I’ve been meaning to write you for weeks now, but I think it’s actually lovely to have had the distance from our last visit to tell you how we are and how grateful I am for you. I wasn’t expecting breastfeeding my baby to come with the challenges it did, especially after a relatively smooth experience with my first. I wasn’t expecting the pain, the tears, the sense of disconnection with my newborn in something that I felt should have been intuitive for us both. The feeling that breastfeeding should have come more naturally is an entirely different discussion. My point, as you already know, is that the hurdles my baby and I faced were hard and real and disorienting. I knew I wanted to exhaust my resources to give my baby and I the best chance to be able to breastfeed for as long as we were able. Again as you know, we saw dentistry for lip and tongue frenectomies, a massage/bodywork specialist, and FOUR lactation consultants before we found you, all before she was one month old.
With all this consulting and intervention we weren’t experiencing change. Your name was given to me and right away I sensed a difference in you even before I met you. Why? Because you took the time to call me last minute when you had a cancellation in an effort to see us sooner. After the entire two hours you spent with us at the initial consult I called my husband in the car and told him for the first time since my baby was born that I felt hopeful about breastfeeding her. We saw you over the course of about 8 weeks and I can’t communicate how grateful I am for how you invested in us.
You’re clearly incredibly knowledgeable but have solid intuition and wisdom. You were respectful of not only me as a human but of my baby as a human. You truly let her lead and you emphasized areas of strength in her that had previously been communicated as crutches to me. You met us where we were and used your obvious expertise to gently guide us. You were patient with the both of us, never minimizing my feelings on the journey and respecting her when she’d communicate something was too much. You encouraged me but also gave me permission to make the ultimate call on next steps. You were honest in your clinical judgement and always willing to share your clinical opinion when asked. I respect you so much. I cried in the car after our last appointment in overwhelm of our journey and out of gratitude for you.
We are doing so great now and we both love the time we spend together each day (and night) nursing. Things aren’t perfect, and I’m still working to meet her where she is, but I’m at peace with it. It works for us. As I’m writing this she is asleep at my breast, content, connected, and fed. I will forever be grateful for you. We can breastfeed for as long as it’s what we’re meant to do because of you. Thank you, Ellen.