone would try and tell me.
    Encouragement from my husband finally got me to try again, now that I had worked through all the other issues, but not without doing my research. More emails to Karen, hours of browsing online and reading, and I felt armed with enough knowledge to try again. I didn’t know if I could handle the rejection, but it seemed worth a shot. I ended up having a few tricks up my own sleeve as well-mother’s intuition is amazing!
    Our success came very shortly after my decision to try again. The key was not in trying, but in loving and laughter. I kept my breasts available as often as possible and played with my son as much as I could for the next few days; with his Dad agreeing to feed him the expressed milk feedings from there forward so he wouldn’t associate me with the bottle. Dad engaged too-we tickled baby, wriggled his feet, played with his rings, and did everything that would make him laugh or smile. Each time we would get a laugh I would hold baby close to my breast.
    On the 5th day of utilizing this method, I was snuggling with my son inside my robe and he became hungry. I suddenly had this feeling in my gut that this was the time, the right time! I turned over towards him, gently positioned him towards my breast, and he nuzzled his nose into my breast before opening his mouth wide and latching on for a full feed, all by himself.
    It has taken a bit of time to get into the hang of things, and there are some things that we are still working on, but for the most part things have gone absolutely beautifully. My husband Paul has had the wonderful idea of clipping Osrids’ teething rings to my necklace so that he stays focused towards me, and he has a wonderful latch most of the time. I am still pumping part of the time, despite the unfortunate and quite silly nursing hierarchy that has developed amongst some mothers, in part because of a now abundant supply of milk that causes fast flow issues (and consequently, gagging and spit-up in my son when I don’t pump), and partly because my husband enjoys helping me get some rest and feeding our son sometimes too. I am so happy, though to now be able to nurse my son. No more cutting outings short to come home and pump, no more wondering what things could have been like.
    All in all, despite that it can still be very tiresome at times, things are much easier now than they have ever been and I love the newfound closeness that I share with my son and the joy that my husband and I can share in knowing that we both are giving him the very best nutrition and closeness as a family. If there is anything that I hope you can take away from this story, I hope it is that you CAN overcome obstacles with determination, perseverance and support-and not to be too harsh on yourself when problems do arise. It isn’t as easy as it looks!
    ~End.

    Following are some tips on the subjects I've mentioned in my story. Best of luck to all of you out there trying.
    Last edited by @llli*tarantamom; May 7th, 2011 at 12:31 AM. Reason: Wanted to get permission from MilkFlow;s owner to distribute name :)
    Proud wife to Paul , dedicated SAHM to our O.O. born 00:00:00 on 08 Nov 2010,

    Look for us in the upcoming September 2011 issue of LLLGB's magazine, "BREASTFEEDING MATTERS" as well as LLL's upcoming booklet on relactation!
    & A proud daughter to a LLLL may she RIP.
    Relactated from scratch after a complicated birth(BAD hospital)...
    Now relatched and & ing after 5 months of 100% EBM feeding
    Planning permanent lactation.
    A millionaires baby fed with commercial baby milk has a poorer diet than the poorest family's baby who is breastfed.-WHO, 1997
    My story-for those looking to relactate, relatch, or boost their milk supply

  4. #4
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    Default Re: (Inspirational!) My relactation & relatch story

    Following are some tips for relactation:
    · Try and pump as often as you can without hurting yourself
    · Think of your baby, look at/touch your baby, have a recording of his/her voice to listen to for when they are not nearby, keep something that smells like him/her such as an item of clothing
    · If you have a sexual/romantic partner, having them ‘nurse’ can help a great deal
    · Use gentle breast massage to stimulate milk flow

    Some tips for increasing your milk supply:
    · Pump frequently for shorter periods of time, I.E. every 2-3 hours for 20 to 30 min at a time (often referred to as “power pumping”)
    · Pump in short sessions frequently, I.E. for every 30 minutes for 10 min at a time. (often referred to as “cluster pumping”)
    · Wake at least once during the night to pump or nurse, as breastmilk is made on a “supply & demand” basis. This will also aid in preventing mastitis.
    · Use breast massage & compressions while pumping to maximise output.
    · Hand expressing for 10 minutes following your pumping routine can help greatly in emptying the breasts
    · Hand expressing for a minute or so between pumping sessions will also boost your supply as the stimulation signals the body to produce more milk.
    · Drink plentifully
    · Eat healthily & plentifully (dieting is unnecessary as you will lose weight breastfeeding)
    · Eating oatmeal, apricots, dark nonalcoholic beer, caraway and dandelion greens can help.
    · Get plenty of skin-to-skin contact with baby as this will increase the hormones in your body essential for breastmilk production.

    Some tips for relatching a baby at any age:
    · Never push them-making baby unhappy at the breast may give them an aversion to nursing, which can make things more difficult for you.
    · Get lots of skin to skin-the more time as you can spend shirtless cuddling baby the better. This is great for bonding and can help both you and baby feel more at ease with one another.
    · Try to relax as much as you can-babies are very intuitive and can sense the tension you have. If you exude an air of comfort, your baby will pick up on this too.
    · Keep it fun and simple-play with baby as much as you can. Anything that makes you and baby smile and laugh will help!
    · Keep baby close to the breast-he or she will find their way when they are ready.


