I have helped hundreds of mothers and babies learn to breastfeed over the past years. These are excerpts from impromptu emails and messages:
Not sure if you remember but you visited us last summer to help me learn to breast feed my precocious daughter
Just wanted to send a very delayed note of thanks as I think of you often. We are still nursing strong & she’s a thriving & chubby little thing, curious about everything & almost walking!
Your advice & time & care was indispensable & I couldn’t be more grateful! I was in such pain, emotionally & physically & seeing a caring expert & then practicing what you taught us saved my nursing relationship!
Hope all is well & I’m sure you’re busy helping other Mommas!
Thank you again!!
Betsy H. literally changed my life. My daughter and I had an incredibly rough start to our nursing relationship. She was born tongue and lip tied and couldn’t nurse at birth.
Her frenulum was attached clear to the tip of her tongue. Our midwives clipped it very conservatively after birth, but she was still unable to latch. For the first week and a half, I pumped and fed her by syringe every 2 hours.
We were referred by her pediatrician to an ENT specialist at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma. It was clipped again and on the follow up appointment, I was told she would be totally fine to nurse normally.
She could now latch onto the shield, but continued to have difficulty, popping on and off frequently, with milk leaking out the sides of her mouth.
After 6 weeks she began to cry a lot. I knew something was wrong. I felt my milk production was decreasing and she wasn’t getting enough to eat. I was really worried.
Two pediatricians and three lactation consultants told me she was fine, she was gaining and looked healthy and clearly getting enough to eat. The crying was unrelated. My intuition told me otherwise, and I pressed on for answers.
Finally, Betty from La Leche League (LLL) of Tacoma referred us to Betsy. My daughter had just nursed when she arrived and hardly nursed the whole time. By look and feel, Betsy assessed that my daughter was, indeed still tongue tied.
Betsy referred us to Dr. MaryAnn Ohara of Seattle Breastfeeding Medicine right away. My daughter was clipped once more at 2 1/2 months and the day after her third clip, immediately nursed without the shield with no problem.
I can’t tell you how much this has changed everything for us. I’m confident my daughter is getting enough to eat, my milk production is back to normal, and the days of continually carrying and cleaning a nipple shield are no more.
I’m eternally grateful to Betsy for the amazing care and support she gave to my daughter and I. Without her help and willingness to listen, we may not still be breastfeeding now (at 6 months). She is incredibly knowledgable, professional, kind and thorough. If you’re having issues breastfeeding – don’t give up!! An easy nursing relationship is totally possible, and wonderful, with the right support. Thank you Betsy!!!!!
“Your work is a blessing and we appreciate it and you.”
“We are doing really well. I think that one of the most helpful things we took from you was to start her between my breasts and let her bob around for her food. Watching her do that has helped me relax immensely. I feel immensely better about our breastfeeding relationship after your visit. I do think things would have turned out fine if you hadn’t come, but why settle for fine when things can be great? You also helped her dad feel like he could contribute and advise me, and I’m glad that he’s not only included in this part of our relationship, but is actually a valuable resource in terms of noticing my physical comfort and the baby’s positioning.” — a mom in Ballard
Same mom, a few months later:
“It’s been a while, but I just wanted to touch base with you. I wanted to let you know that nursing has worked out wonderfully for S. and me. We were able to stop giving formula at about 2 months, and my supply (or her suck) got strong enough that we no longer have to give her an additional bottle of pumped milk at night. Actually, we never have to give her pumped milk at all except when I work (about 10 hours a week), so my supply is great! I still take supplements and pump right before I go to bed but if I wasn’t bottle feeding her at all, I wouldn’t even need to do that! She is now almost 4 months old and 12 pounds- a tiny girl, but very healthy! Thanks again for the advice and help!”
“I was having trouble nursing my newborn in the days following a c-section, and just when I was feeling very discouraged, Betsy came to my home for a 2-hour lactation consult, and was so amazingly helpful. She was warm and professional, and made me and my husband feel at ease right away. She did a great job of explaining the problem and ways to address to it. By the time she left, my son was latching properly and nursing like a champ!”
From a dad in the Central District, calling with a follow up question nine months after I helped them with their newborn:
“We met nine months ago when you came over to our house… you were amazing. I am sure you’ve heard this before from families you help, but you were phenomenal. You really helped us.” (blushing)
From a new mom in Burien:
“Thank you. If it wasn’t for you I would have stopped nursing. My baby is doing wonderful. He’s definitely growing. Thanks for everything.
A new mom in West Seattle writes:
“Thanks again for rescuing me last weekend. The hands-on care was life-saving and the support absolutely essential to helping me carry on with breastfeeding (and living–I was in despair).
A mother of two writes:
“I called Betsy one afternoon after the birth of my second son. After 9 days of nursing 20 + hours a day (I know – it sounds like I am making it up but no joke – I was trying so hard to make my milk come in). Turns out I am one of the few whose milk takes longer than most other women to come in. She listened and gave me several options and ideas to help. I needed the reassurance that this was going to work. When I hung up the phone – I knew I could do it and that Warren and I would have a long nursing relationship. The next day – the milk flowed and here we are 19 months later still nursing.”
A year ago you met with me and my and my chubby little guy, a few days after after he had his posterior tongue tie and upper lip tie revised. At the time, I was nervous, scared, and apprehensive about what the future held for both of us. You were incredibly kind and caring to both baby and me. We traveled back to Hong Kong a few days later and began our journey of healing. With the one year mark of his surgery just a few days away, I have been doing a lot of looking back…
I am happy to report that with time, revision solved all of our issues. It was the ‘magic wand’ we both wished you had that day. It took time, patience, and a lot of (expensive) cranial sacral therapy, but he transformed into, quite honestly, the happiest baby around. The reflux, gassiness, colic, and resulting poor sleep all resolved. He was able to efficiently transfer milk and could soon go 4 hours in between feeds. I no longer had discomfort or recurrent clogged ducts and my oversupply soon regulated. I began to look forward to each and every time he wanted to nurse. Even the 3am ones. For the first 12 weeks of his life I felt that I was failing him as a mother. I am so thankful that I was able to determine what our issue was and get it resolved. I am also thankful that I had the help of compassionate providers like you along the way.
I am also happy to tell you that we are still nursing at 15 months and I will be allowing him to self wean. It is something I now feel very strongly about for a multitude of reasons. Ties have become a real passion for me and to date, I have helped over 40 mothers get the support and resources they need to have their children assessed by a competent provider. We are now living in Guangzhou, China and I am planning on starting coursework in the fall to work towards a certification in lactation. We saw the same doctor when he revised my tongue tie in December when we were back in the States. He says baby healed wonderfully and we should expect no issues in the future. He has no issues with solid foods and talks up a storm and is on track for his age in terms of sound pronunciations.