For a mother, being able to breastfeed your child is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Many parents argue that breast is best, breastfed kids are smarter and parents who choose not to breastfeed are selfish.
The people arguing that breast is best don’t always stop to consider that for some parents, breastfeeding just isn’t an option.
After giving birth to her firstborn son, Michelle Rawlings was discharged from the hospital a mere two days later. Although she was following the instructions from her doctor, she was having a horribly difficult time breastfeeding.
After a few days of her son not eating enough she returned to the hospital, terrified of what might be wrong. Her son was severely dehydrated and had lost 18% of his birth weight.
Michelle’s doctor told her that her son had ankyloglossia, or tongue-tie. What happens with this condition is that the piece of skin that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth is unusually short. This makes it extremely difficult and nearly impossible for an infant to breastfeed.
Although it’s a quick procedure to fix the condition, it was severe enough that they had to stay at the hospital another four days while her son was fed through a tube. Even after the tongue-tie was fixed Michelle was still unable to breastfeed her son and she developed postpartum depression.
Three years later Michelle still struggles with depression and wants to raise awareness about tongue-tie so other mothers don’t have to go through what she did. She said that, “Mothers need to be aware that breastfeeding can have it’s difficulties, it may not happen like you’ve been told/taught or hoped.”
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