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Episode 112: Mom Journey: Embracing the Realities of Breastfeeding with Tongue Tie

, June 21, 2023

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Jacqueline Kincer  0:37  

Welcome back to the Breastfeeding Talk Podcast. I’m your host Jacqueline Kincer. And on today’s episode, I am bringing you a mom journey. Haven’t done one of us in what feels like a little while but definitely wanted to bring this special guest on the show we have Melissa Arntt who is soon to be mom of three. In fact, maybe even by the time this podcast episode is live, she will have had her baby and she’s a self-proclaimed chaos coordinator. So by trade, Melissa works in corporate America as an executive assistant supporting three VPS out of Fortune 200 companies, but her true passion is in the field of lactation care. So after her own breastfeeding difficulties, she felt called to help other moms facing challenges on their breastfeeding journeys. She’s a board member at her local chapter of her state’s breastfeeding coalition and a certified breastfeeding specialist. And in the little spare time she has Melissa enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and watching trashy reality TV. I mean, who doesn’t right?


So yeah, Melissa is going to tell stories of breastfeeding her two children and all of the things that she’s learned along the way and what she’s gone through. And one of the reasons why I really want to bring Melissa’s story on here is sometimes when we’ve had these mom journey stories, they’ve been really unique stories and journeys that I know, probably lots of you can still relate to right? Maybe something very niche. But Melissa is not a unique story. Her story is one that I have heard countless times over the last seven years of having my own practice. And I would say over the last 10 years of being a mom and also supporting other moms in a moms group and through organizations like La Leche League. So her story is really sadly incredibly common. And the things that she has learned the things that she has to say, I think no matter if you’ve had, you know, some minor issues, or you’ve had some really major ones, you’ll probably resonate a lot with things that Melissa has to say. So it’s not a sad story by any means. And she just has such a great attitude and has really, so much to offer. So I would encourage you to listen to this episode. And I think that you’ll find just some, you know, kinship here and a feeling of support from everything that she has to share about breastfeeding her two children. So grab a cup of coffee, grab a water bottle, put your air pods in, put your headphones in, connect your phone to your Bluetooth car, audio, whatever it is, and listen to this episode with Melissa.


Jacqueline Kincer  3:11  

Welcome to the show, Melissa, I’m super excited to have you here today. And so grateful to Cait on our team for connecting us. And yeah, I’m really interested in hearing your story of being a mom of three and breastfeeding and all of the things so just you know, say hi to our audience and tell them a little bit about yourself. 


Melissa Arntt  3:35  

Yeah, well, hello, thank you for having me. Super excited to be here. Yeah, a little bit about myself. I am assumed to be a mom of three, I’m actually do and about three-ish weeks. So yeah, the countdown is on. It’s flown by the third time. Right now I’m working as an executive assistant at a Fortune 200 company. And when I have some spare time, I also am volunteering at my local Idaho breastfeeding coalition chapter. And I serve as the education director right now, which really just means I’m writing newsletters with some fun information and kind of doing spotlights each month. Yeah, I’m married. And my oldest will be four in September. So stuff I feel like I’ve got it under control and other stuff. I’m like, oh, each stage brings a new kind of thing, your challenge phase. So kind of rolling with the punches in that regard. But yeah, super excited to tell my story. 


Jacqueline Kincer  4:39  

Oh, absolutely. And I love when moms like yourself, get really passionate about lactation and breastfeeding support. Sadly, usually because you went through something difficult, but now you’re out there trying to do some great work to support other families. So yeah, thank you so much for doing that with your locals. After because it’s greatly needed. 


Melissa Arntt  5:02  

Yeah, for sure. Oh, and I guess the other thing I forgot to mention, you know, as we dive into kind of my breastfeeding journey from the start, I did end up becoming a certified breastfeeding specialist last year, just because I felt compelled to, again, I want to help moms in a similar situation and share that information more broadly. Feel like I don’t know, at least my experience. Everybody said breastfeeding was going to be hard. And you know, you hear it all the stories afterward. But then you’re like, Well, what do I do? Where are there resources? Where do I go? So that’s kind of where I wanted to plug myself in? 


Jacqueline Kincer  5:40  

Yeah. Oh, no, absolutely. And yeah, talking about difficult experiences, I’d love to, you know, began maybe just chronologically with your first child. And, you know, did you know, when you were pregnant, you know, like, do you want to breastfeed? Did you not? Do you have strong feelings about it? I’m always curious. For people, you know, did you take a breastfeeding class, things like that? 


