"I’m feel so thankful and honoured to have been asked to share my nursing journey! I’ve been nursing, pregnant or nursing AND pregnant for the last 1,278 days."
I knew before I got pregnant I wanted to breastfeed. I was under the illusion that some women were just gifted to breastfeed and some were not. No one in my family talks about anything remotely private so I wasn’t even really sure who had nursed and who had not. When my first son was born I felt overwhelmed when the midwife asked me if I wanted to try nursing him. Was it really as simple as putting him to my breast? I remember giggling nervously as he latched for the first time. I remember the first few weeks being very painful. My nipples had never felt such pain and torture but my little guy was thriving and never lost a single ounce during his weigh ins with the midwives. I was so proud but remember asking when it would stop hurting. I also wound up with an oversupply, and that coupled with my quick let down seemed to make my baby boy regurgitate each feeding soon after he finished and then we would start the whole process over again. I kept at it, and kept inquiring if something was wrong with his latch, I was most concerned he had a tongue tie as his father does. Many, many health providers assured me he did not have a tongue tie and that his latch was fine so it wasn’t until he was 8 weeks old that he finally got diagnosed with a severe lip and tongue tie. I insisted on a referral to Dr Jack Newman because I just felt like something was wrong and I was still having pain. We got to see the famous Dr Newman himself and he instantly diagnosed William with a lip and tongue tie and I asked to have both revised right there and then. As soon as he latched after the procedure I breathed a sigh of relief, the pain was gone! William was diagnosed with a severe allergy to dairy when he was 7.5 months old. I decided that day to cut dairy out of my diet as well for fear I was going to cause him harm. William had suffered from horrific eczema from 2 months on and we saw many different health professionals- they all told me he would likely outgrow the allergy and that it definitely wasn’t related to my diet or anything we were doing at home (laundry detergent, soap etc). Weeks after I cut all traces of dairy from my diet William’s skin cleared for the first time in his life. I stuck to my very strict diet change to continue nursing him. I nursed William for 15 months, until my milk dried up with my pregnancy with his brother and he lost interest in dry nursing. The first few months of nursing while pregnant was very uncomfortable to say the least but I pursued. I wasn’t giving up for anything at this point. When Jonathan was born I immediately wondered if he too had a tongue tie. His first latch told me he did. This time I traveled to Dr Newman’s clinic when Jonathan was just 5 days old. He too had severe lip and tongue ties. Jonathan turns 15 months on Sunday and I don’t see an end to our nursing journey any time soon. I hope to nurse him to 2 and beyond. I was very naive to think some women are just gifted to nurse. My personal nursing journey has had many hurdles and apparent roadblocks. I’ve had countless clogged ducts and I’ve had mastitis twice. I am very, very proud to have been able to nurse both my boys. The bond we have is incredible and I feel so close to them. I have been able to donate breastmilk to total strangers and also to dear friends. I’ve coslept and not coslept. I’ve pumped while away from my baby for 5 days. I’ve taken my pump and breastmilk on a plane (and made some airport security men blush pretty deeply). I’ve never supplemented either of my boys with formula. Nursing has been incredibly difficult at times but is the most rewarding and my proudest accomplishment." --- Melissa Hollinger