Saturday, January 9, 2010

Breastfeeding Woes and Staying Home

First off let me start with...WOW I LOVE MY SON!

I honestly never thought motherhood could be this great...and even then, I wanted to be a mom. Now, I cant even explain in words how much I love being a mom. Everything little thing is amazing. Every little thing is worth it.

Every single diaper change, bath, nap, book reading, talking, is all perfect and amazing.

Here is my one, single, tiny, yet seriously huge.....problem. Breastfeeding.

I wanted to breast feed so bad. Seriously. I went to classes, read books, talked to other successful BF mothers, talked to lactation consultants, bought a pump, bought nursing bras and tank tops. I did it all...I was super prepared for sleepless nights and sore nipples.

But somewhere along the lines it became difficult. But not on my part...not even on my son's was the drs part. Here's where it started....they had me start supplementing when he was 2 days old. They had me continue supplementing until his drs appt at 2 weeks. This is where it fell apart.

I started taking Fenugreek. I kept a 2 liter bottle of water with me at all times. I made sure I ate enough calories. And most importantly...I PUT HIM TO THE BREAST EVERY TIME.

What I hate is the fact that I heard the same thing from everyone...women who breastfed, the lactation consultant with his pedi, the lactation consultant with the health dept, etc. They all said "Put him to the breast." Always offer the breast first. Let him eat, then supplement. You know what started happening? He would latch on, eat a minute, unlatch, cry, latch, unlatch, cry, latch, unlatch, cry...until 30 minutes later and I would give him the supplement. He got nothing from my breast. He was smart enough to know that if he waited long enough he would get the bottle. *SIGH*

When he was about 3-4 weeks old I got a call from a friend of mine from BZ. She had just given birth to her daughter (we're on the same due date club) and she had been exclusively breastfeeding since she was 45 minutes old. I was so jealous. She told me about a supplement she used with her first child called More Milk Plus. I havent taken it...only because I am already taking Fenugreek and it's the main ingredient. She suggested that I give it 2 days. I was leaking and able to express milk with my hand. We knew that my supply was there. 2 days of nothing but breast.

I did it. It didnt work. My son was on my chest literally all day except for diaper changes. No joke. He was never satisfied. He slept for maybe 30 minutes at a time. It was awful. We went back to the bottle.

So where did the problem start? Maybe the fact that I didnt get to breast feed him until he was a few hours old? They rushed him off after I had him to check him and didnt bring him back until he was about 4 hours old. Is it because we didnt have a good latch and the LC with the hospital didnt notice? He would breastfeed for an hour non stop while in the hospital. Was it the bottle? DH and I decided to the bottle once we got home because it took waaaay to long to hook my boob up to the little tube with formula just to breast feed him when it didnt work anyway.

So here are my questions: Did I give up too easily? Is it too late to try again?

Here are my concerns:

#1: I have never gotten more than 1/2 an ounce when I have pumped. This makes me think I have milk, but not enough.

#2: I have never experienced engorgement. NEVER.

#3: I cannot hand express any milk after he has been latched on for just a few minutes.

#4: He only stays on the breast for up to 15 minutes and the very occasional 30 minutes. Usually around 5-10 minutes, though. Then he unlatches and cries and tries to latch back on with a big wide mouth and a bopping head. When he does get latched back on, he's only on for another second and back off again.

#5: Even if it seems he was eating well, when he unlatches he cries and roots around like he is still hungry. If I offer the breast again, we repeat #4.

#6: After what I think was a good breastfeeding, he happily takes 2-4oz of formula. And I'm not talking just takes it...I'm talking no spit up, no falling asleep while eating...he was hungry, and he ate!

Here are my reasons for hope that I might be able to start again:

#1: I leak. Not a lot, but I do.

#2: He still roots towards my chest (or anyone's for that matter) when he is hungry. Obviously he knows he can still get SOME from me.

#3: He still has a good latch. I have never had sore nipples from a shallow latch. No cracking or anything! And I can see him swallowing.

#4: Maybe the most important point...I still want to breastfeed. He needs that comfort...and so do I.

If anyone has any suggestions, besides the one that annoys me :) please offer any advice. I feel so guilty for giving up, but I just didnt know what to do.

Now for the better update...we are doing sooooo well! I LOVE staying home with him! We read books together and I swear he keeps his mouth open the entire time I'm reading like he wants to talk to me! He smiled at me for the first time the other day while we were reading The Little Engine that Could. He was so cute that I was laughing outloud while trying to read!

He loves his swing...he was little bear mobile on it that he likes to look at while swinging. He only likes the swing on the highest setting. I think it helps with gas and it rocks him to sleep.

