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My Story (ies)

2014-When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I read all the books and made my perfect birth plan for when she made her arrival. I was ready. I was prepared. Or so I thought. Preeclampsia at 36 weeks was not part of my original plan, and it was then that I learned pretty quickly that things don't always go according to plan. Nevertheless, my Lylah was born a little early but healthy and my world was changed forever. Since she was early, she was called a "lazy eater" and never really seemed too interested in the whole breastfeeding thing. Unfortunately, I did not have great support in the hospital so I kept doing what I was doing, not knowing that there was anything wrong. It wasn't until she kept losing, not gaining, weight when I realized that she wasn't really eating when I thought she was. Defeated and exhausted from triple-feeding, I found a breastfeeding group that was recommended to me by a friend. This group was amazing. It was so life changing to see that I was not the only mama struggling, and it was great to learn that in fact there are a LOT of problems that can arise with breastfeeding. The good news, though, was that most issues can be solved with the right support and effort. At my first group, I overheard the lactation consultant talking with someone else about lip-tie. I had never heard of this, but flipped my tiny little babe's lip and sure enough she was severely lip-tied. Lylah was 6 weeks old at this point, and she was essentially only getting my letdown, or about 1 oz, at each feeding! I was referred to a pediatric dentist who assessed and confirmed that Lylah's lips were not able to flange correctly to pull milk, and we had the lip tie revised. Our breastfeeding journey completely changed from that day on, and she was able to feed normally for the rest of the time. I was, and will forever be, so thankful for the knowledge and the support of that incredible lactation consultant.

2017-Fast forward a couple of years, and I was expecting our second daughter. I was hyper-aware of lip-tie and insisted that she be checked for that as soon as she was born. Hallie arrived a little early as well, but without the preeclampsia complications this time. Thankfully all of her anatomy looked great and we started off our breastfeeding journey seamlessly, with Hallie gaining weight each day. Phew! Relief! Until about a month in, when I started to have a lot of anxiety surrounding feedings. It felt like I was falling into a hole each time my milk letdown, and I was having to breathe through the feeding. With a two year old running around me while I was breastfeeding, this was extremely difficult and stressful. I felt like a crazy person. So, I went back to that trusty breastfeeding group I and soaked in the knowledge and love of the lactation consultant. Apparently I had something called D-MER, or Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex. Typically when your milk is about to release, you have euphoric, or good feelings, but for me it was the opposite. The lactation consultant referred me to a doctor and I was able to manage the negative feelings with medication and go on to successfully feed Hallie for a year.

I truly don't know what I would have done without that lactation consultant. Her name is Amanda, and she is someone to whom I owe immense gratitude. Each of my breastfeeding journeys were challenging in their own unique ways, and finding support that encouraged me to keep going, while giving me the tools to do so, was life- changing for me. It has become my passion to help other moms and babies because I know the struggle is REAL when it comes to breastfeeding and navigating the new normal of postpartum. It is hard. We shouldn't do it alone.

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