Melissa Arntt  6:04  

Yeah. So um, breastfeeding was something that I’ve always wanted to do, it was actually something that what I grew up in a house, my my mom breastfed. So I have two younger sisters. And I actually remember her breastfeeding my youngest sister who’s about five years younger than me. And there’s photos, my mom actually has a photo of breastfeeding me. And this is like, early 1990s. So I thought that was pretty cool. So that was always something that I wanted to do. But I always had in my mind, I was going to do it like six months, and then I would be good. Now that has that evolved over time. So in preparation for my first, my husband and I tagged along with me, and we went to a hospital breastfeeding class. And I think it was about two hours long on a Friday night or something with a bunch of other new parents, or soon to be new parents. And I remember feeling really overwhelmed with the information, but also getting the sense from that class, like, Oh, you do this, you do that. And then it all worked out. In the end, there wasn’t a lot of focus on maybe some of the challenges you could run into, it was more of like the mechanical aspect of breastfeeding. And I also then just figured, well, you know, somebody in the hospital is probably going to help me and I don’t ever recall my mom ever saying, I had all these problems breastfeeding, the three of you. So I also didn’t think that I was going to run into a lot of issues. But the day that I had my daughter was the early September morning, and I went to do that first Latch with her in that golden hour period, you know, that everybody says that you want to try to aim for. And I remember thinking, okay, the, this is not going to be as easy as I thought my daughter was pretty sleepy, which is kind of typical. And she she was not in so that was harder to like, kind of wake her. There, the nurses were giving me tips, the hospital lactation consultant came in and gave me tips on how to kind of stimulate her a little bit more. So we did all those things. And, you know, I tried a few times, yeah, they’re very, they were very, very strict with me about you got to do this every two to three hours. Now, I’m going to just back up a little bit and give you some context about myself. I’m very type A, because this will this will add to kind of, they’ll still add some color to the story. I’m very type A and that time I was very like by the book, like this is how it’s supposed to be. So if somebody is telling me that I need to feed my baby every two to three hours, that means I need to stay in this window not really paying attention very much or teaching on like feeding cues or hunger cues or anything like that was like Well, regardless, two to three hours, that’s what I have to do. So I stuck with that. And it was probably she was probably like 12 hours old at that point and things started to really hu


And so I just we we did all the repositioning and all the things and I every I got to the point where the especially on my left side, it was like becoming unbearable to even have her latch on and I think the best way I can describe it is like it felt like a cat just laughing at a nipple like a cat’s tongue. Like very this is a very scratchy it was she was more she was like licking more than anything and then when she wasn’t doing that she was chomping a lot so um, hospital lactation came in it was the same thing. Well, you know, we’ve repositioned her she looks like she’s in a good spot. And the latch from the outside looks good, which I got told a lot but I said it doesn’t feel right. Like this hurts really bad. And then it was kind of dismissed. You know the next day, it was the same thing. And I got to the point where things were starting to bleed now and we’re getting very, very uncomfortable. And it was like, Well, you know, you’re not your nipples have never been through something like this, right? Like, okay, these are the things that I’m being told by the professionals in the hospital, including my OB. So one night nurse took a lot of pity on me. And she was like, well, here’s a nipple shield. And that should help that’ll reduce some of that contact. But she didn’t size me and she didn’t explain how to use it. So here I am just like, What do I do? 


So I just like figured it out the best that I could, I think I might have even Googled something. And I just went with that. And I ended up having to just use the nipple shield exclusively after that, because things just progressively got worse over time. But because I was dismissed so much by you know, the powers that be, I just figured, well, maybe this is the way it’s supposed to be. I don’t know. So over time, you know, we went home. The days rolled into weeks and months. And I was finding myself constantly nursing my daughter, like marathon sessions, 45 minutes to an hour, and she was very colicky cried all the time, never was satisfied after a session. So I’d probably go like an hour of having her at the breast. And then she would come off for 30 minutes and then want to go back on. And my husband at one point because I was sticking to that like two hour went up like no, she has to go two hours, my husband’s like, you should just follow what she’s doing, which I find very interesting, because he did not grow up in a family that was very breastfeeding friendly. And so but he always was the voice of reason looking back, like, you kind of need to like be a little bit more in tune with your intuition. So that went on for the entire duration of my maternity leave. And I eventually went back to work and I started pumping. And shockingly, during this whole thing. I never had an issue with my supply. So that was never something I was concerned about. But I was like I don’t I got started to get to the point where I was like, I don’t think this should be taking an hour to feed my three and a half, four month old we had also been going through some like I had thrush I was diagnosed with thrush at one point. 


I totally had thrush two more times after that she persistently had this like white tongue, which you know, and I had pain on top of that, because my nipples were just ripped to shreds. So is this is this where we can do like a spoiler alert. It wasn’t. It wasn’t Thrash. She wasn’t threat, we’ll get there. But we’re getting close to that point. So she was gaining weight really consistently up until two months, her two-month appointment. And then of course, you know, that spreads out to that two months kind of occurrence. And we went in for her four-month appointment. And that’s when our doctor was her pediatrician was very concerned. She’s like, she’s only gained two ounces in the last two months, which was like, it still makes me emotional, actually. Because I was like, Oh my gosh, I’ve been doing all these things, thinking that I’m doing the right thing. I’ve been feeding her constantly, which is what I had told the pediatrician. I’m like, I don’t know what else to do. And she was like, well, we’re gonna have to supplement. And really the only recommendation she had given me at that time was formula. Literally, she walked out of the room came back with a Cana formula was like here, I want you to start adding this into her. Her feeding routine. Didn’t tell me how much I needed to give her for how long I had no instructions. And it was at that moment after leaving that appointment where I was like, Okay, I am taking matters into my own hands now. So coincidentally, at the same time, my sister or my middle sister had just had my niece like a month and a half prior. And she had I I texted her I was like, Hey, are you experiencing any of these things? 


She was like, Yeah, actually I am. And I went to our hospital lactation consultant, and she actually referred me out to an EMT in the Portland area. So I actually grew up in Oregon on the Oregon coast. I live in Idaho now. So she had seen you know, she was at a hospital in Oregon and got referred to Dr. Harry in the Portland area who is you know, pretty well renowned. In terms of 10 ties and lip ties and things like that. That hospital lactation consultant pretty much took an inventory of the symptoms that they were having him or she was like, Yeah, this is the best person for you to see. She went and saw him he did an assessment said yep, this baby has a tongue in the lip tie. And they went and did the release and the rest is history. And I was like, I kid you not my son stir told me this was like an entire world opened. And I’d also had a conversation with my mom the same day, my mom was a nurse. And she, she was like, you know, you can get second, third, fourth, fifth opinions. Like, you don’t have to take what your doctor says at face value. You’re allowed to go out and, and get other opinions from other people like, what’s the worst is gonna happen, they tell you the same thing. And then you just end up doing what, you know, they both recommend, or they could say something else, and you can kind of weigh those decisions. 


