Bronson Breastfeeding Center and Mothers Milk Bank are phenomenal services for moms who need help

Kaylin Hagenbuch, Patient

I gave birth to my son in 2019 and knew I wanted to breastfeed. Everyone I talked to during my pregnancy explained how great breastfeeding is for our babies and how natural it is. Well, for me, it was extremely difficult. I tried pumping post labor and breastfeeding, but my crying baby seemed so hungry no matter how often or how long I breastfed. When I pumped, nothing but pain came from it. Days went by and I still couldn’t see any breastmilk and latching became more difficult.

I went into Bronson’s Breastfeeding Center and the ladies were SO helpful and kind. They helped me with latching, proper holding, and even recommended I ask our pediatrician about my son’s tongue tie and high palate (which was missed during his newborn exam). I started buying donor milk to help supplement for what I wasn’t producing. During the weeks that followed, breastfeeding never got easier – it got harder. I struggled to produce enough milk, struggled to get my son to latch, and I cried multiple times a day. My husband tried helping any way he could, but at times he just had to sit with me while I cried and felt terrible. I felt like I was failing my first child and couldn’t do the most basic natural thing for him.

The ladies at the Breastfeeding Center stayed by me the entire time. I went to the center multiple times a week for help and each time they recommended something new and encouraged me to keep trying. Eventually, after weeks, they gave me what I needed most – approval to stop trying to breastfeed. It’s not that I needed anyone to give me permission, but as I sat in the room with tears in my eyes the lactation consultant commended me for my effort and love for my child. She also said it was okay if I didn’t keep trying, she knew I had done everything I could. She explained that if I wanted to continue to pump, I could pump and feed my baby anything that I could produce – he would still receive the nutrients and protection even if I had to supplement with formula. I didn’t need her permission to stop, but I needed someone to not pitch “breast is best” and to give me a nudge to simply enjoy my time with my baby.

I pumped for 14 months and was able to enjoy feedings with my son.

Jump to 2021 when I gave birth to my daughter. I wanted to try breastfeeding again and I assumed the second time around would be easier. What are the chances I struggle so much again? Well, it was worse. I had lost a lot of blood during labor and struggled again to produce milk. This time, I knew how to pump, how often, and immediately rented a hospital pump to help me. However, my baby still never seemed satisfied after feedings. Between having a new colic baby, a toddler, and struggling with postpartum – the issues with breastfeeding hit me quite hard again.

I immediately started going back to Bronson’s Breastfeeding center and the ladies were just as helpful as my first experience. Again, they were the first to notice her tongue tie which was missed during her newborn exam. They were able to help me with latching, but she always seemed hungry. Finally, I had a wonderful day with my newborn. She wasn’t crying as much and she was latching and sleeping like a champ – but I was concerned with how much she was sleeping and how quickly she would fall asleep after latching. When I went back to the center, they helped me feed my daughter and we celebrated how great she was doing. The only issue was that she would fall asleep quickly. After her feeding, they weighed her and we realized she was barely pulling any milk from me! She had been sleeping, quiet, and not crying because she was hungry and weak. I was devastated.

Again, I continued multiple weekly visits to the Breastfeeding center and always received the same high level of compassion, care, professionalism, and help. After weeks of trying, my baby was still not pulling milk although I was now producing enough breastmilk, she was latching, and her tongue tie had been clipped. I was in the same place – feeling like a failure for not being able to breastfeed. Again, I was kindly given   acknowledgement for my efforts and love for my daughter, but I was comforted with the recommendation to “breastfeed for closeness and time to connect, but it’s okay to bottle feed too for substance.” I was urged to enjoy the time with my baby, whether I was breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Again, this was what I needed.

This time, I produced enough milk to donate to the milk bank. It was important to me to give back to the same donation center that helped me with my first child. Again, with a rented pump from Bronson, I have been pumping now for 13 months. I have not been successful in breastfeeding. It was not a natural or beautiful experience. It was an experience that amplified my postpartum struggles and caused a lot of tears. The ladies at the Breastfeeding center allowed me the opportunity to exhaust all effort and options. They were supportive with my goals and compassionate each time I fell short. After each child, they continued to support me for as long as I needed. They honestly made a huge difference in my postpartum period and I will forever be grateful for the help and encouragement.

I believe there are countless women who feel helpless after having a baby. The Breastfeeding Center and Donor Milk Bank are phenomenal services for moms who need help in this area. They help to give us a sense of empowerment and confidence during a beautiful yet exhausting time. The postpartum stage can be very emotional and difficult – it is a huge comfort to have a group of trained professionals there to help. I am the biggest advocate for the Breastfeeding Center and Donor Milk Bank – I recommend every new mom who wants to breastfeed visit the Breastfeeding Center. They can make the world of difference – they did for me.

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