My archives might be a little outdated especially the older blogs. My links above are all new and current.

I have only positive things to say about Permission to Mother, an autobiographical account of a thoughtful mother and clinician who courageously writes from her heart, soul, brain, and personal experience; who is open to change in her views and opinions and is not guided by the safety of rules of any group or the status quo; she is guided by love and openness to the experiences life brings her and her family. Her process benefits her and those around her and those who read her words. And to add to that, the writing style and story telling ability here make it a very enjoyable read speckled with both the humor and seriousness of life. ~Laura Keegan RN FNP, author of Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

In Desperate Need of Breastfeeding Help

This is an e-mail I received last week:

Hello Dr. Punger.

My 3rd baby is 6 weeks old. I tried to breastfeed my other 2 children without success. My current baby had jaundice when he left the hospital and wasn't having bowel movements or peeing, so I broke down and gave him formula. (I wish I had you to talk to and maybe I wouldn't have done that). I continued to try and breastfeed before every bottle, I started pumping ($40 dollar double electric) every 2 hours for several days, drinking special teas to increase my milk supply. My milk never actually "came in" so to speak. I was having let downs, I was leaking, but my son would be on my breast for 10 to 15 minutes at a time and still drink 4 ounces from a bottle. This became too much for me to handle and I stopped at 2 weeks. My question is that my milk has completely dried up now and I haven't attempted breastfeeding in 4 weeks. I have been having major regrets about quitting and I was wondering if its possible to get my milk back after this long? I am so desperate!!

I have heard nothing but wonderful things about you and people have told me if Dr. Punger can't help you, than nobody can!! Oh please help! I truly appreciate any time you are willing to give me. Thank you so much.

Oh yeah and my son is a big boy! He is now over 11 pounds and drinking 5 ounces of formula at a time!

I get lots of desperate pleas via e-mail. She came in right away. I find the sooner you come in, the more potential for success. This does sound hopeless, doesn't it? I can't always go by what's said in the e-mail or the phone. I need to see for myself the interaction between mother and baby. This is what happened.

She came in. We sat mom down in my rocking chair with foot stool (proper body mechanics). I set up the My Breastfriend Nursing pillow (proper support) and told her to put her baby (And he was a big boy) dressed down to the diaper to her breast so I can see what happens. The baby latched and stayed there. She said he that never stays this long at the breast. With good support and no distractions (phone, TV, computer) in my experience babies will latch. Her two older toddlers were playing in the room quietly. I saw milk drip from her nipple.

Do I think this is a desperate situation. Nope. Her willing-to-latch baby is half of the battle. To build up her supply I instructed on nursing with a SNS (or lact-aid), more tea, Reglan to be replaced with Domperidone when it arrives. Skin-to-skin (babywearing & co-sleeping). No more bottles or pacifiers. Respond to baby's fussiness by bringing him to the breast. I showed her how to put him in the ringsling. I told her that if she feeds at the breast, she probably didn't have to rely on her cheapy little pump to build her supply.

I told her to go to LLL tomorrow which happened to be the next morning. Her response was interesting and insightful. She didn't think she belonged since she wasn't really nursing. She is a PERFECT mother to benefit from LLL meetings. I explained to her that after bottle feeding 2 babies and not knowing many mothers who nursed, she had to start building a breastfeeding network and reshape her thinking (I had lots of myths to undo).

I also insisted on reading Permission to Mother to help refocus. I told her that others who have not breastfed as long as they wanted have given me the feedback that they would know to listen to their hearts next time and not worry about other people think. One reason I wrote my book was for mothers struggling with misinformation. She has a lot to learn about the immediate postpartum method, jaundice, feeding on demand and trusting your instincts.

I feel very confident that she can build her supply back and have a great nursing relationship. It takes commitment, but from what I see, it can be done. I guess I will find out what happens this upcoming week. I learned (was reminded) you can never judge potential by an e-mail.

I asked her why she hadn't come in sooner. Her reply was also interesting and insightful. She knew I was breastfeeding friendly, but she didn't know I was "Breastfeeding Queen" until she went on my website last night and she realized her circumstances and re-questioned her potential.

I live for helping breastfeeding mothers! I am glad she found me and came in!

*Details slightly changed for privacy.


The Cooking Lady said...

There is nothing more heartwarming than to read about a great success story.

Thank goodness for the Denise Pungers of the world.

Shaunna said...

Very beneficial post.

Lauren said...

I hope that she was able to go to the LLL meeting. Support and information is key to success!

Trish Chibas said...

You are an amazing woman and an outstanding doctor. We are blessed to have you in our area!

Jen said...

Wow that is great that she still had milk! It sounds like it will work out for her! Hopefully she will keep at the breast with the Lact-Aid and forget about the pump for now. So much more important to hold and nuzzle to build your supply than putting your baby down to pump!
I wish I could have made it to the LLL meeting to meet her! I will have to post on LLL group to see if she showed up.
The more I hear about these stories the more I want to eventually participate more formally with LLL to offer support to mothers who need to use an SNS!

pearly1979 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christy ~ Munch75 said...

What a great story! I know from experience that your knowledge and support along with LLL is so important. We are so very lucky to have you in our community! Along with the many experienced bf moms who want to help you succeed.

Tam said...

Very cool! You wouldn't mind having a practice in every city in America would you? There are so many mothers who need someone like you! I talk to them all the time and hear things like, I tried BUT "I just didn't have enough milk" or "My milk never came in." I believe nature works if we are informed and let it.

Permission to Mother should be studying said...

Update: I received an email from her after the weekend which thanked me for having so much faith in her and seeing her right away. She wished her milk would come in magically (her words) like so many other women's milk does.

Over the weekend she realized how time consuming relactation would be and with 2 toddlers and her job(she works at home), she didn't have the time. She has enjoyed the bonding part of it and wished she found me earlier.

I appreciate that she sent me an update. I replied and still tried to encourage her and invited her here to read my perspective that I wrote up. Many women have problems or perceive problems with there milk coming in. One thing she wished would come out of it:

"I really think that if anything comes of this, women should be informed of this SNS during their last trimester of pregnancy - that way they know about it if they give up one day before its too late."

* I have another post in here with photos of SNS and lactaid in use.

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