Saturday, November 3, 2012

No guilt this time

My soap box on Breastfeeding
(With random pictures to keep you entertained)
When I was pregnant the first time I just assumed breastfeeding would be this natural and easy thing. I snickered when I had people ask me if I had read any breastfeeding books or gone to any breast feeding classes, I mean what was there to know, you lift up your shirt and the baby just starts to eat. I was smidge naive and under informed about how difficult breastfeeding can be. I realize there are some women that experience that natural ease, but not most.
With Nathan, i never had a milk supply. He was very sleepy after delivery and did not latch on to me in the hospital. In fact he did not eat until we gave him formula as we were leaving the hospital. I followed all of their instructions and hand expressed what little milk I had and gave it to him in a syringe. I had 2 lactation consultants come see me in the hospital to help me try to get him to latch on but he was too sleepy. Once I was home with him I was only able to get him to latch on wit ha nipple shield. I ate, drank, took fenugreek ,which is an herb that is supposed ot help with your milk supply) and pumped religiously after feeding him. After we were home a few days i went to see another lactation specialist and they had me weigh him before he nursed and then after he nursed. He had lost a lot of weight since delivery. They figured he was only getting half an ounce of breast milk from me after a 30 minute session of nursing. Poor thing, no wonder he lost so much weight. The Specialist told me we needed to start supplementing with formula to help him gain some weight. he had no good reason as to why I was not producing much breast milk.
Over the next month I had a rigorous and exhausting feeding schedule which consisted of nursing for 20-30 minutes, then giving him a bottle and then pumping for 20 minutes to try to help with my milk supply. It never worked the most milk I ever made was 1 ounce every 3 hours...not enough to sustain a growing infant.
At my post-partum check up my Dr. had no good reason for my low supply either. She said some women just don't make milk. She prescribed a medication called Reglan which is supposed to help with your supply, but it didn't. I gave up breastfeeding after a month. It was just to exhausting and I was not getting anywhere on my supply.
I lost a lot of tears because of my inability to nurse my baby boy. I felt like a failure as a mother.
On to baby number 2.
My Dr. told me I would probably have the same issue with low milk supply as I did with my first baby. One of the big clues to this was that my breast never changed size during pregnancy. Apparently that is a sign you might have trouble making milk.
However, due to the circumstances with Amber's birth and her immediate trip to the NICU I started pumping within 3 hours of her birth.
I really thought since I got a head start on the pumping I might be successful this time around.
I pumped every 3 hours around the clock while she was in the NICU and I nursed her when I was allowed. She latched on like a champ. It seemed easy.
However, after 8 days my supply was still only about 1 ounce every 3 hours. Per all the literature I should have been making 15 ounces or more a day instead of 8 ounces.
I began to try everything again. I drank Mother' milk tea several times aday, took fenugreek, pumped, ate, drank 100 ounces of water a day (yea, that is alot!)and ordered some special More Milk plus drops.
Sadly, it did not help. I still had not shed a tear over it, I just wanted to try everything ot give it the 'ole college try!!
The lactation consultant in the NICU said there was one more thing to try. IT is a medication called Domperidone. Apparently it is said to work wonders in increasing your milk supply, especially if nothing else seems to work.
The catch is that it is not approved by the FDA and therefore must be purchased in Canada.
She did inform me of 1 compounding pharmacy in the whole DFW metroplex that supplies it with a Dr's prescription. I started to get my hopes up! This could be the answer!
I called my OB for the prescription but because the FDA does not approve it she would not write for it. Dashed went my hopes.
After we were discharged from the NICU I took Amber to her pediatrician for a follow-up.
Her pediatrician is a huge breastfeeding advocate and had taken Domperidone herself with her child. She wrote me the prescription! I was excited. I was finally going to be like a normal woman and be able to breastfeed my baby exclusively without supplementing or pumping.
I was surprised that the compounding pharmacy actually had the medication in stock. The directions said i should see effects within 4-5 days.
Sadly, 5 days then 3 weeks past and I only saw a minimal increase, not even a half ounce change.
I was very disappointed but I still did not cry over it this time! I knew my baby would be fine if I had to feed her formula and I knew i had done everything I could.
I had a friend who had gone through the same issue as me and she told me something that gave me such a different prospective. She had a neighbor who was unable to conceive and my friend had been telling her neighbor how awful it was that she couldn't breastfeed and sharing her woes about having to supplement with formula. The neighbor said ' I would love to have a baby that I could feed formula too".
Such a good prospective for me. Yes, i would have loved to been able to breastfeed both my babies, but the fact is I have 2 healthy beautiful babies of my own! God truly has blessed me and I so I can have peace about my decision to quit breastfeeding.