So this is when things kind of really turned around for me. So I started Googling all about tongue ties and lift ties. And I’m like, okay, yeah, there is somebody locally, who is very familiar with these things. And I called and made an appointment. I actually got in, I think, the next day with Melanie Hedstrom, who has been on this podcast before, and Melanie, I went to that appointment, and Melanie was like, Yeah, she did her assessment. And she was like, actually, she didn’t even need to see us. Based off the symptoms I had given. She’s like, I’ve seen this enough, like, this sounds like a tongue tie. But I’ll have you come in, I’ll do the formal oral assessment and get you know, all your history. We did that. And sure enough, she was like, Yep it was baby is pretty restricted. And so that was my daughter was four and a half months old. Around that time, we then made the, the appointment, and I was willing to try anything at this point. I was so desperate, I was very, very close to like completely throwing in the towel with breastfeeding. And so I said, Well, you know, if this release doesn’t work, then I guess we’ll just go from there. So we had scheduled her for a release, I think two weeks later. And we she ended up doing a tongue and lip tie, release. And it was that first latch after the release, it was night and day difference. Like I had had pain the entire four and half, five months period breastfeeding her and that first latch, even though she was you know, numbed up and everything. I was textbook, I was like, This is what it’s supposed to be like I could not believe like what was happening. 


And, you know, I’ll talk about this a little bit too, because I had a similar experience with my son that she we also did body work with this as well. But otherwise she like took that release was all she needed. And we did that. And I think I supplemented with my own breast milk for a period of time, just because we were trying to work on getting her back up to week she was teeny like she weighed nine pounds at four months old. But within like I think it was a month or two. She was back on her curve and gaining beautifully. And we never had I went on to breastfeed her until I got pregnant with my son. And then she weaned herself off because my supply probably dried up. No, that’s my first experience with breastfeeding. And that’s like kind of the route. She is the reason why I wanted to get involved in and helping other moms supporting other moms that, you know, five months was very trying and very emotional. And I questioned myself a lot whether I was doing the right thing and the wrong thing. Ultimately, I felt like I made the right choice. But again, it was like there was a lot of having to go on my own to seek out help, because our hospital system just at the time. Like I said she’s going to be foreign September just wasn’t nobody even suggested any sort of oral restriction was like, well, and they probably didn’t do an oral exam. Either. They did it. Yeah. Like I said, the, you know, the hospital lactation consultants like, well, the latch looks fine. And like, well, I’m telling you, it hurts, which that’s more important than what it looks like on the outside. 


Jacqueline Kincer  19:07  

Oh, yeah. So I’ve literally said those words. Yeah. And, you know, I think what’s important about your story is that this is the same story I’ve heard with, you know, a few little nuanced changes about maybe a nipple shield or thrush from most of my clients over the years. And that’s super sad, because it is a long time to keep hearing the same story, but also, like you did all the quote unquote, right things, right. You took the prenatal class, you, you know, had this intention to breastfeed you even came from a family or breastfeeding was normalized and you were like, Yeah, I can do this. My mom did this. I’ve seen my mom do it. And then you have a lactation consultant in the hospital, like, ideal scenario, and all this stuff gets missed. And I think that’s what’s really hard is when, you know, that’s the majority of moms that we see where they finally, you know, have to take things into their own hands, like you said, right? 


They find someone like Melanie like myself, right that, you know, they get that support, they finally get this addressed. But there’s a whole other group of moms out there that we tend to hear from mostly on social media, where they’re like, Well, I’ve tried all the things, I’ve seen a lactation consultant, and it didn’t make a difference. And I’m going, Yeah, I never said that seeing any lactation consultants was going to work or, like, just because you took a class doesn’t mean that that was what was going to help or like, because it’s also different, and we don’t have a crystal ball. And maybe you could have had a baby that you didn’t have those challenges, right. So it’s like really tough. How do we, like how do we prepare moms for, you know, what they need to be prepared for, but we also don’t want to scare them out of breastfeeding. So it’s like, it’s tricky, you know, and I find there’s like, anger on the other side of it, where you get to this, like, how come no one told me? Did you ever experience that? 


Melissa Arntt  21:04  

Yeah, I and I think I actually felt that way, too, at one point when I was in a really bad spot, because like I said, I had a baby who was colicky wouldn’t sleep, she was miserable. And now looking. Hindsight is 2020. I know why now, but that obviously took quite a burden on me as well. And I I remember being very frustrated, getting back from maternity leave. And I worked with all women at the time. Very, very small team. And I’m like, why didn’t you guys tell me that this is how it could be. They’re like, well, we didn’t want to scare you. Like, I’d rather you be honest. Like you don’t have to sugarcoat things. But I’m, like, be a little upfront and honest. Because it was only after I had started sharing what was going on at that time. They were like, well, yeah, I had some similar issues, like what have been nice. I mean, it’s hard to know what you don’t know, before you have your first baby, right? But at the same time, it’s like, Hey, this is a possibility, like something to look out for. Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gonna happen to you. But that’s all I wanted. Exactly. I know we want Yeah, it’s like, we’re encouraging breastfeeding, but to the detriment of moms, no, needing to know what to expect? Like, if we do paint the worst case scenario, and it doesn’t happen for you, then that’s like a huge win, right? Like, it’s not, you’re not going to be deterred. Because you already said, I’m going to do it. And then you’re like, Oh, why didn’t have all those problems? Lucky me. Like, you’d be outcome is only good. And if you weren’t prepared for those problems, you’re like, Well, hey, I’m so glad someone told me about this. Yeah, I did. I think it was probably like, right, she was probably eight to 10 months old. So it was four or five months after the release. I hadn’t shared anything on my personal social media with anybody. 


