I am a first-time mother. Before my son arrived, I knew I wanted to try breastfeeding but had heard so many horror stories from girlfriends that I had become more afraid of breast feeding than of giving birth! So, at the recommendation of my doula, I reached out to Jennifer a few weeks prior to my delivery date to ensure I would have immediate support in that department.
Jennifer came to the house a few days after my husband and I brought our son home. I was uncertain how to latch my baby and was experiencing nipple pain. I was also struggling with pain caused by childbirth that was making it uncomfortable and difficult for me to sit down to breastfeed. Her first focus was to get me into a comfortable seated position, bolstering me with pillows to take pressure off sore areas. She then watched a full feed, closely examining my baby’s latch. During his feeding, she discovered that his chin was set back and taught me how to properly latch him while taking the shape of his jaw into consideration. She also weighed him throughout the feed so that she could keep a close eye on how much milk he was taking. At the end of our meeting, she drew up a detailed care plan for me to follow and gave me diagrams depicting how to latch my son going forward. After our meeting, my fears and concerns had been alleviated and I had the thought, “I can actually do this!”
However, at my son’s one-month check-up, we discovered that he had slow weight gain between weeks 2-4. Panicked that I was not producing enough milk, I contacted Jennifer again to have her watch another full feed. I was in tears when she arrived, out of fear that I could not provide for my baby. I was ready to throw in the towel. As she did in our first meeting, Jennifer weighed him throughout his feed and at the end, determined that he was taking in the amount necessary for his weight. She also spent time talking to me, easing my fears and answering my questions about milk production and giving me suggestions as to how to increase milk supply. She assured me that I wasn’t alone, that many other mothers went through similar trials and shed tears as I did. Again, when she left, I felt more confident and more at ease. And at my son’s next weight check two weeks after her visit, my son had gained a full pound and has continued to gain a pound every two weeks!
I reached out to Jennifer a third and final time when my nipple pain returned. This time, I had started using nipple shields and wanted to learn how to feed him without the use of aids. Our meeting went as our others – watch a full feed, adjust my son’s latch, weigh him, draw up a care plan, and just as importantly, ease my jittery new-mother-nerves! For that next week, I focused on the latch she taught me and can say that I was able to toss out the shields and have been breastfeeding pain-free ever since!
Throughout those early weeks, I badly wanted to give up on breast feeding. It was a very emotional and stressful time, full of uncertainty as to whether or not I was providing for my baby, pushing through nipple pain, as well as adjusting to motherhood. Not only was Jennifer able to help me overcome the physical pain, but she was there to soothe me when I was crying about my son’s slow weight gain, had questions about caring for my child, and to tell me that all of my fears around being a new mother were completely normal. She became a support system for me and is to date, someone I feel I can trust and contact with questions and concerns as I continue to walk through motherhood. Jennifer is warm, kind, non-judgemental, supportive, knowledgeable, and professional. Without her, I do not believe I would still be breastfeeding today.