You Are Not A Failure - The Lifesaving Support of A Doula for a Breastfeeding Mother

I have an important, deeply emotional story to share with you tonight. Recently, a Southern Kentucky family received an emergency, possibly life saving, breastfeeding consultation from a member of the My Sunshine Birth Network. The mother bravely shared her story with a national source, thankfully bringing much needed attention to an issue so many families face, with no idea where to go. Many still don't know this issue even exists, despite being a risk all newborns face...  

This story has a positive beginning. Jordan Talley, the mom and author of the story, gives birth to a healthy 6lb 8oz baby girl named Lucy. Her labor wasn't lengthy, Lucy's vitals checked out and she seemed to be nursing successfully in the hospital. However, before being discharged from the hospital, Jordan began to notice some pain while feeding. She is then provided advice regarding how to get a deeper latch. All seemed well, so the family was released to go home with Lucy at a weight of 6lbs 1oz. This was a few ounces less than at birth, but was not considered an abnormal weight loss for a newborn.

Only one month postpartum, Lucy's weight had rapidly declined. Suddenly, this little one's story was not so positive. Despite seeing the pediatrician regularly, she was still failing to return to her birth weight of 6lb 8oz. It became obvious then, that something was wrong.

 Photo Credit: Jordan Talley

Photo Credit: Jordan Talley

Here is what Jordan wrote about that painful and terrifying 1-month check up:

Two weeks later, she had her one-month appointment. My sweet girl had lost her chubby cheeks. Her eyes were dull and sunken in, and I was STILL having pain every time she nursed. I stripped her down to a dry diaper and walked her to the scale. The numbers seemed to take forever to stop scrolling… but when they did, they read 6 pounds 7 ounces. My heart sunk. Still not at birth weight. I fought against thoughts of failure as we walked back to the exam room. My throat hurt from holding back tears that tried so desperately to escape. I sat down, holding Lucy in her pink and white blanket. I quickly scrolled through my phone to find my firstborn daughter’s one-month weight… she had gone from 5 pounds, 1 ounce at birth, to 7 pounds, 8 ounces by her one-month appointment. On formula. I choked back the tears as I gazed down at my sweet Lucy, her skin just sagging off of her. Why was I failing?
— Jordan Talley, Mother of Lucy

 Pictured: Amanda of  Grateful Moms Doula . Photo Credit: Jordan Talley

Pictured: Amanda of Grateful Moms Doula. Photo Credit: Jordan Talley

I reluctantly reached out to a lactation consultant named Amanda, a boss mama who is not only a lactation consultant, but a Doula through her service named Grateful Moms Doula Service. We texted back and forth for a few hours and she told me that she could see me that night or the next morning. She asked if I’d be open to supplementing Lucy with donor breast milk. I asked her if it was free, and she explained that it was and that she would really love to help us, because she saw a picture of Lucy and was concerned for her. It made me nervous that someone who sees lots of babies for a living was concerned for my baby.
— Jordan Talley, Mother of Lucy

That is how we (the My Sunshine Birth Network) became aware of Jordan and Lucy. Sitting together during a network meeting, our Network Birth Photographer, Samantha Steen, interrupted the meeting with urgency in her voice to say: "Amanda, a local Photographer, Jordan Talley, is online right now, desperately trying to find help with breastfeeding her newborn. At one month old, she's not gaining. I'm sending her your number!"

Sam continued to explain by sharing with us the concerning information in Jordan's post about her 1-month check up. We were all very worried for Lucy. That evening, we were checking in on our group-chat, all of us wondering if Amanda was able to reach out to Jordan. That's when a picture appeared that changed everything.

 Photo Credit: Jordan Talley

Photo Credit: Jordan Talley

Jordan had shared the photo of baby Lucy at 1-month old and it was so heartbreaking that Amanda immediately said, "I have to see this baby no matter what!" We all followed along as Amanda was able to give us one positive update after the other! Baby Lucy sucked down the bottle of donor milk Amanda had brought her, and fell fast asleep content and relaxed. Before that she had observed baby at the breast and felt very confident there was no supply issue. She saw a lot of signs that pointed to a tongue and lip tie though. When she told us that she had referred Jordan to a professional capable of diagnosing and revising the ties immediately we all sighed in relief, knowing this sweet family would be ok and we all hugged our families tighter that night.  