Obviously, my family and my friends knew kind of what we ended up doing the minute. So I decided I felt compelled one day, I was like, you know, I sort of feel like I should share that story. And the number of people who, you know, I’ve met over the years, maybe I’m not as close with them, or they live too far away that the number of moms who came out and like messaged me, after I’d shared they were like, Wow, thank you for like sharing such a personal story and experience, like I had a similar situation happened, like, this is what we need. We need community and support. And we should feel comfortable coming to other people and saying, Hey, like I, even in the moment, because I even I didn’t feel at the time that I could go to somebody, or I don’t even think I knew anybody who was kind of pregnant around the same time as me, but I didn’t have anybody could go to and say hey, is this normal? Or what did you do for X, Y and Z? Because like, yeah, like you’d said earlier? My story isn’t unique. And I know that. Yeah, you kind of change a few of the details, but it’s like copy paste, probably, to a good majority of women. So yeah, I just wanted to share that story in it. And the outpouring of comments and and support I got after that was like, wow, this is um, like, light bulb. This is like my soapbox now. 


Jacqueline Kincer  24:15  

Yeah. Yeah. Well, and then so you’ve learned so much, right? You’ve connected with other moms who have been there and you’re realizing all of this stuff, and then you’re pregnant with your second. Yeah. So your daughter wields like, obviously, you’re much more prepared this time around, but I’d love to hear how that started out. Because I know that everything is different. But yes, sometimes the baby is different. 


Melissa Arntt  24:42  

I know exactly. I again, type a person over here. I thought I had it all figured out. What wasn’t. So I did breastfeed my daughter for a period of time while I was pregnant. And I did find that I was one of those people who ended up with a nursing aversion a while pregnant. It’s just not something that I thought that I was going to experience. So that was surprised number one. So I had to put boundaries at the time on the nursing session. So it was probably a little bit of those boundaries plus, like, my pregnancy can continued my supply started to, you know, go down the tubes in preparation for the new baby. But yeah, my daughter pretty much weaned herself at the two year mark. And so my daughter was born in September, my son was born in November. So I had a little bit of time to my body back to myself, sort of, again, I knew what to expect. I’m like, it’s pretty I’m like, I did my research, I’m like, it’s pretty certain that this baby is also going to be tied in some regard. I reached out to Melanie, I said, Hey, this is my due date, which was the week of Thanksgiving not ideal. I had also decided on this pregnancy that I was gonna have a home birth. So that I think this is also important to the story because my experience with like preparing for breastfeeding was slightly different than it was when I had my the traditional OB care. Again, I didn’t feel like I needed like a, like a serious breastfeeding class because I knew I pretty much had it sorted out. However, I had a pretty good idea in my head, okay, well, this baby is tied, then we’re going to do the release, blah, blah, blah. And we’re all going to be good and I will have any problems and we’ll be smooth sailing right out the gate. So with arm the mid, the Midwest senator that I go to at 37 weeks which is actually the appointment I have today to they do an hour long breastfeeding kind of consultation class, if you want to call it that, just one on one with their in house person. 


And that so they can do an intake of the history get your previous experience or challenges and kind of start to formulate care plan for you. And so I did that was feeling really good. The gal knew that I had to tie baby last time chances were pretty high there was gonna have another one, she would come out at like the 24 hour mark, do the you know after baby’s born, do the assessment. Any questions I had, you know, she was on call. However, I had a backup plan and Melanie to because I have a I have a relationship already with her. So I felt comfortable. And we you know, are pretty close. So have my son at home like planned, it was a bit unassisted became a little he came a little fast, a little too fast for the midwife to get there. But, you know, once we get sent as delivered and everything, and then we get into that golden hour period again, I’m like, Okay, I’m ready to go. And so I go to do the first Latch with him. And I’m like, No, something’s not right. He was just slip slide and everywhere. And you know, yeah, give a little grace to the new babies. But I sat there for probably 15 to 30 minutes just trying to get him last time it was I was positioning him in all different ways and just wasn’t happening. So like, Okay, well, I’ll ditch the left side, and I’ll try the right side. So he was able to latch on the right side. But I wouldn’t, it wasn’t perfect. It was it was gonna do the job. But it was like, it could be better. And so our midwives at our center, they are trained in doing you know, just that quick oral assessment. They don’t get to say they don’t have the power to say yes or no, but it’s like, you know, it’s likely a tie. And so after I finished the feeding with him, they went and checked. And sure enough, he actually had a posterior tie, which my daughter didn’t, hers was very anterior, it was very obvious it had that very, you know, textbook like string underneath the tongue. If you just happen to look in his mouth, and you didn’t know what you’re looking for, you think, Oh, he’s fine. 


