Are you guys done with my breastfeeding series yet? As you know by now, breastfeeding my son was not a successful endeavor. In the year since we stopped, I’ve learned so much about what might have helped or I could have done or tried differently to improve the situation. So if I could start over here is my list of what I would have tried differently:
1. Started using lanolin immediately. Because I have a wool sensitivity I was terrified of trying lanolin for fear of breaking out in hives in an already tender location. It took 2 weeks before I broke down in the middle of the night and had the clarity of mind to try a test swatch on my inner wrist. If only I had thought of that sooner, I would have saved myself so much pain.
2. Used a supplemental nursing system before offering a bottle. I only recently learned about a SNS but I think this would have been a total game changer. Our son genuinely had issues latching (even with bottles) so a tube system would have been fantastic and this one is designed to help stimulate milk production and encourage future latching at the same time.
3. Tried a retail Medela pump. At the time our insurance (if you have insurance, you are owed a free pump thanks to the Affordable Care Act) offered any pump under $200 for free as long as it was purchased from an in-network DMR company. Those were hard to find but I was fortunate to find Aeroflow and could pick one of 5 available pumps at the time. Even though the Medela Pump In Style was available, I wanted a closed-circuit system so that I could ethically reuse or resale it later. I decided on a the Bailey Nurture III after extensive research and while it was a good solid pump, it did hurt. A friend who pumped around the clock selected a Medela pump from her insurance and purchased a retail one for her office. She found that the DMR provided version hurt her where as the retail version was great to use. I ended up hating working with Aeroflow because the tried to charge our insurance 6 times for the same pump which is really sketchy to me and fortunately now we are covered for reimbursement on any pump purchased at a retail location.
4. Breastfeed without a cover in public. There are a few exceptions like being around obvious creepers, but using a cover just added a whole extra layer (literally) of stress to an already fragile situation. I’ve gained so much boldness in the time since that I really wish I would have stood up for my rights more from the beginning.
5. Attended a LLLI meeting. At the time I was not in the frame of mind to hear any one tell me what more I could be doing or what else I was doing wrong so Ir refused to seek help in this environment. Hindsight I think it probably would have really helped and maybe even helped us identify the underlying issue before it was too late.
6. Seen a lip tie specialist sooner. As it turns out our son suffers from a very severe lip tie that went undiagnosed until a few weeks before he weaned himself. By the time we got in with a specialist it was already too late and my supply was gone. I always wonder if it had been caught sooner, what a different experience we could have had. There is much debate about the validity of the effects ties actually have on breastfeeding. The documentary Breastmilk explains it best by showing that a tie by itself does not necessarily equal a failed breastfeeding experience but a tie combined with other variables (in our case my short nipples) can cause many issues.
7. Used donor milk instead of formula. I didn’t know about free peer-to-peer milk sharing until we were already almost done with formula but the idea amazes me. Of course finding dairy free breastmilk s we would have needed in the first few month might have been hard but having the option to offer breastmilk before formula would have been fantastic. A couple organizations in Texas are HM4HB and Eats on Feets.
8. Attended a big latch on event. We were already daytime weaned when latch on rolled around that year but it is my dream to attend one. It would have been great if using some of the above aids we would have been able to participate.