adrenal fatigue

Breastfeeding: Natural But Not Always Easy

August 3rd, 2009

This week is World Breastfeeding Week and on Twitter & other social networking sites there has been vigorous discussion about the merits of breastfeeding. I am a proponent of breastfeeding but I am not in favor of chastising or belittling a mom who chooses not to breastfeeding.

While breastfeeding is best for an infant and is “natural”, it isn’t always easy. My first baby was born 3 weeks early and while she was eager to nurse, she didn’t know to open her mouth wide to nurse and I didn’t know how to evert her lips to open her mouth. She also had breathing issues such that when she nursed, her oxygen saturation dropped to about 85%. Thankfully I had access to some GREAT lactation experts, one who even came to my home, who coached me and enabled me to nurse for 10 1/2 months when my daughter decided she was done.

Sometimes nursing problems arise that require medical attention. My son was a nursing champ right out of the womb. He immediately latched on expertly drawing in much of my breast. We both enjoyed nursing and were cruising along despite my ever increasing weariness. I asked my OB about my increasing fatigue and when my thyroid and other hormone blood levels came back “normal”, I was told my fatigue was due to being a new mom with 2 young children (newborn & 3 1/2yrs). But that didn’t seem to be it. I felt completely drained of life. I consulted with a couple of other practitioners but no one found anything wrong. Well, 8 months post partum I got a flu-like virus and my milk production abruptly stopped. I tried everything; fenugreek, milk thistle, warm baths..nothing helped. On Thanksgiving Day, my son and I both sat on the sofa and cried. It would be a full year later before my “sluggish” thyroid and adrenal fatigue would be diagnosed by an alternative practioner who did saliva hormone levels.

Breastfeeding is best, but it’s not always easy. If you are having problems with technique, consult with an experienced lactation expert as soon as possible, such as La Leche League or local midwives and doulas trained in lactation. If the underlying problems are with your health be persistent, see multiple practitioners if necessary, so that your concerns are addressed and as much as possible, nursing is maintained or re-established.