"You will feel fulfilled when you do the impossible for someone else"
Breastfeeding is the normal and natural way to feed a baby. However, this does not mean it does not come without problems or complications. For the majority of women, most problems can be easily solved with the the support and advise from La Leche League or a Lactation Consultant (LC). The more extreme cases should seek for the advanced expertise of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Luckily, we have an amazing MD, IBCLC, Dr. Punger, right here on the Treasure Coast. She has had clients visit her throughout the State of Florida and even come as far as New York!
When the common issues of flat/inverted nipples, thrush, poor/improper latch, over-supply/under-supply and tongue-tie/lip-tie are quickly solved, breastfeeding can resume to normal. But what if you don't have those "easy to solve" problems? What if you so desperately want to nurse your child, but your body just does not make enough milk, or release the milk?
I want to share two beautiful stories from friends, Ivalee and Veronica, whose courage and perseverance to nurse their children is felt through their words. Both uses a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS), which is a small bag that holds formula or doner milk and has a very thin tube that attaches to the bag on one end and attaches next to the nipple on the other. This allows the mother to still nurse her baby, as the baby will get milk from the SNS tube, and maybe some of the mother's own milk coming out also. Mother can either maintain or build back up her supply (no matter how small amount it might be) while still providing warmth, bonding, love and those amazing immunologic properties of breastmilk.
Ivalee: "I am a mom who uses a supplemental nurser (SNS) with my child. For the second time now I cannot provide nearly enough to sustain my children. I had to hospitalize my first son at 6 days old for fear that he was failure to thrive. I had to give him formula the very day that it was publicly announced that babies were dying from melamine in the formula. That was so heartbreaking and difficult, along with knowing that my body was just broken and couldn't do something so natural as nursing my child. I don't match a single marker for why I may have hypoplastic breasts but, alas, there I was. At the moment I couldn't even think straight and wasn't even thinking of donor milk. I talked it over with my husband later and he wasn't comfortable enough with the process so we, reluctantly, settled with formula. Thankfully we have two beautiful, healthy boys who survived formula. If I get to have another child and have the same issues I'm sure to push the issue more. I've lived and learned so much through this process. I just wish I had more information on the alternate breastfeeding options ahead of time.
|Ivalee using the SNS, baby at 6 months|
I have been able to supplement with an SNS and keep him at the breast for almost 23 months so far and for that I am forever grateful! Every chance we get to nurse is a gift that HE gives to me at this point. Try to remember that even though your previous experience doesn't fit the picture that you thought it might, that doesn't mean that it isn't success. Our little ones help give us experiences that make us better people and allow us to help others as well. I know that sharing is my outlet for dealing with the loss of the experience that I had dreamed of that didn't come true. So far I've been able to help a handful of girls hang on to a nursing relationship that wasn't quite the same as mine but using an SNS helped them to keep their baby at the breast while they built back up their supply and worked on getting baby to latch properly. I am very involved in my local LLL. For new moms, it can be confusing to see me use the SNS. I don't want women to think right off the bat that it can be that hard or near impossible but I also wish that I had been prepared more the first time around for the possibility of it. I can say, I'm happily still producing at this stage but probably only drops. I'll take it though. Every single drop counts."
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill
|Veronica and Elijah|
As Dr. Jack Newman states in his book, The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book Of Answers, "There are several methods of supplementing that do not require the baby to receive an artificial nipple. The best is what I call a 'lactation aid' or a 'nursing supplementer'. This devise is best because: Babies learn to breastfeed by breastfeeding, Mothers learn to breastfeed by breastfeeding, the baby continues to get milk from mother's breast even while being supplemented, thereby increasing her milk supply, the baby will not reject the breast and there is more to breastfeeding then milk alone." The last reason is my favorite!
And then there are our Motherly Earth Angels, who selflessly donate their "liquid gold" to those mothers and babies in need. Their donations allow mothers that might have physical limitations, chronic low supply, birth trauma and even adoption to feed their babies with human milk through a SNS or bottle.
|Eugenie and Gabriel|
I was a little concerned at first. It was easy to ship off half of what I had saved because I knew that it was extra. When I started to pump just to pump I was scared that I would pump and then there wouldn’t be any left for my daughter. There were times when she would nurse and nurse and there wouldn’t be any left to pump. I found that even the best pumps do not ‘get all the milk out’. I could pump a couple of ounces and she would always have whatever was left if she needed to nurse. I tried to offer her the other breast after she was done with the first but she never wanted it. It would just wake her up more and get milk all over both of us. After the first 3 months, her nursing/sleeping schedule stabilized and so did my pumping schedule. She is 8 months now and can go more than 2 hours without nursing so I am not worried about having 50 extra ounces on hand. I 'clean out' my freezer every 25 bags. If she does need some milk while she is with daddy, usually at night around bed time, we have no reservations about using what we have. Our baby comes first. Helping Hands makes sure that baby is getting everything she needs. They call about once a month to see how everything is going."