    Reducing pain:
    · Apply a thin layer of nipple cream BEFORE pumping, as this allows the nipple to glide in and out of the funnel lubricated instead of dry and rubbing.
    · Contact a La Leche League Leader for advice on proper latching of baby while nursing.
    Proud wife to Paul , dedicated SAHM to our O.O. born 00:00:00 on 08 Nov 2010,

    Look for us in the upcoming September 2011 issue of LLLGB's magazine, "BREASTFEEDING MATTERS" as well as LLL's upcoming booklet on relactation!
    & A proud daughter to a LLLL may she RIP.
    Relactated from scratch after a complicated birth(BAD hospital)...
    Now relatched and & ing after 5 months of 100% EBM feeding
    Planning permanent lactation.
    A millionaires baby fed with commercial baby milk has a poorer diet than the poorest family's baby who is breastfed.-WHO, 1997
    My story-for those looking to relactate, relatch, or boost their milk supply

  5. #5
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    Default Re: (Inspirational!) My relactation & relatch story

    Absolutely loved your story, it was also hard for me to BF (not as much tho) and one day I told my DH in front of his mother and grandmother, who didnt BF, how glad I was to be exclusively Bfing and that I could ahve never pulled the bottle thing off bacause of the heating, washing, that Bfing was just easier and more natural, his grandma responded by saying she was glad she didnt "get her milk" because she hates carrying babies :S so I am assuming now that the "lack of milk" that runs in his family is (at least partly) psychological) and... how could you not want to BF, I just dont get it, Im sorry, well congrats on being able to nourish your baby! I hope this insipres lots of ppl!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: (Inspirational!) My relactation & relatch story

    How long would you say it took you to relactate from day one until you were able to BF exclusively? I am working on it now and I am getting extreeeeeemelyyyyyy discouraged.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: (Inspirational!) My relactation & relatch story

    I told my DH in front of his mother and grandmother, who didnt BF, how glad I was to be exclusively Bfing and that I could ahve never pulled the bottle thing off bacause of the heating, washing, that Bfing was just easier and more natural, his grandma responded by saying she was glad she didnt "get her milk" because she hates carrying babies :S
    I'm sure its a good thing she did else your DH wouldn't be around, but this kind of makes you wonder if someone like that even wanted to have kids if carrying babies is so awful?! You SHOULD have to do that with any way you feed your baby as well...
    Proud wife to Paul , dedicated SAHM to our O.O. born 00:00:00 on 08 Nov 2010,

    Look for us in the upcoming September 2011 issue of LLLGB's magazine, "BREASTFEEDING MATTERS" as well as LLL's upcoming booklet on relactation!
    & A proud daughter to a LLLL may she RIP.
    Relactated from scratch after a complicated birth(BAD hospital)...
    Now relatched and & ing after 5 months of 100% EBM feeding
    Planning permanent lactation.
    A millionaires baby fed with commercial baby milk has a poorer diet than the poorest family's baby who is breastfed.-WHO, 1997
    My story-for those looking to relactate, relatch, or boost their milk supply

  8. #8
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    Default Re: (Inspirational!) My relactation & relatch story

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*emi1129 View Post
    How long would you say it took you to relactate from day one until you were able to BF exclusively? I am working on it now and I am getting extreeeeeemelyyyyyy discouraged.
    I would say somewhere between 3 & 4 months...it was a long time and really difficult I hate hate hate formula and just seeing it makes me want to cry as silly as that sounds bc the feeling of not producing enough was just so hard. but if you stick it out it will be soooo worth it
    Proud wife to Paul , dedicated SAHM to our O.O. born 00:00:00 on 08 Nov 2010,

    Look for us in the upcoming September 2011 issue of LLLGB's magazine, "BREASTFEEDING MATTERS" as well as LLL's upcoming booklet on relactation!
    & A proud daughter to a LLLL may she RIP.
    Relactated from scratch after a complicated birth(BAD hospital)...
    Now relatched and & ing after 5 months of 100% EBM feeding
    Planning permanent lactation.
    A millionaires baby fed with commercial baby milk has a poorer diet than the poorest family's baby who is breastfed.-WHO, 1997
    My story-for those looking to relactate, relatch, or boost their milk supply

  9. #9
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    Default Re: (Inspirational!) My relactation & relatch story

    I am trying but I have to go back to work in two weeks and I just don't know how I can do it! I HATE myself for not having figured this out sooner! I'm so torn and still can't even believe I am in this place when I always thought that BF would be it us and its not!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: (Inspirational!) My relactation & relatch story

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*emi1129 View Post
    I am trying but I have to go back to work in two weeks and I just don't know how I can do it! I HATE myself for not having figured this out sooner! I'm so torn and still can't even believe I am in this place when I always thought that BF would be it us and its not!
    Oh hon I am so sorry
    When you are at work, I would suggest slipping away to the loo and manually expressing for a couple of minutes every hour and a halfish. I'm more than certain you can get away with it bc you can get away with going pee that much y'know? and it's the stimulation that is most important. I'm also pretty sure that throughout the USA its the law that the workplace facilitates milk expression so you should be able to take breaks for this now that I am thinking about it and have a place specifically designated for pumping and storing milk...you don't have to tell them that you haven't gotten a full supply of milk because thats nobodys business and you don't need to explain yourself Why not try that? Just get a GOOD pump like Medela's PISA or Ardo or something like that and take breaks throughout the day. If your boss hassles you threaten them with a lawsuit...I'm pretty sure if you look at my other thread about the laws of nursing in public you'll see some examples of what I mean. Don't give up hope!
    Proud wife to Paul , dedicated SAHM to our O.O. born 00:00:00 on 08 Nov 2010,

    Look for us in the upcoming September 2011 issue of LLLGB's magazine, "BREASTFEEDING MATTERS" as well as LLL's upcoming booklet on relactation!
    & A proud daughter to a LLLL may she RIP.
    Relactated from scratch after a complicated birth(BAD hospital)...
    Now relatched and & ing after 5 months of 100% EBM feeding
    Planning permanent lactation.
    A millionaires baby fed with commercial baby milk has a poorer diet than the poorest family's baby who is breastfed.-WHO, 1997
    My story-for those looking to relactate, relatch, or boost their milk supply

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