He also had a lip tie that I knew was pretty obvious, even like when I was pregnant with him, because his little lip was curled down. You could see that in the ultrasound. And when he came out, it was like, Oh, that thing is that thing’s taut. And so he had a lot of tension up on his upper lip. And so I messaged Melanie, probably a couple hours after they said yeah, I’m fairly certain that we have another tight baby here. I’m going to kind of just go with the flow until you can come out and she’s like, Okay, well, you need to start pumping on the left side because if you keep trying and he can’t latch then you gotta keep the supply going on that side. So I did that. So I think I started pumping like within 24 hours solely on my left and I would try every time to get him on that side. But it just wasn’t happening. She came out, did the oral assessment. And again, she was like, Yeah, I’ll refer you out, we’ll get a release scheduled. And I was like, Cool, okay, this is like, I’m like, way ahead of the game this time, which I was feeling very confident about. She’s like, these are the things you need to do just keep pumping left side, again, you want to keep trying to put him on that side, just to see if he gets familiar and doesn’t, you know, get a preference or whatever. So I did that I was solid. And I think it was probably like, he was three or four weeks old. No, actually, he was probably two and a half weeks. So we went in to go do his two week appointment, he was gaining weight very steadily, until he got weighed at the two week appointment. And it was like, Oh, you’ve lost weight since birth, like Well, good thing, because I actually have the release scheduled today, this afternoon. And so we went in, and we did it. And he comes out the release, and he was pretty numbed up and I try again, to get him latch, he was very patient, but he just must have been a combination of just what had you know, the release that just happened plus, like trying to figure out this new mouth situation, but we tried for quite a while to get him to latch. And Melanie was like, you know, maybe he just needs a little bit of break here. They eaten like just before, too. So we weren’t worried about like him not getting a feeding in or something. So when we got home and things kind of settled down, and I was in a nice quiet place with just the two of us, I was able to get him to latch again. And onto the left side too. But things still weren’t perfect. And I and I had this night and day difference with my daughter. 


And that’s what I expected this time. And that was not the case with him. I was like something, it’s just still slightly off. We probably could have done that, but probably would have caused issues at some point. So you know, we were doing body work, I had him going to the chiropractor, and I was doing all the rhythmic exercises and things, all the oral exercises. And it was probably a month after the release. And I’m like, it just is not too. It just isn’t right where it needs to be. And he had started to get a little bit of, like head preference, like he would tilt his head to one side. It wasn’t like dramatic or anything but like, Okay, well, we’ve tried Cairo’s done a little bit of CST like, well, I guess we can try physical therapy, why not? So we did that. I incorporated that in I mean, this is like a full time job. And but all the while I’m at home, also with my two year old. So trying to balance all this stuff in sorted out. And I remember coming into what I think was the second to last like postop check in with Melania. And I’m like, I just feel like we’re not quite where we need to be. And she feels like you know, some babies have just more tension that that has to be worked through than others. And that is like the tipping point. It’s like, once you work through that tension, then it’s like, okay, we turn the corner and things are good. Just like you just need to be, keep being consistent doing what you’re doing. And the you know, if you’re still not seeing improvement, then you can come back or whatever. So I say pretty consistent. And it took probably two to four months after that release for me to be like, Yes, this is how the latch should be. He was just so tense. And I think part of that was because of his very he very, very fast birth.


Melissa Arntt  33:36  

He and it’s particularly because like being on the left side. I think it was a right tension issue. So I had to do a lot it usually is it’s Yeah, babies that Kayla from the left have tension on their right and vice versa. Yeah. And you could just see it just looking at him to I remember thinking he was probably six weeks old. And I’m like, you can already hold your head up. That’s nuts. Well, now looking back, I’m like, Oh, well, that’s yeah, it’s all because you’re some like super baby or something. And that’s tension. He and his shoulders were always high. And he was just this rigid little guy and it took a while it took a lot of hands on work to get him to go, you know, okay, I can finally relax. And when that happened, it was great. It was like the latch was perfect. And they went on to breastfeed him until he self weaned because I got pregnant again. So I went a full year breastfeeding him, probably 13 months. And so now being pregnant with this third baby, being about three weeks out, like okay, I need to be open to anything. I know what my resources are, and what I need to do, but I also need to drop lower my expectations of what this can look like and just that sort of roll more with the punches.


Melissa Arntt  35:03  

Because like I said, type A, I can get very, very like stuck on? Well, it has to be, you know, xy and z has to move, one, two and three. And that’s not the reality of like we talked about every baby is different, your baby’s going to react differently. And so I am like, okay, low expectations. So I don’t get myself stressed out about things. Like, I feel like I’m not doing something I should be doing and just call on support system when I need it. So yeah, because I’m pretty aware that I’m probably going to have another type baby. So odds are pretty high ever in your favor. Yeah. So I, again, I have my you know, it’s basically more of a checklist in place instead of like this entire like, plan. You know, if this happens, then I need to do this. And if this happens, then I need to do this and kind of roll with it that way. So yeah, that’s, that’s kind of my experience. Like I said, I’ll be meeting with the lactation consultant today to talk about this birth, this baby and kind of my goals for breastfeeding. But I very open mind on breastfeeding this baby going forward. 


Jacqueline Kincer  36:22  

Yeah. Oh, I love that. Well, it sounds like there are all these logistical things that you’ve had to go through and manage is, you know, part of these experiences of breastfeeding your two children so far, but you’ve gone through a big shift for yourself, right? Like, you’re probably still a type A personality and other areas of life. But with breastfeeding, you’re like, Okay, pull me once. Right. Yeah. Like, the Third time’s a charm. And, yeah, unfortunately, probably this baby will be tied. I have not seen that happen where I, you know, I’ve had plans, you know, we’re on third babies, right. I’ve seen all of them. And they’re still tired. But I think it really is, like that resetting of expectations, and then having the support already in place and knowing how to access it. That makes it go a lot better. Yeah. So you’re doing what you need to be doing to be really well set up this time around. 


