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From the Blog: One Mom's Journey

Kristie M. is a former 4th grade teacher turned full-time mommy to Dylan (4 1/2) and Mei Mei (2 1/2). She enjoys spending time with her little family, gardening, and the occasional yoga class. Kristie is also a Stroller Strides playgroup captain in Encinitas where she plans activities for the kids and their mommies. Most of all, she just loves being a mom.

Family at Xmas

Her inspiring story is the true definition of perseverance when faced with breastfeeding challenges! Thank you Kristie for submitting your story and being featured as our first “Mom of the Week”!

Breastfeeding Success Second Time Around

When it comes to having babies, I rock. Seriously. Conception? First try. Morning sickness? Never. Stretch Marks? Not one. Contractions? Piece of cake. Labor? Even easier. Breastfeeding? Well, now that’s a different story all together.

I was the super prepared mama. I took every class known to man, read every natural parenting book ever published and lived by the words of Ina May. I even read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding cover to cover. After my deliveries, I thought, “I’ve got this. If pregnancy and delivery were this easy, the rest is going to be a walk in the park!” But when it came to breastfeeding, my body had no idea what it was doing.

With my first, I got mastitis the day my milk came in (and then 8 more times during his first year of life). I dealt with everything from thrush, to undiagnosed Raynaud’s syndrome, to under supply issues, to tongue tie (poor baby had it clipped twice!), to baby being underweight. You name it, we dealt with it.

2 days old
At 6 months we had seen 5 lactation consultants, none of which could give me a plan of action. I then went back to work. Baby boy was down to nursing once a day, I was pumping like a mad woman, and I had 7 different moms who were providing us with their liquid gold to supplement what I could not provide. All this coupled with a serious case of PPD, made for a real rough first year. However, upon going back to work, I met the woman who would change it all. Although it was too late for my son, she was the key to my breastfeeding success the second time around. He nursed for one year, and with all our struggles, I still considered that a success story.

With all this knowledge and experience, I thought I would have no problems with nursing the second baby. Boy, was I wrong. Instead of calling the person who I knew could help me, I spent the first month fumbling through 3 lactation consultants who were nice and meant well, but just weren’t aggressive enough with their plan for me. Thank God, when baby girl was 5 weeks old, Nurse Wendy sent me a text, just checking in. She came over right away with her scale in hand. She listened, I cried, and before she left, I had a daily plan, in writing.

1 day old, big brother helping with latchThe next 3 months were not easy by any means, but there was nothing I wanted more than to breastfeed my baby girl successfully. I was driven, determined, and quite honestly, a little bit OCD about making it work, and I had Nurse Wendy this time.

Again, I had every issue I had with my first. Mastitis? Yes, 5 times, but this time, I learned how to heal myself with homeopathics, instead of antibiotics every time. Thrush? Yep, was on two separate rounds of oral fluconazole. Raynauds ? Yes, but this time my midwife prescribed nifedipine for the severe pain. Supply issues? You betcha. I started taking 150 mg of Domperidone right away and pumped after EVERY FEEDING for the first 3 months. I also had a cousin and several friends who were pumping for me so I could supplement with a few ounces of their breast milk after each feeding with a supplemental nursing system (SNS). Tongue tie? We think so, but I just couldn’t go through with the clipping again. Weight gain issues? I weighed that baby girl after every feeding for days at a time within the first 3 months, and then once a week for the first 10 months of her life. I felt like every weigh-in was touch and go.

Even with all this success and support from Nurse Wendy and my husband, at the three month mark , I was physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. Every day and night our schedule was: nurse, supplement using the SNS, hand off to my husband (thank goodness he works from home), pump, then repeat in an hour and a half. All while trying to take care of a toddler. I was tied to the pump, was suffering from PPD again, and had convinced myself I just wasn’t built to breastfeed. I called Nurse Wendy to tell her I was done, I just couldn’t do it any more. No more pumping, no more weighing, no more SNS, no more crying. Her response? “But you’re there Kristie.”

5 mos

All this time I had been reporting my numbers to Nurse Wendy and according to her most recent calculations, I had made it. She said baby girl was making weight more consistently and with the small amount I was supplementing from my milk donors, we had reached our mark! I could start leading a normal life again. No more pumping after each feeding, (although I continued a few times a day to help keep my supply up), no more SNS, and no more daily weighing. I stayed on the Domperidone for 14 months and went to ‘Milk and Cookies’ once a week for support and to make sure we were still on track for weight gain.

2nd bday

At 14 months, my Domperidone stash was dry. I was ok if my supply dwindled, because I could say, “I breastfed for 14 months!” Everyday I expected baby girl to push me away, turn her cheek, or quit signing “milk”. But it never happened. At 18 months, I was shocked when she was still nursing 6+ times a day. On her second birthday, she nursed 7 times. Here we are at 27 months and today, she nursed 6 times. I feel the let down every time and know she’s still getting milk. Now she asks for ‘milkies’ instead of signing. I find it cures every ailment. Nursing instantly calms her if she’s upset, hurt, or sick. I love being a breastfeeding mom, and all the perks that go with it.

I never thought this could happen and when people ask me when I’ll stop, I say, “That’s up to her.” And when they say, “OMG, you’re still nursing her?” I say, “Amazing isn’t it?” What I really want to say is, “If you only knew how hard I worked for this, I may never quit!” Thank you Nurse Wendy for helping us get to where we are. What a gift you have given us!

23 months

My Favorite Baby Product: My Ergo Baby (She still rides in it often. It’s 12 years old and baby girl is the 6th to use it! It’s so well-loved, she will probably be the last. )

I’m Totally Obsessed With: Aden and Anais muslin swaddle blankets. Both my kids love these

My Biggest Source of BF Support: My mom, husband, and of course Nurse Wendy

My Favorite Mom Product: Norwex facial cloths!

My Favorite Food: My husband’s Indian food

My Favorite Family Activity: Farmers Market on Sunday Mornings

When I Have Any Kid-Free Time I Love to… get my nails done! Although grocery shopping alone is really a treat!