We also had to hang up some 0-3 month size clothing last week. He was around 5 weeks when we pulled it out. It was mainly the full body outfits that he needed bigger because he's so long! He still cant even fit in most of his newborn size pants...they're still too big!

*And right here is where we took a break to try to breast feed because my sleeping baby became a hungry baby. Unfortunately, he would not latch on the left breast at all...and he latched on to the right breast for like 30 seconds. My mom's feeding him right now :(

So theres a little update from us! I absolutely love being at home with him and I'm already crying just thinking about how much he has grown! We got pics taken on the 31st as a family and did some newborn pics. I'll have to post some soon!

CONGRATULATIONS to Brooke on the arrival of Colton! Just in time for Christmas! I'm a little envious of those of you who had your little ones early! Eli was nice and comfy in my belly for a long time!


Brooke said...

I am so glad that you are loving motherhood. I feel badly that you are struggling with the Bfing. I have a couple of friends who have had difficulty with it as welll. I think you have established the this isnt your fault, there is no lack of effort or committment. They should not have taken him away from you without allowing him to at least meet your breast for a few minutes. I know that the bottle thing is a huge issue that early on. That being said I think that you definatley can keep trying as long as it is not too much for you. It sounds like you are still optomistic that you are able to Bf. I think you need to get a hold of a La Leche League groupl and see what they have to say. Women who struggle with BF really need support and telling you to just give him a bottle is not helpful. If your doctor is not 100% on board with BF then ditch him. Find someone who wants you to succeed. I also wanted to tell you that I have never been engourged either. I have a great supply and have had a great BFing experience but I was never engourged and Colton never eats more then 10 minutes on both sides. If you have a good latch and are hearing him swallowing then I think you have a really good start. As long as he is wetting his diapers and gaining weight try not to listen to what the "rules" tell you. Just do what your Mommy instincts tell you. Good luck.

Tori said...

I know exactly how you feel with the BFing issues. After Zach's jaundice, he wouldn't latch. Ever. I pumped exclusively for the four months after that. If you're not getting much with your pump, it might be useful to get a different one. I did that and got so much more milk from my new pump. The one I had and liked was the MiPump by First Years. Plus the BreastFlow bottles fit on it (and those are the things that eventually taught him to relatch along with the help of a nipple shield which made my boob seem more like a bottle, which he preferred at the time). I'm a very firm believer in the theory that no pump is perfect for every mom and that you really need to try different ones to know what works for YOU. Now, I supplemented with formula too. Still do. But I had planned to do both breastmilk and formula from the get-go. I know it's jarring when you don't plan it that way. But in reality, ANY breastmilk is better than none at all, and you're still a fantastic mommy for giving him some! (Not that non-BFing mommies aren't fantastic too though!) My best advice is to stick with it in any capacity, be it pumping exclusively (which LLL will kind of chastise you for, just a warning), latching some and bottle feeding expressed milk some, supplementing with formula after a feed or what have you. I honestly never thought Zach would ever latch on again, but he did randomly one day because I kept trying every so often, and now I'm seven months in and going strong and it's fantastic. I think the women who DON'T struggle with BFing at first are just really stinkin' lucky to tell the truth! Hang in there momma! I promise it will get better someday!

Dawn said...

Emmy, I am a 39 yr old mother of 2. I have followed your blog throughout your pregnancy, after coming across it doing an internet search on infertility.
I had the same issue as you, with breast feeding. I felt like such a loser, here I have a nice rack with dds when I'm not pregnant. I too could only get a few ccs when pumping and never felt engorged, etc. I even tried reglan which is supposed to help the milk come down. It lets everything come down, which kept me chained to the toilet for most of the day. No thanks.
I finally used the tube that went from a bottle and was taped along my breast and allowed my kids to nurse and be well fed. I did this until they went from 2 oz. feedings to 4 oz feedings, around 14 weeks. We then switched to the bottle. I still felt very connected with my babies and dad could do some feedings. Just don't beat yourself up, you can still have a nice bond without breast feeding.
Best of luck with your beautiful new baby. Congrats!

Dawn said...

Hi Emmy. I wanted to post an update. I finally got an answer to my unexplained infertility. I have celiac's disease or gluten allergy. It can affect many systems in your body including fertility and your thyroid, which can affect the ability to breast feed.
Since my diagnosis, I have noticed so many improvements including my bp is back to normal.
The best thing, is its treatable by just eliminating gluten from your diet. There is no medication to buy.
I just wanted to share this, because I never suspected that my GI issues were related to my infertility and recurrent miscarriages. And thought maybe it could help someone else.
Hope you are well.