Monday, April 19, 2010

Lactation Goodness... [Part 1]

Woman gets pregnant.  Woman has baby. Woman feeds baby with her milk. It should be easy right?  Ha! Getting pregnant with and then growing S was not necessarily what I would consider easy, but surely breastfeeding would go easily right?  I mean I took the class, I read several books, I talked with other moms about it, easy peasy.  Ha! Okay, so I had heard of women saying it was hard and many of them didn't breastfeed for long because of it, but the books and the instructor had me convinced that the women that quit breastfeeding just didn't try hard enough or didn't have the right help (I was SO judgmental...shame on me!).  I now know that the right help at the right time is the key to success (for almost all women).  Here is my story.

In the beginning, S didn't latch correctly and it hurt like hell AND my milk took forever to come in and S lost too much weight.  But we survived thanks to one clinic: St. Vincent's Postpartum Care and Breastfeeding Clinic and one fabulous lactation consultant, Nancy.   When we arrived at this clinic not only was I close to tears, but so was my amazing husband.  Our first night home sucked and I hadn't slept in about 36 hours.  I had no idea what I was doing wrong so I didn't know what to even ask of Nancy.  Thankfully, it didn't matter.
She knew exactly what to ask, what to look for, and what to say to make me not feel like a complete failure.  She armed me with new tools to fill S's belly until my milk came in (and yes, it included some formula- don't judge).  We returned 2 days later feeling so much better...not only did S seem happier (by then he was a pro at going between breast and bottle), but my milk had come in!  She taught me how to pump, when to pump, and what to do with the milk.  We were now to "top S off" with my pumped milk instead of formula and I felt great.  We met with her one more time to make sure S was gaining weight, but then we I thought.

Fast forward three months to three weeks ago.  Three weeks ago S started spitting up and the pediatrician's on-call nurse recommended that I increase the frequency of the feedings and decrease the length of each feeding (less in his belly to spit up I guess).  Then the fussiness started, every night about 40 minutes after we put S down, he would start screaming.  We thought it was gas, but as time went on I began to think something might actually be wrong. Then he started getting fussier during the day and, at almost every feeding, pulling off the breast after every 2-3 sucks and I finally called the pediatrician again.  We got an appointment and the doctor ruled out any physical reason he was crying (no ear infection or acid reflux), but then I asked about his weight.  Was he gaining the right amount? Too much? Too little? Seriously, too little? Doc said he was "borderline" ...only 18 ounces in 6 weeks.  Then I did some research...actually Trixie went to for me and we learned that babies are supposed to gain 5-8 ounces a week.  That mean he was supposed to gain at least 30 ounces in 6, S was not gaining enough at all! So what did I think to do?  I called the Breastfeeding clinic.

I couldn't get in with Nancy before the weekend so I met with another nice lactation consultant.  She theorized that S was probably getting the right quantity of milk, but not enough of the nice, fatty hind milk.  Makes sense to me, I can totally try feeding him longer since he hadn't been spitting up anymore.  But what about the latch issues?  Well I happened to mention that we used to use a nipple shield and immediately the woman suggested that we start using it again.  Honestly, I didn't think that would solve it, but I was willing to try.

And try I did...but it didn't seem to matter. Sometimes it would make him stop fussing and latch and sometimes it didn't matter at fact, sometimes he latched better without it.  We were scheduled to see yet another consultant on Tuesday, but yesterday I decided (after a particularly frustrating feeding) to call and see if Nancy was available.  If anyone can make me feel better and get this problem resolved, I know that Nancy can.

Thankfully the reception could here my tears frustration through the phone and not only got me an appointment with Nancy, she got me one for today!  So later today I will go and meet with her.  I will tell her what has happened, I will show her the video I took of S fighting me and my nipple (yes, I am that desperate), and we will see what she has to say.  So stay tuned folks....

Mommy C


Tiffiny said...

Good luck! You have been such a rock star with nursing Baby S...I'm sure you guys will make it through this bump in the Boobie Road too!

Mommy C said...

Thanks Tiffiny....I am so close to losing my mind right now, that I am putting all my hope into Nancy's hands.

Robin - mama to many! said...

Wow, what a trial AND with your first baby when it's all so new and difficult anyways! I'm sending you support and strength on this journey. You are doing the right thing. Trust your mama's intuition!

estefanick said...

Hang in there.... Kudos to you for asking for help when you know something isn't working right!! Baby S is one lucky little guy!! Sending hugs!

RJM said...

I'm experiecing a similar situation...frustrating...we'll get through this...thankful for the lactation clinic too!

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