Melissa Arntt  37:26  

Yeah, it only took me three times It was like seven times. That’s true. No, that’s true. Yeah. So yeah, I’m looking forward to going into this experience. Because I am going to be more gentle on myself. And I keep telling myself that it’s like, there, there’s only so much I can control. And yeah, like you said, just calling on the support system and knowing which resources to go to. And then yeah, being realistic about what a release post-release will look like. And being gentle. During that period.


Jacqueline Kincer  38:10  

Yes. Seriously, be be so gentle with yourself. You really, you know, you really don’t know. And I think, you know, it is it is hard to prepare for every possible eventuality, right. Like just, I try to tell people like the most important thing is to know, like, how to know when things are not going well, right. Like, with your first you were saying how you know, the pain was sort of normalized while your couples have never done this before? Okay, yeah. But like, why are they bleeding? That doesn’t seem normal. Like, we know that a laceration that bleeds anywhere else on our bodies is usually a problem. Maybe one that just requires a bandaid, but we’re probably going to do something about it. Why are we leaving these nipples bleeding? I don’t get it. But you’re told that by a medical professional, so you’re like, Okay, well, so if you come into this going, Okay, I know what’s supposed to happen and what’s not supposed to happen when they’re not supposed to happen, things come up. Now I know where to go to get those addressed, right? Like if you can just do that because I think if we try to like cram it all in into a two hour class or which would be impossible, but like, if you’re trying to go well what if I need an apple shield? Okay, let me have that. What if I need that what? Like, maybe you’re not gonna need any of that and maybe you’re relying too much on all the things so I think that can be hard for type A people but now you know, you’re you’re gonna have this baby so we might have to do like a part two and hear how that story goes. Right away. Yeah, I’ll probably need a little bit of time because yeah, my hands are gonna be full juggling all the fun release for like, literally, with kids. Yeah, kids. Yeah. So yes, but you know, you’re you’re on your local chapter. Um, of your state’s breastfeeding coalition, your certified breastfeeding specialist. Like from that perspective, and your perspective of everything you’ve gone to what, what is some of the best advice you would give to expecting parents out there? 


Melissa Arntt  40:14  

I, I’ve, this was my kind of my mantra after I had my daughter, it’s like, trust your gut, and your baby will never leave you, like lead you astray. think there was a point where I knew something wasn’t right, and didn’t match up to what I was being told. And I didn’t trust myself enough to say, Yeah, I’m onto something, what I feel is valid and important. And if I’m not being heard, then it’s okay to go elsewhere. Your which is just a piggyback off of what my mom said to me. She’s like, you’re allowed to get opinions from other people. There’s, you’re not legally there. This isn’t your mom or your dad.


Melissa Arntt  41:05  

Your doctor is working for you, not the other way around your your lactation consultant is working for you and not the other way around. You’re paying these people for service. And if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right. And so you need to kind of sit with yourself and kind of dig deep and figure out why that might be. I think that’s my biggest piece of advice, a biggest takeaway I took from this whole thing, because I would have saved myself so much time and pain and struggle. Had I trusted myself, you know, after that first lactation consultant was like, well, the latch looks okay. And I said, Well, does it feel that way? Just being in that dismissed consistently, but knowing like, this doesn’t, I don’t, this doesn’t feel right, this something’s not right here. And so yeah, that’s, that’s usually what I share with new moms. And I also have gotten to the point to where I did share my story, again, with my son, and I have friends who come to me now who are pregnant or just had their baby. And they’re like, they’ll explain all these things to me about what’s going on, not sure what to do. And my second piece of advice is, because this for some reason, I think it’s I don’t know what it is. But there’s a disconnect. And I think it has to do with kind of how our system is structured. They’re like, Well, my pediatrician said, everything was fine. And I’m like, well, your pediatrician also isn’t, it’s highly unlikely that your pediatrician is an ibclc, or has done extensive training and lactation. So I’m like, You need to go see an ibclc.


Melissa Arntt  42:54  

Preferably somebody who’s in private practice, just because they have more flexibility, and they see a broader range of issues and ages of babies. So that’s usually my second piece. It’s like, okay, that’s great. You’re sharing this with me, and you feel comfortable, and I am a safe place for you to do that. But I am not the right person for you. You really need to get in front of somebody who can do a full assessment of what’s going on, because it’s I know, you probably run into this on your page. But you can’t give personalized advice over text or there’s so many so much nuance and context that goes into somebody’s situation that it’s really hard to say one thing or another.


Melissa Arntt  43:47  

Like, I’m happy to point you to somebody in your area, but you really need to be seen and like right away. And I I wish people felt comfortable with that too. Because I feel like sometimes they get a little pushback, and I don’t know if that’s something you experienced too. But were they like, well, I don’t have the time for that or something. It’s like, okay, but your situation isn’t going to improve if you don’t get your individualized care. It’s like you wouldn’t just walk up to some stranger on the street and start asking them all your very specific heart issues or you wouldn’t see a heart doctor for a bladder issue or vice versa. It’s kind of like you really need to see somebody who’s skilled and trained in this very specific area. And they really, they’re gonna be able to give you their expertise and advice. And I mean, maybe it’s not a good fit. You’re welcome to go get a second opinion, too. It’s the same thing. It’s like, we should feel comfortable enough to have this conversation and not feel like we’re tied down to one thing. 


