Whoever thought that something so natural, so instinctual, as breastfeeding could be so damn difficult?
Like many women, I was administered antibiotics during labour. My Group B Strep results were not in my file, so I was given two rounds of intravenous antibiotics as a precaution. To this day, I don’t know if I was GBS positive or not.
Week 1: After the boys were born, breastfeeding started slow. I had plenty of milk, but I was pumping most of it and sending it to Dakota in the nursery. Griffin got twenty minutes, alternating sides every three hours, and we were topping him off with donor milk. Since Dakota was so small, my husband and I decided we wanted him to get most of my colostrum and then milk. I did see an LC (Lactation Consultant) in the hospital, who helped me with my severe engorgement and worked on Griffin’s latch.
Weeks 2-4: Once we were all home, I slowly introduced the breast to Dakota as well, and I continued to pump and top them off with my milk (we didn’t need the donor milk anymore). Dakota had a tiny mouth and had trouble latching, but he was learning. As he grew bigger, he got better. Griffin was still losing weight, so even though he seemed to be getting plenty of milk I was worried. At two weeks, we visited the Vancouver Breastfeeding Clinic, where they gave me a few latching pointers and essentially told me to keep up with what I was doing. They checked my nipples and the boys’ mouths, and asked if I was feeling any pain or my letdown. I couldn’t feel my letdown, but did sting a bit just after latching. They weren’t concerned and sent me home, and told me not to come back. Since I live in the suburbs, they felt any future issues could be seen by the public health lactation consultant in my region.
Week 5: When the boys were four weeks old, Griffin had finally regained his birth weight. Our family doctor eliminated the bottle top-ups and I was finally able to regain some time in our daily routine! In order to make sure the boys continued to do well, I made a house call appointment with the public health lactation consultant. She came in, weighed the boys, and checked latching. I mentioned that it still hurt when they initially latched, and that showering was painful. She didn’t seem concerned. The boys also had a light white film on their tongues, but she thought it was just milk residue and nothing to be concerned about.
Week 8: PAIN!!! While feeding Dakota on my right side, I as hit with the most excruciating pain. It began in my nipple and radiated up under my arm towards my back. I couldn’t help but cry out and tears came to my eyes. I couldn’t find any nodes or hard spots on my breast, and didn’t think it was a blocked duct. The white on the boys’ tongues had also thickened, and looked cottage cheese-y. There was also a pale white film on their upper mouths. I concluded we likely had thrush and turned on my computer. Our next doctor’s appointment wasn’t for a week, and I couldn’t wait that long. It was time to google!
To be continued…