We continue sharing the story of what birthed the partnership and business of Advanced Breastfeeding Support. Laura shares her “why” with us.
When I was younger, my father, a pulmonary an critical care specialist, spoke to me often about the benefits of breastfeeding. It might have been his way of indirectly declining my request for breast augmentation. Regardless, it worked. I went into motherhood never doubting that I would be feeding my babies from my breast. Through my experience that I’ve learned the ups and downs of breastfeeding. Yes, there are ups. And that’s why I’m so passionate about helping Moms avoid the worst of the downs – I’ve been there.
At the age of 20 I received amazing, but also surprising news that I was pregnant! A friend helped me get set up with WIC (women infants and children) and that was where I received most of my support and education about breastfeeding at that time.
I had my beautiful baby girl, but breastfeeding was not the easy dream I had envisioned.
I had cracked and bleeding nipples for months, severe postpartum depression, among many other issues I worked through at the time.
I didn’t know that breastfeeding is not supposed to be this painful, so I just pushed through. Luckily my daughter gained weight fairly well and we made compensations work until I returned to work at 10 months postpartum and we slowly weaned. Despite the challenges, I learned to love breastfeeding!
Eight years later I blessedly became pregnant with a baby boy. Once again, I breastfed. And once again, my nipples became damaged. This continued for months, yet I still didn’t know this was not normal. Among other poor breastfeeding advice, I was actually told that not only should I push through, but I should also have another baby soon to avoid nipple damage again.
I dealt with so many more issues this time around: plugged ducts, thrush, Postpartum Depression, weight gain issues for infant, nursing aversion, DMER (dysphoric milk ejection reflex), low milk supply, gassy/colicy baby, and many more. I breastfed for more than two years… and then became pregnant again.
When my third baby, a boy, was born, I thought I had breastfeeding handled. I mean, I had two breastfed babies under my belt! Of course, no child is the same and we had new issues that came up. After his birth, my first battle was oversupply pretty early on. Not a much pain this time, but my poor baby was so uncomfortable. He had “relux-like” symptoms pretty consistently for several months. It was really hard to deal with, but we muddled through with little sleep and frustration. Things did get better more quickly with this one and I breastfed him until he was three and a half years old and loved it in the end.
Throughout the journey with my last two children, I was on a path to go onto a PhD program for Psychology. I became curious what it would take to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). At first, I thought it would be to fill time on the side. It was something I was so passionate about even though I went through so much pain and anguish at times, I loved the connection with my babies. I learned through my research that it was actually a huge amount of work, money, and education. Without question, I signed up and never looked back. I later met Autumn and she became my mentor and the rest is history!
A big lesson I discovered in my journey into becoming an IBCLC was that many of the issues that all of my children had were related to tongue and lip ties. All of which were diagnosed later on in their lives.
Some of the health issues we endured that were related to tongue and lip ties were also not just related to breastfeeding: plugged ducts, mastitis, difficulty “letting down or releasing milk,” enuresis (bed wetting beyond normal), digestive issues, Sensory Processing Delay, difficulty cleaning teeth along with feeding and speech issues. Poor sleep and sleep apnea lead to behavior issues, several digestive issues, and thousands of dollars spent so far in orthodontics (high narrow palate and crooked teeth).
My experiences led me to where I am today. I’ve been there. I get it, and I’m here for you. Let’s work together with real information and support so that you can love your breastfeeding journey and hopefully avoid some of the future issues we have had to deal with. Our goals at Advanced Breastfeeding Support is not just to make breastfeeding work, but we strive to educate and help optimize your baby’s health and development.