Jacqueline Kincer  44:54  

It’s so true. It’s so true. I mean, yeah, people are so resistant to book an appointment. It’s like one of the things where like, I have not raised our prices in a while, despite, I have many colleagues out there who are charging way more than I am. So who’s listening like, okay? And there are many lactation consultants that are only doing virtual appointments, I’ve transitioned to that, because I have real legitimate medical reasons for that. But others have done it just because they like working from home and not having to go into an office or travel to see you. And it’s, you know, this, this resistance of just, why won’t you book the appointment. And you know, it’s multifaceted. But a big thing that I don’t think general public has caught on to and even lactation consultants that I see is there’s this undertone that’s always been there when it comes to women’s health. And it’s like that, you know, the system institutionally is telling you, without telling you that your problems are not something that they’re good at solving, and they’re not really there to support you. And it’s been so internalized that women think, well, I can just DIY this, why can’t I just watch the YouTube video on latching? Why can’t I just read the blog about all the right things to eat and drink from a milk supply? Why can’t I just follow the right account on social media, and I will implement that myself and I will fix things. You know, you do not have to do everything on your own. It drives me nuts that women continue to put themselves in these positions, and not ask for help. And it’s not just with breastfeeding, it’s with, you know, just mothering in general, like you need a break too. 


And yeah, you absolutely deserve someone else to take care of that baby or child while you go and do something for yourself there. You know, there’s all these, all these things like that. And it’s just, it’s his choice that I wish more women would see that you’re choosing this to happen to you, you’re choosing to eliminate options of support from your own life. And I understand why but you need to realize that that’s something you’ve internalized from outside of yourself from a patriarchal system. And I’m not trying to be all radical and woke over here, but like, true, it’s true. Right? If the doctor dismisses you, and you feel like, well, I already know what’s gonna happen, the doctor is gonna dismiss me, so why even go? And it’s the same thing with our periods? Like, I mean, how often are in listings were really, really bad. You know, we’re just suffering and in silence, and later, years later, you’re going Oh, that wasn’t my cycle wasn’t supposed to be like that. No, but you’ve never probably made the effort to really research an OB that would be skilled in that particular thing. You’ve just gone and gotten your well woman check every three years now. Or, you know, you’ve gotten your pregnancy exam when you’re not on a period, right, like so, you know, all these things. It just breastfeeding is not immune to it, unfortunately. And I just, I wish, I’m like, there are lactation consultants out there like we do we do, because we really want to help because we’ve been there too. So much of the time. Like, I think you’re hard pressed to find many other professions like that. So like, we will welcome you with open arms, please. Like combs. Yes. Yeah, for sure. And yeah, like you said, there, there’s a lot of different factors that may influence somebody not reaching out for help. Maybe that’s financial reasons, or their insurance company doesn’t cover, which was an experience I’ve had both times, I’ve had to pay mostly out of pocket for a lot of the stuff. So I understand my privilege from that point of view. But again, there are other, you know, like, there’s other lactation consultants who can work around that or what have you. And yeah, I think sometimes, especially in those, yeah, we’re not, we’re not going to advertise for your discount services, guys. Because if we do those who don’t ask for that, sorry, we’ll add that caveat. I know, right? Like, also, it depends on how much knowledge you have around insurance or what your provider does. I have the queen of getting health insurance companies to pay things. It’s can be really hard work, sometimes hard work and labor that you don’t want to do. But yeah, there’s absolutely resources outside of that, that can be available to people too. So 


Melissa Arntt  49:08  

I also saw it kind of a neat idea. It’s like, you know, having on a registry, for example, like saying, hey, I want a portion of it, maybe you’re willing to donate some money. So I have money to use for lactation services or something if you know, in advance that something isn’t financially you’re going to be viable, which I thought was pretty cool. Like, oh, well, yeah. And registries I think are pretty flexible in that regard. So it’s a neat idea. Yeah, I definitely I sometimes I have to go and stay away from the support groups, because I see that it’s the same people over and over again posting about things and I remember one time I responded back to this gal and I’m like, I have seen you post in here quite a bit about the same issue. And you know, I just encouraged If you can to go in and see an ibclc, because from what I’ve read, it’s not improving and you’re struggling. And it might, you might just need extra help. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I think it was a low perceived low supply situation. Like, oh, that’s definitely one thing you do want to go be seen for? Because it could be. It’s probably not likely it’s low supply. It’s whatever’s happening. Behind the scenes, but yeah, yeah. 


Jacqueline Kincer  50:34  

Oh, no, absolutely. I know. It’s, yeah, I just, it’s hard. It’s really hard. And, you know, I too, struggled. I mean, I, I saw a pediatrician who was an ibclc with my first and I still gotten kind of the same answers as you like, yeah, everything looks good. Why does it hurt, then, you know, and I would encourage people to, you know, one, like, listen to your provider, like, believe what they are telling you in terms of, if they are telling you that they don’t have the skill set to do more for you, you should believe them. You should really listen to that and go, Okay, what you’re telling me is that you don’t know how to help me. Great. I need to find someone who can. And so when you know, if they can’t give you a why, well, why does it hurt? Well, because it’ll just hurt in the beginning. Okay, so then at what point should I expect that pain to go away? Like, unfortunately, it is on us those questions, you know, what happens? If the pain doesn’t go away? Why would it not go away? Like, these are the questions that I find people don’t ask because it doesn’t occur to them? And probably Mom Brain and yeah, they’re sleep deprived, right? Like, have a partner come with you have a friend, a family member, somebody like who can maybe ask these questions, cuz like you said, your husband ended up being kind of the voice of reason. Yeah. So I always think if you can, like set yourself up with your community around you to support you, and maybe think of those things when your brain is just not going to do it today. 


