Menu

Reflections: The Latch

Nadine Rubin Nathan, editorial director of Pelluceo Publishing, shares her breastfeeding journey.

Reflections: The Latch

When my daughter A was born, she weighed a mere 5lbs 12oz. Despite an emergency C-section, my milk came in, and her tiny mouth was able to latch onto my comparably enormous nipple. But the day we were set to leave the hospital, Alexa had dropped weight (as all babies do) and was down to 5lbs 3oz. The pediatrician instructed me to supplement her feeds with formula to ensure that her weight didn’t drop any further.

A nurse helped me attach a tiny tube to the end of a syringe and then tape the tube to my nipple so that I could add formula to her feed as she nursed. This worked well for us for the first two days, and I was sure that we were on our way to establishing a solid nursing routine.

I had hired a postpartum doula for a couple of hours a day. She arrived at our apartment on the third day, took one look at the feeding tube and told me it was unnecessary. “Just give her the formula in a bottle,” she advised. “It will be so much easier for you.”

Two days later, Alexa refused to latch. She had developed “nipple confusion.” Her weight had picked up and it was no longer necessary for me to supplement, so I began to pump and feed her breastmilk from a bottle. But I wanted her to latch again, so I found a lactation consultant to help me.

On the first day, the lactation consultant arrived minutes before A was due to wake up for a feed. I told her what had been going on, and she assured me that she could help. Then my daughter woke up, screaming so hysterically that the lactation consultant was visibly shaken. We both tried in vain to get her to calm down enough to try and latch. Eventually the lactation consultant ordered me to give her the bottle.

As my daughter sucked happily on the silicone nipple, she told me that she hadn’t seen a baby this hungry in some time. She advised me to continue to pump and give her the bottle at the beginning of each feed to take the edge off and then to try and coax her back onto the breast. She showed me how to use nipple guards to mimic the texture of the artificial nipple and to dribble a little breastmilk onto them to make them more enticing. She assured me that as my daughter’s hunger was satiated and she grew stronger, she would find her way back to the breast. All I had to do was keep offering it to her at each feed and spend hours skin to skin in bed with her.

Every day for the next four weeks I spent most of the day in bed with Alexa. And when we weren’t in bed she was in a baby carrier pressed against my chest. At each feed, I dutifully began with a bottle and then followed up with my nipples, only to be rejected over and over again. It was painful. With all the hormones still raging in my body, it was difficult not to feel devastated that my baby didn’t seem to want to bond with me. And I felt guilty. What was wrong with me?

Some days I didn’t have the emotional strength to handle her screaming until the bottle was offered again, so I took a break and tried again the following morning (often with my husband’s encouragement). But the constant pumping was getting me down, and I started to set time limits in my head. I decided I would probably only make it to three months. And so what? After all, I was a formula-fed baby, and I hadn’t turned out too badly.

The reason I didn’t throw in the towel earlier was the fact that I had gestational diabetes during my pregnancy. I had read that breastfeeding could lower the likelihood of both of us developing diabetes in later life.

But as more time passed, the idea that my daughter would still remember how to latch seemed counter-intuitive. I figured she would lose the instinct as she grew older. Then I saw a posting for a meeting of the local La Leche League and decided to attend.

The room was filled with nursing mothers and I felt distinctly self-conscious taking out a bottle, even if it was filled with breastmilk. The La Leche League leaders went around the room asking each woman to share her experience. I quickly realized that almost everyone had struggled with breastfeeding in the beginning — sore nipples, low milk supply, blocked ducts and, in some cases, oversupply.

Then a woman who was happily nursing her son began to speak. This little breastfeeding pro was 10 weeks old, and it turned out that he had only begun latching two weeks earlier. His mother was able to coax him back onto the breast by taking lots of baths with him and putting him onto her chest in the warm water.

Just hearing that someone else had actually managed to achieve what had begun to feel like the impossible gave me the extra boost I needed to keep going. And a few weeks later, I too had managed to get my daughter to latch.

I was no longer a slave to the breastpump. I finally had the bonding experience I had so longed for, and ultimately, I nursed my daughter until she was 14 months old.

Image via Pinterest.

In This Article

    These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

    It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

    When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

    But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

    I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

    So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

    It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

    But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


    Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


    Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

    Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

    Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

    Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


    This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners

    It’s science: Vacations make your kids happy long after they’re over

    Whether you're planning a quick trip to the lake or flying the fam to a resort, the results are the same: A happier, more connected family.

    Whether you're looking for hotels or a rental home for a safe family getaway, or just punching in your credit card number to reserve a spot in a campground a couple of states over, the cost of vacation plans can make a mom wince. And while price is definitely something to consider when planning a family vacation, science suggests we should consider these trips—and their benefits—priceless.

    Research indicates that family vacations are essential. They make our, kids (and us) happier and build bonds and memories.

    Keep reading Show less
    News

    Cameron Diaz on having a baby at 47: 'You really have to work hard for it'

    "The only pressure for me now is I have to live to be, like, 107, you know? No pressure!"

    This is the decade that saw the face of first-time motherhood change. The number of first-time mamas under 30 is shrinking, while more and more women are becoming moms after 40.

    Cameron Diaz is one of them. The actress and businesswoman, now 48, became a mom in January at the age of 47. In a new episode of Naomi Campbell's YouTube series, No Filter, Diaz opens up about what it's like to become a mom in your fourth decade.

    "A lot of people do it the other way around ... they get married [and] have a family in their youth," says Diaz."I'm kind of doing it in the second half of my life."

    Keep reading Show less
    News