Even Experienced Breastfeeding Mothers sometimes need Help – by Lia R

I met Tessa through a medical practice that treated my third child for lip and tongue tie. My first two children were champion breastfeeders and so it was a really difficult adjustment for me to struggle with the physical, emotional and logistical complications of breastfeeding that came with lip and tongue tie.

I nursed my first two kids for about a year and wanted to give my third child the same — particularly because we have a lot of asthma, allergies and eczema in the family and I know how beneficial nursing was for my first two kids in combating these immune and allergy challenges.

There were a lot of ups and downs before and after the lip and tongue tie procedures and I went from being an independent, experienced breastfeeder to someone who needed a lot of coaching and support. It seemed that no matter how much I tried, baby Jett just struggled with latch and when we solved the latch issue, he struggled with muscle tone and when we solved muscle tone, he struggled with endurance, and as a result supply and demand and on and on.

Tessa provided advice on all these issues as well as recommendations for other bodywork consultants who were brought in to the fold — chiropractor, cranial sacral therapist, and speech therapist.

I was fortunate to be able to try all these resources, but at the end of the day, nothing could substitute for the grit required to both nurse and pump 8-12 times a day for months to make the complicated mix of supply and demand work as well as to help Jett make slow progress. Tessa was our cheerleader and partner during those months. I was surprised that beyond her clinic hours and despite having kids of her own to care for, she was available to me 24/7 by messaging to help me muster the patience and grit to get through it (and sort out the confusion and doubt of what to do next at 2am!). Her professionalism and dedication is unmatched. She doesn’t get paid for all that extra help – she just believes in it and cares.

One of the harder moments and, in hindsight, one of the most helpful moments for me, was when Tessa explain tether-berg to me. In a nutshell, it’s the concept that I had done all this work and yet we were only seeing the tip of the iceberg. I had this sinking feeling that I wasn’t going to be able to give Jett that perfect breastfeeding year or years, because even after everything we were doing, there was a mountain underneath us. Now – this is not my first child – so it wasn’t so much about my dealing with personal feelings of failure that I couldn’t give Jett that year, but it was about learning the technical aspects of his issues so that we could adjust expectations. Jett and I bumbled our way through it for 5 months with a combination of pumping and nursing. Those 5 months were a thousand times harder than the year I gave my first two kids and I could not have done it without Tessa. She has the knowledge, experience, empathy and devotion parents and babies need to take on breastfeeding challenges. My husband and I are so grateful for her!

Submitted by Lia R. in 2016

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