Here is what Jordan wrote about finding Amanda....

The next day, I met Amanda. Within minutes of meeting Lucy, she had diagnosed a tongue tie and a lip tie. She watched Lucy eat, and even commented that it ‘definitely wasn’t a supply issue.’ I felt immediate relief. Amanda’s presence, reassurance, and bags of donor breast milk brought me such a peace. Amanda made sure that I had enough donor milk to feed Lucy every two hours. By 9:00 that evening, I could already see a difference. We weighed her with our home scale, just out of curiosity…7 pounds… She had gained 9 ounces the first day. For the first time in her life, Lucy was content.

Amanda referred me to someone who performed tongue tie and lip tie revisions. With Amanda’s referral and the urgency of Lucy’s situation, we were able to have the revisions performed the next day. Immediately after the procedure, I got to nurse Lucy.  As soon as she latched, I could feel a difference. It didn’t hurt anymore. Everyone had always said that ‘breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt,’ so I thought maybe I was just a wimp.
— Jordan Talley, Mother of Lucy

When baby Lucy had her next weight check we were relieved to know for sure that Amanda's quick action had successfully saved that family's breastfeeding relationship.

Jordan recalls...

Her weight check appointment rolled around. Once again, I stripped her down to a clean diaper, and carried her to the scale. Tears welled up in my eyes as the numbers settled. 7 pounds, 8 ounces. She was one whole pound beyond her birth weight. I felt like I could breathe again.
— Jordan Talley, Mother of Lucy

I'm so very thankful to have a lactation professional like Amanda in our network. She works tirelessly to serve local families by meeting them where they are. She supports them no matter their choices or the crossroads they may be at, while providing a level of care that is unparalleled. I've seen Amanda time and time again walk in a home or take a video chat with a family that has lost all hope and turn it around. She does this with her own personal mix of evidence based care and enthusiastic approach that instantly lifts a terrified mother and her family from a place of darkness to a place full of hope. I am so proud of Amanda and in my excitement, I could easily go on and on, but Jordan sums it up nicely...

As I reflect on our journey so far, I can see so many times where I could have given up. I 100% believe that there needs to be more awareness to these underlying issues that complicate breastfeeding. We need more lactation consultants. We need more ‘Amanda’s’ in the world that will help us access resources like donor breast milk, or someone who can revise ties. We need someone in our corner that we can text at 11:00 at night and get help. We need more support so mamas don’t feel like giving up is the only option they have.
— Jordan Talley, Mother of Lucy

A note from Mary

"It is my hope that this story will provide a greater awareness of the breastfeeding issues many mom's endure. Often, there isn't enough support or education provided to mothers who are already dealing with so many postpartum changes and concerns. This story is more common than many realize. Breastfeeding issues can happen with any baby. Unfortunately, there have been some 'negativity trolls' on social media, putting blame on this loving mother who has already been through enough heartache. A woman has every right to breastfeed her baby and this mother did what was right for her and her baby by following the advice of her doctors and seeking immediate assistance. I am so proud of Jordan for her strength as a breastfeeding mother and for Amanda for her quick action. If you are struggling with breastfeeding don't hesitate to reach out. You can find Amanda's information as well as the rest of the network members here."

How You Can Help

I have a favor to ask of you, my readers...head over to the Love What Matters blog and Facebook (links below) and share some love and encouragement for Jordan, Lucy and for Amanda of The Grateful Moms Doula! Then share this post far and wide, you may help save a mom who is desperately seeking help with breastfeeding...and you may even help save a life!! 


Credit 

A very grateful thank you to Jordan Talley for sharing her story with the world and for allowing excerpts to be shared here on the My Sunshine Birth Services blog. Please visit the link below to read Jordan's story in its entirety and to see more photos of Lucy.