Guest Post by Kym, The Kandid Mom
There are so many things that we as moms can’t foresee when it comes to our breastfeeding journey. Little things that can throw off that perfect beginning that we pictured for months while pregnant.
Breastfeeding and Jaundice is one of those situations that can leave a new mother confused and frustrated as she battles concerns with doctors and doubts about her own body’s ability to nourish her baby.
Today’s post in honor of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month features Kym’s story and her account of the moment she was told to supplement as her baby was jaundiced, working through misinformation and rising above to exclusively breastfeed her daughter.
I hope Kym’s story can bring other moms attempting to breastfeed through jaundice some hope and inspiration!
Note: Every mother and baby have individual needs and each situation is different. Please refer to your doctor for medical advice. This story should NOT be used in place of a medical professional’s advice. Thank you!
Breastfeeding and Jaundice – Kym’s Story
Very early on in my pregnancy, I decided I was going to strictly breastfeed if my body was to allow it. In all reality, I had no idea the journey that was ahead of me.
Right after the birth of my baby, which was at 3:35 AM, I had a grumpy nurse who was there to help with our first feeding. Her attitude and impatience were not preferable at all!
I believe it was not only me who was feeling her negative energy but my brand new baby as well.
After twenty minutes of my daughter not latching, I asked for a break. The nurse approved and said she’d be back within the hour.
As soon as she left, I told my little one that we were on her time and I was ready when she was. Not two minutes later, I had a latched nursing baby. My first Mom win!
She nursed for twenty minutes on each side for her first feeding. Now I had made my first Mom mistake (unknowingly)! It’s true what they say, slow and steady wins the race. I should have started with ten minutes on each side, in hopes of less sore nipples for the next feeding.
Over the course of the next twenty-four hours, I breastfed every two hours. This was not easy. I got thru it with lanolin (most hospitals provide this) and faith.
The lactation consultant was of no help! Telling me if I was in pain during the feeding that the latch was wrong.
FYI: as this may be the case for some women, it was not the case for me. Sometimes, or most of the time, breastfeeding to start out is just painful!
Finding Out My Baby has Jaundice
Then, twenty-four hours after giving birth, I had a nurse come into my room with formula and tell me I HAD to give my baby 15ml because her bilirubin was too high. In short, she was jaundice.
This was heartbreaking for me. I didn’t know much about jaundice, but I felt like my body was failing my baby. With tears rolling down my face, I fed my baby the formula.
Did you know jaundice affects 50 to 60% of all newborns?
Well, I didn’t know that either, and I also didn’t know that this condition can go away on its own. The nurse who came into my room should have explained this to me and given me an option to feed my baby that formula.
With tears rolling down my face, I fed my baby the formula.
My newborn was peeing and pooping in the timely manner the hospital expects, so feeding her the formula didn’t do any extra for her. The nurse had me switching off every two hours from formula to breast.
My pediatrician told me that her bilirubin number was nothing to be concerned with, and to stop the formula immediately if I wanted to be strictly breastfeeding. This was a day and a half after the nurse started us on the supplementation.
Pushing Through the Trials
After getting home from the hospital, breastfeeding seemed to get a tad bit easier. There is something to be said for getting to be comfortable in your own space. Though my nipples were still very very sore.
My sister had told me if you can make it thru the first two weeks, you’re in the clear. She also told me you need lansinoh soothing gel pads to be successful in your first two weeks.
And let me tell you, those soothing gel pads were my saving grace. Highly recommend!
Fast forward to two weeks after birth. I came down with a 101 fever accompanied by aches and pains, and very sore breasts. While being almost positive this was mastitis, it was also January and prime flu season. (Mastitis gives you flu-like symptoms)
Luckily I had family in town and they were able to stay with my significant other and baby girl while I headed for the E.R. Upon arrival I was tested for everything!
As soon as all my tests came back negative, the doctor said it was most likely mastitis, as there are no tests for it.
They prescribed me an antibiotic safe to use while breastfeeding. It is key to continue to keep breastfeeding! But be warned, it is painful!
Pushing thru this phase of my journey might have been the hardest. I felt more run down then I did after giving birth. Having the support of my significant other and my parents made the biggest difference.
I can happily say that after that first month had passed, breastfeeding became relatively easy for me. I must admit though, I was constantly worried about my supply dropping.
Pushing thru this phase of my journey might have been the hardest.
We made it to six months exclusively breastfeeding. My daughter is now seven months old and we are still breastfeeding along with her starting her purees, which I made from organic fruits and vegetables myself.
Breastfeeding is quite possibly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
I have days still, that I think I’m about done. But the bond that is formed between mom and baby during this time is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced either. It is so special.
My best advice I would have given to myself pre-baby:
- Soothing gel pads are a must!
- Wear loose clothing when starting your breastfeeding journey, this includes your nursing bras.
- Take hot showers. This makes you feel better and is also good for producing milk.
- Massage your breasts while in the shower, during, and after feedings. This helps prevent mastitis. Nobody wants mastitis!
As any mom, I’m trying to do the best I can to give my daughter the absolute best start to her life. I would choose this path over and over again, with no extra thought put into it.
If you are a breastfeeding mom facing any type of obstacles, I encourage you to fight on! You are a strong individual who created a life and brought them into this world!
About the Author
My name is Kym and I am a pregnancy and parenting blogger at The Kandid Mom. I have a beautiful seven-month-old baby girl, whom of which is teaching me more about life than I have yet to teach her. I write about the many lessons I have experienced on this motherhood journey in hopes I can help other new moms! You can also find me on Pinterest and Instagram!