With Honest Feeding Stories, you’ll hear from parents like you about one of the most intimate and important experiences of family life. Happiness and heartbreak, serenity and struggle, joy and tears — it’s all here in their own words. Presented with our support and without judgment, these stories remind us that the choices we make to nourish our children are truly unique.
My birth story was near perfect. I had a natural, home birth that was incredibly hard work, but absolutely worth it when I saw my happy, healthy, 8.6 pound baby smiling back at me. I truly felt invincible.
But then things started to go downhill. My son Zion couldn’t properly latch on to me, so feeding him became incredibly painful. I felt like something was clamping on to me, and the pain was so intense that every time he would try to latch I would kick my legs in response. Despite the pain, I was determined to make it work. Because I’d been able to do childbirth on my own, I thought I would be able to do this too, so I pushed through. Eventually, it got to the point where people couldn’t even touch me because my whole body was aching. My breasts were engorged, my nipples were scabbed, and I developed mastitis. At one point I was running a fever of 104.6 degrees and had to be put on antibiotics. I was in so much pain that I was just a mess; just so physically drained.
I had a midwife and lactation consultants come to my home to help me. What I was doing was correct, but it still hurt so much that I knew something wasn’t right. Finally, my midwife told me that Zion could have tongue-tie and lip-tie; she had been waiting a couple days to see if his mouth would adjust on its own, but at this point she was pretty certain. My fiancé took Zion to the pediatric dentist and he was diagnosed immediately. The doctor explained the simple procedure that would release the tongue-tie and lip-tie and, while we were nervous about it hurting our baby, it only took a few minutes and Zion barely cried!
The first time I tried to feed Zion after the procedure I was amazed. I couldn’t believe the difference. I went through days and days of agonizing pain, and this is what it should have felt like all along? I felt such relief knowing that I could now properly feed my baby, but it also made me think about how many other women out there might be dealing with this same issue.
When you talk about tongue-tie and lip-tie it sounds like some sort of deformity, but it’s not, it’s so simple! Because you can’t really see it, it often goes under- or undiagnosed. That’s why it’s so important to maintain dialog with other women about their experiences, so we can spread this knowledge. Every woman has a different journey; there is so much to be learned from each other. You must also remember that you have to do what is best for you and your child. I know many women that can’t breastfeed — I almost couldn’t — and that’s okay.
-Nicole Trunfio, Los Angeles, California