Those two little lines appear on the pregnancy test and you jump for joy with your partner. The doctor confirms, and when the time is right, you inform loved ones and commence meticulous planning. Researching the safest cribs and shopping for tiny, printed onesies and all things adorable, begins. Next comes choosing a name and determining your birth plan. Then you begin reading parenting books and deciding what type of child rearing techniques you’ll apply. At this point, it seems you’ve got it all figured out and the blueprint of your happy little family seems to be superbly falling into place.
But what happens when reality blind sides you with a curve ball that derails those meticulous life plans? This is the moment you choose whether to allow a setback to dim your optimism or empower you to forge a new path.
First-time mothers have a tendency to set lofty aspirations for child-rearing without actually comprehending what that entails or how to go about it. I was no different. One of the goals I had set for myself, unaware of the complexities, was that I’d breastfeed my children for 12 months so we could both reap the numerous benefits. I figured breastfeeding is natural, women have been doing it for years, it’s a piece of cake.
I was oh so wrong. Yes, breastfeeding is innate to infants, but that doesn’t mean all of them are able to do it with ease. I’m now finding out how difficult breastfeeding can be.
Since being born, my darling Jack has been having trouble breastfeeding and gaining weight. He finally got back up to his birth weight this week, but I had to put forth a lot of effort to get there by supplementing his breastfeeding with expressing breast milk and giving him bottles. We suspect his issues are likely due to the long labor, his duress and subsequent c-section birth which caused him to have some structural issues and muscle tension. This results in him having a weak latch, exerting an exhausting amount of energy to feed and having to use a nipple shield because he is not physically able to open his mouth wide enough to properly latch my breast. Poor baby, right?!
I contacted a lactation consultant who identified the above mentioned structural issues and muscle tension and referred us to a chiropractor with pediatric specialization to hopefully help Jack relax the muscles needed to latch properly. Leah has been especially supportive and kind, going above and beyond to help us through this process. I’m more than grateful to have found her and I highly recommend her to anyone in the area. Jack’s chiropractor is equally marvelous! It’s evident Dr. Treichel has a passion for her work and genuinely cares for her patients, Jack included. And the added bonus that I’m more thankful for is that we get his chiropractic care at NO COST as she is part of a program that provides free services to military families since Tricare does not cover chiropractic. I think the plan is to have two chiropractor appointments per week until we move or until Jack latches correctly. Jack has had three chiropractic appointments thus far and has been a trooper. The appointments go fairly smoothly, aside from him filling his diaper, but that’s just par for the course. I swear 9 times out of 10 when on a doctor’s table, he poops! Yep, that’s my kid, the poopinator.
I’m hopeful the chiropractic adjustments are able to help, and that we can find someone who can continue his body work at our new duty station. Physical therapy was also a treatment that was mentioned, but I’m hoping we can remedy this without the need for that kind of treatment. He’s just so tiny and fragile, it scares me to think of him needing that kind of therapy. Today he managed to nurse for a few minutes without the shield! This is a HUGE deal and I was so excited and proud of him! I know this process will take time and a lot of patience, but I’m hopeful Jack will eventually be able to latch and breastfeed without the need for the nipple shield because quite frankly, the shield is a pain in the ass and the whole situation is frustrating and disheartening. I feel so helpless at times, but I’m determined to stick with it and not give in just yet. I’m choosing to forge a new path.