Monday, August 9, 2010

Ha. Not that I blog so often, lol.. but I need to deal with this somehow.

So I introduce: Our Breastfeeding Journey.

After losing my BF relationship with Everit when he was about 5 weeks old, I felt an emptiness and sadness that I could not digest. I felt I had failed him, and failed myself. When I got pregnant with Taylin (God Rest her Soul) I was determined that I would succeed this time. After losing her, we were lucky enough to conceive our last little man, Dalton. Throughout the pregnancy I devoured all things BF. I ordered books, researched online, spoke with Doulas and LC's and peers. I was going to be successful no matter what it took.

Now, keep in mind that I face a difficult issue with BF. Having breast implants cuts my chances of success.. not by a whole lot, but supply was the issue I assumed I would be facing. Turns out supply was to be only one factor in our never ending troubles.

Dalton was born on July 8Th, 2010 Via planned C Section. He was a whopping 9 lbs 8.6 oz at birth. Don't ask me how I grew such a giant baby, lol... but I managed. BF'ing went great the first few days. The LC noticed his latch was shallow, but was confident that with practice it would improve. I also began pumping the first day, as well as taking fenugreek to boost my supply. By the 3rd day (the day I was discharged) my milk was mostly in and he was at that time getting full off my supply.

At his first check up at 5 days old, Dalton had lost weight. Alot of it. He was 8 lbs 6 oz. Now, because he was so large at birth (and my Doc is not a whistle blower) there was only minimal concern. He said keep nursing, and see what happens in a few days. It was after this appointment that I noticed Dalton just was not an active sucker. And that my nips were creased and bleeding and cracked. I could get through the pain, but I knew his latch was getting worse and not better.

Two days later at his weight check he was down to 8 lbs 4 oz. My heart sank to my toes. I knew it was time supplement. I cried buckets on the way to Target to buy the bottles and formula I had prayed and prayed that I would never have to see again. when we got home, I fed him his first bottle. I cried SO hard through that. Harder then I had ever cried before. And when he guzzled those 3 oz down, my heart broke even further. He was so hungry... and I was just not making enough to feed him.

So On day 7, I began the grueling BF, Supplement, Pump cycle. It was so exhausting. Luckily I was still riding the new baby endorphin high...(and the pain meds were probably helping too, lol.) I still don't know why I didn't just give up right then and there. Something kept driving me, as it is today.

Week 1...As we supplemented, and I pumped, I noticed that my breasts just didn't seem to have as much to offer... and again his latch was horrific. I set myself to pumping every 2 hours on the clock, and working in an extra 10 minute pump here and there when I had the chance. I was getting 4 oz on the best morning pump, and a measly 1.5-2 oz on the evening pumps. Dalton started EATING. And I mean EATING. He was taking 4-5 oz per feeding. The formula was flowing indeed. And I was pumping my brains out trying to get enough to feed this child. My breasts never felt full, unless I slept a long stretch (5 hours or so.) It was so hard to face the reality of low supply. I also added blessed Thistle at this time to my galactogouge regimen. I'm still not convinced it did anything, but I am afraid to stop taking it. I also started drinking 3 cups of mothers milk tea per day.

Week 2...I visited with the LC's during this second week, who noticed that he had a very tight UPPER frenulum. This is much like a tongue tie, only on his top lip. Because that frenulum is SO snug, he is unable to properly flare his upper lip out. This of course causes a poor, shallow latch. He has to work twice as hard to maintain his latch, which exhausts him and hurts me. And due to the sad latch, he is not removing milk or stimulating my breasts properly... hence the minimal supply. Pumping was probably the ONLY thing that kept my supply existent. It was bad news, but not entirely horrible. It was something we could overcome with time and practice.

I made the executive decision to stop BF for a few days and pump exclusively. Not only for my supply, but my nips and our sanity. He was getting about a 60/40 Formula/BM (respectively) feed. He was sleeping better, as was I. But there was NO improvement in my supply whatsoever. It just stayed on the same sad path.

Week 3... after a week of NO BF my nips were feeling better. We had company coming into town, and were going to the inlaws to visit and have some fun. I was NOT going to lug that stupid pump around with me. I said to myself "this is it, Joee... time to BF." So that morning I latched him on... and much to my surprise he accepted it happily. Again, the latch was not superior, but MUCH better than it had been a week ago. I decided , what the heck. I will BF this little guy all day and see what happens. He latched on for the rest of the day, and though he never acted "full" and I had to supplement, I was over the moon happy. We continued to BF day and night, supplement as needed and I pretty much stopped pumping altogether.

Week 4...After a few days I noticed I was feeling FULL after 2 hours of not BF. And when I latched him, he was gulping greedily. I was like, OMG yes! we are doing this! THEN it started... he would only suck actively for maybe 3 minutes... then he would fade off to a flutter suck. I would unlatch, and he would refuse to re latch again... not resisting the breast, just not latching. He would "chew"on my breast. I had milk pouring out of both breasts, and it would just dribble out of his mouth. We latched, and re latched, and changed diapers, and burped, and danced and sang and maybe after 20 minutes he would re latch again and suck for another 3 sad minutes. Our nighttime routine became bad. He was up every 1/2 hour to an hour.. even with supplementing he was just unsettled. He wanted to stay at my breast. But he would pass out as soon as he was on. He never fought the bottle, but his facial expressions really showed how he felt. He would rather be on the boob.

Now, on a good note, his latch is good enough now that I am not in pain, and my nips are in fairly good shape. But I cannot manage to get him to stay awake long enough to empty me. I believe with all my heart that the milk is there, and ready to take... but I cannot get him to finish me off no matter what I try.

Yesterday: 4 weeks 3 days old. Despite the fullness in my breasts, and ample milk to offer, he is not sucking beyond the 3 minute mark. After a long and desperate night, I woke up defeated. He decided that between 3 and 6 am he was not going to latch at all. Again, not resisting the breast, but just chewing. I fed him his bottle, which he sucked down quickly and I cried. And cried. And cried. He was awake and alert most of the morning. I latched him on at least 4 times.. all with the same exhausting results. I switched sides about 4 times during the last feeding, as my breasts were sore and hurting and needed to be emptied. He took more than he had before (I thought) but he still took another 3 oz after that from Andy. I relived the heartbreak from the morning, and cried again.

I decided another BF break was due. So we bottle fed him the rest of the day/night and I pumped every 2 hours again. My breasts were not so thrilled at the pump, lol. Sad results... a mere 10 oz between last night and this morning. That's only 2 feedings for my chunk butt. And my full feeling is gone already. I think my boobs hate the pump. Can't blame em. Its barbaric.
He slept great. A four hour stretch... OMG that was lovely. I feel rested, and he must be as well because he is sleeping the morning away. I think he was as exhausted as I was!

4 weeks 4 days (today): I woke up and pumped, fed him 4 oz of formula, and he went to sleep after a bit of fussing from a gas bubble in his tummy. Wow, a morning nap! What a treat! He woke up about 2 hours later. He seemed hungry, so I gave him Righty. Fantastic Latch! It was beautiful! I was excited! He was gulping, lefty was burning (not leaking though) and all was well... 4 minutes later, he was OUT like a light. NOt rousable in any way shape or form. So now we are current. He is sleeping like an a little angel. I wish I could feel confident that he got full, lol. But I think the tired is simply outweighing the hunger right now. I will offer the breast to him when he wakes up, and keep on keeping on. I have a call into the LC's to schedule another consultation with them.


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