Melissa Arntt  51:59  

Yeah, I you know, and that’s an interesting point you bring up because I actually didn’t write off or pediatrician I think a lot of people probably would have. But I felt like this was a learning opportunity for her. And so when we were learning together, and she’s come a long way, let me tell you, and it was, was it last summer, the summer before, when I joined my local chapter of my breastfeeding Coalition. We have these, you know, flyers with local resources, lactation resources, and postpartum health resources. And I brought in a stack to her office. And I said, here are all the local options outside of just, I mean, the hospital systems were on there, but there were private practice, lactation consultants on there. And like, here is a stack of flyers, let me know when you need more. And she blew through those, like, super fast. She’s like, I’ve been handing these out like candy. Which was the big deal. Um, and she, she’s come a long way. And she’s like, Yeah, you know, we’ve talked about tongue ties and things. Now, I’m not saying she’s an expert or anything, but I could have easily written her off, and she would have learned nothing. So yes, somehow, in the grand scheme of things, I feel good, like, you know, by me sharing, being very honest with her, and open and saying, Yes, I did these things, because I think sometimes to some people feel uncomfortable telling their pediatrician or their provider, like, yeah, I went ahead, and I did a tongue and lip tie release, because, you know, there’s controversy surrounding it. But I figured, what’s there to lose? I end up having to ghost to somebody else. I mean, when she got fire me, as a patient, I don’t know if my kids is a patient. And that didn’t happen. She was open to what we had to say. And she is what and that’s, that’s all you can ask for? And is she going to go down the rabbit hole? Probably not. But if there’s another mom or parent that comes in with similar issues, she’ll know this time, hey, I can refer you out to so and so. And she’s done that. So that’s been good. It’s been a positive impact. So I 


Jacqueline Kincer  54:19  

yeah, I encourage any family to go and do that, you know, share your positive experience that you’ve had with getting your baby’s ties treated. And that is so important to come back to the pediatrician because that’s how we’ll change their minds. That’s how we’ll eliminate the controversy is, you know, instead of some news blast that they’re signed up for, of pediatricians who like to keep their heads buried in the sand that’s like, oh, here we go. tongue tie treatment is on the rise again. I roll you know, like, if you’re like, This is what happened and they know you and you have that history. And we’re like, yeah, yeah, you were having those issues, and now you’re not and they can clinically see You got an observe that that’s what validates things. Yep. 


Melissa Arntt  55:02  

And that I think that did really drive the point home to her because she had the, the data to back that up like you could see on the growth charts. The moment you know, the period of time after the release and seeing a jump in weight gain and things. So you gave the formula. And I was honest with her afterwards that I never, I never gave her the formula they gave me. And she was like, Oh, wow, like, this is impressive. So yeah, I think it’s important to also go back and report back to your pediatrician. Like I said, She’s come a long way. We’ve had her for off for almost four years now. And I already I brought in my son for his 18 month well child and I’m like, hey, you know, probably gonna have another tide baby. And she’s like, Okay, well, we’ll just keep an eye on the weight. Like, probably going to do another release to like, Alright, sounds good. So yeah, it’s, it’s been nice. That’s been a good positive experience with her. And it’s why we’ve stuck with her because I’m like, you know, what, you’ve, you’ve shown that you’re, you’re open minded, and there’s no judgement here didn’t get like a finger wagging after we did the release or anything. And, yeah, so. 


Jacqueline Kincer  56:21  

Oh, yeah. I love that. Well, I’m so glad you do have this, you know, supportive pediatrician, I’m so glad you have the right resources around you to support you in your upcoming birth. And I just hope everything goes great with your birth and breastfeeding, of course. So yeah, I can’t wait to hear how things go and get an update from you at some point later on. And I’m sure our audience wishes you well. So thank you for being here. It’s just so great for you to share your story and tell it the way that you want to tell it and what you’ve been through. Because I think that other people listen to this and go. Yeah, sounds familiar. Okay, this is the push, I needed to go get my baby checked. And hopefully they will. So thank you, Melissa. 


Melissa Arntt  57:07  

Thank you again, for having me. It was very, it’s fun to share my story. And yeah, I hope we can come back for a part two. 


Jacqueline Kincer  57:14  

Yes, we would love that. So yeah, for everyone listening, make sure you’re subscribed because at some point. Yeah, we’ll definitely love to have you back. So thanks for listening, everyone. We’ll see you next time.

In this episode, Jacqueline is joined by Melissa Arntt, a soon-to-be mom of 3 and a self-proclaimed chaos coordinator. Melissa shares her journey with her children from pregnancy, through delivery, and their breastfeeding journey. Together, they delve into topics like identifying ties and finding the perfect pediatrician for your family’s needs.

Melissa works in corporate America as an executive assistant at a Fortune 200 company, but her true passion is lactation care. After her own breastfeeding difficulties, Melissa felt called to help other moms facing challenges in their breastfeeding journeys. She’s a board member of the local chapter of her state’s breastfeeding coalition and a certified breastfeeding specialist. 


In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Building a trusting relationship with your healthcare providers and seeking second opinions when necessary.
  • Navigating insurance hurdles to ensure access to the necessary breastfeeding care, even if your policy doesn’t cover it.
  • Ways to handle delayed diagnosis of ties and getting treatment for an older baby
  • Preparing during pregnancy for having a baby with oral ties
  • Embracing flexibility and releasing expectations to achieve the desired outcome in your breastfeeding journey.


A glance at this episode:

  • [3:35] Melissa introduces herself and tells about her family life
  • [5:52] How Melissa came to breastfeed and how she prepared for it
  • [19:07] How Melissa coped with being unprepared and undereducated for breastfeeding
  • [24:15] Connecting with a lactation consultant and navigating Melissa’s second breastfeeding journey
  • [36:22] Resetting expectations for a successful breastfeeding journey
  • [38:10] Personal advice from Melissa for expecting parents
  • [44:54] How to seek breastfeeding help and find support


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