After 4 weeks of excruciating pain, bleeding and bruised nipples, downing Advil like it was my job, and more tears than I could count, I was ready to give up on breastfeeding. When my daughter was born, I was told she had a tongue tie, but it was nothing to be concerned about. She was gaining weight fine, they said. It would stretch itself out, they said. It’s normal for breastfeeding to hurt at first, they said. For those four weeks, on the surface it looked like our breastfeeding relationship was working out perfectly – by all measurable standards my baby was thriving. But the pain wasn’t going away, it was getting worse. And my daughter was exhibiting the very first signs of reflux…. though I didn’t know much about that at the time. What’s more, I was about to lose my mind. I was lost and felt like I had no idea where to turn.
Finally, at my breaking point, I confessed to a girlfriend that I was giving up. I couldn’t take the pain anymore, and no one seemed to be able to help me figure out why I was in so much pain with a baby that was growing like a weed. In that conversation, my friend convinced me not to give up just yet. She said she had just the woman who could help me. I decided to give it one last ditch effort and went to see Amanda Ogden at The Mama’Hood in Denver. Within an hour, Amanda and her team not only explained that my daughter’s tongue tie was more than just an inconvenience, but they also recognized that I had oversupply (hence her weight gain – I was firehosing the poor girl!), my daughter was developing reflux, and my pain was caused by vasospasms. After I melted in a sobbing puddle at their feet, they sent me home with the recommendation of a pediatric dentist. I called that very day, and they got me in immediately to look at and clip my daughter’s tongue. As it turns out, she had what they consider a 90% tongue tie – a condition that surely would have caused speech issues down the line, and frustration for her as she learned skills like chewing.
Working with Amanda was the main reason I was able to breastfeed for 11 months, through many challenges. And it was Amanda who helped me feel comfortable with supplementing with formula when I went back to work. She’s not your typical lactation consultant. And when I realized how lucky I was to have this kind of support, I knew I needed to find a way to share it with the other mamas I know who are struggling.
I am thrilled to bring you this Breastfeeding Solutions series with this inspiring woman who has helped countless mamas in Colorado. She is a diamond in the rough.
Saralyn Ward is an award-winning writer, wellness advocate, and mountain mama. She is the founder of The Mama Sagas, writes for several publications and hosts a regular parenting TV segment on Colorado's Everyday Show. When she's not huddled over edits, you're likely to find Saralyn climbing peaks or skiing down them, and reminding herself that the two little girls that call her mom are not the boss of her.