top of page

Stacy's Story

Five years ago, my youngest child, Rosie, was born five weeks premature and had to spend 12 days in the NICU. Due to underdeveloped lungs, she was on CPAP and oxygen for four days and received gavage feeding. Despite the challenges, I was determined to breastfeed her, just as I had done with my two older children. Thanks to the incredible support I received, I was able to successfully breastfeed Rosie.


How did providers set me up for success in the NICU?

  • CLC came to my hospital room soon after birth to make sure the pump nipple flange was the right fit so I didn’t injure my nipples

  • Nurses encouraged & supported my efforts to pump & breastfeed

  • CLC put a pump right in Rosie’s NICU room, this was very important because it allowed me to be with her during my limited time at the hospital

  • Encouragement from CLC that bottle feeding & breastfeeding in the NICU would not ruin the possibility of exclusively breastfeeding in the future 

  • My pre-existing relationship with an IBCLC was essential because I felt so vulnerable during that time. I needed someone I trusted and had easy access to so I could ask questions and get guidance.

    • When I felt blocked with breastfeeding because of the feeding schedule & requirements Rosie had to meet, my IBCLC gave me options I could ask for, such as:

      • let her feed on cue instead of on the fixed 3 hour schedule

      • weigh before & after each feeding to check her intake

      • try SNS feeding


The other major contributor to our success was craniosacral therapy. Rosie was just too tired to wake up & nurse for more than 2 min and she couldn’t latch on well. When she was 5 days old a craniosacral therapist came to work with her. After the therapy, Rosie woke up and was more alert than ever. She latched on well and she nursed! My heart almost burst with gratitude and hope! She came home a week later, where we faced different challenges.


I am passionate about breastfeeding, but after about five weeks of pumping and breastfeeding, I was almost ready to quit. I felt so overwhelmed, so tired, and so hopeless, I felt it wouldn’t get easier or better. I worried that she wasn’t getting enough to eat, even though I had SO much milk and she gained weight like a champion. I continually felt like I was failing, even though the results showed otherwise. 


When I reached my breaking point, the continued support of my IBCLC was invaluable. Here’s what she did:

  • provided tips on how to manage my milk supply 

  • acknowledged & validated my struggle

  • supported my decision whether I breastfed or switched to bottle feeding

  • gave me ideas of how to simplify 

    • One of my favorite things she suggested trying was a 24 hour “nursing in” without using bottles to see how it went. It was amazing, Rosie nursed well, maintained her weight gain, and I didn’t have to go back to bottle feeding. 


Food Sensitivities

Things were smooth sailing for a month or so until Rosie consistently had diaper rashes, began having crying/screaming fits, and seemed to have stomach discomfort. I talked to my pediatrician and she recommended cutting dairy and soy. 

I also talked with my IBCLC about how food affects breast milk and she gave me some tips. This interaction & checking in went on for the next 10 months as I navigated several elimination diets to help my daughter. We also did chiropractic and continued craniosacral therapy. 

Eventually we discovered my daughter had histamine intolerance and I switched to a low histamine diet. Besides the emotional upheaval from all the diet changes and a very unhappy & sleepless baby, I started to suffer physically. I lost weight, I got mastitis twice, and a few UTIs. 

My IBCLC reassured me by encouraging me to eat and drink plenty, to do “nursing in” when I thought my milk supply was low, and how to manage mastitis. Once I had my new diet figured out, I was able to gain weight again and feel healthier. Breastfeeding was vital to my daughter’s health. She was very restricted in what she could eat, so breast milk made up a large portion of her calorie intake until she was about two.


During these two years, these are the most important things providers did for me:

  • Supported me in my choices, no matter what they were

    • Took the time to see how I was really doing

  • Recommended other local practitioners, like chiropractors, craniosacral therapy, pediatricians who specialized in gut health, etc.

  • Ease of access to IBCLC- able to text & call for help

    • Gave resources and tips for pumping, bottle feeding, nipple shields, mastitis, food sensitivities with breastfeeding, and weaning

    • Connected me to other moms who were experiencing similar things, this community made a huge difference in my emotional well-being


My IBCLC was INVALUABLE to me during these years. I was able to achieve my goal and support my daughter’s health with her help and guidance. After all the challenges Rosie and I  faced, I was able to breastfeed her for just over 3 years, and I am so grateful.

After my experiences, I started a food blog for low histamine, gluten free & dairy free recipes I’m also a certified life coach, helping moms navigate their food sensitivities, find me @stacysaunderscoaching on IG.


Rosie at the NICU.

Rosie nursing at 1 year old.

Rosie on the day of her “Big Girl Party” to celebrate her weaning. 

bottom of page