Saturday, June 19, 2010

(Not So Much)Breastfeeding Update

I realized I've been a bit hazy when it comes to my BF woes.  Here's a quick recap:
  • After a breast reduction surgery in 2001, I was told that i should be able to breasfeed.
  • During our BF classes we were told that they usually see breast reduction women have trouble and they've never seen a reduction breast go 100%.  This really upset me because this was one of the things i was REALLY looking forward to with Alexsa.
  • We did everything we could to boost my production after she was born:  Shatavari suppliments, Mother's Milk Tea, Beer, weekly lactation appointments, extra pumping, and extra feedings...
  • Around 2 months things started looking up... but as soon as my prodcution would almost meet her needs, she would up her intake...
  • When I got back to work when she was 7 weeks, I had to pump twice a day, but being away from her for so long during the day really diminished my production, then she got so used to the bottle she would fight me at the breast.
  • It got to the point where she would only latch with me in the mornings, and now, not at all.
  • Becuase I've been SOLEY pumping, my production just gets worse and worse every week...
Now back to today:
I tried for another day to get Alexsa to latch.  I didn't even use the SNS so i could focus on just getting her to want the boob again.  It was hopeless.  It's like she lost the association of my breast with food.  So Thursday at work I called our lactation consultant (the hospital offers free support for 1 year!) and Toni was just wonderful.  She talked me through and explained that I have to 'find the balance'.  She of course didn't want to tell me to stop, but as I explained to her what all we've done, she said some things that made me decide to throw in the towel.  She asked if I had the ability to take a week off of work to try and get her to latch again.  I of course don't, taking all my PTO for my maternity leave after she was born.  That made me realize that we just don't have the ability to make the commitment needed for her to truly latch again... and to what results? I'd just have to go back to work and the cycle would start again.

I've tried not to let popular opinion sway me from pumping what I can.  At work when my co-workers see how little I produce after 20 minutes they wonder why I even bother. (sometimes just 1/2 oz total!) But I know how important BM is, and even a little is better than nothing.  Currently, with 3-4 pumping sessions a day, I make about 5 oz of BM for her, or a little less than 1 meal's worth.

We made the decision to keep pumping until I make less than 3oz a day.  At least she'll continue to get some and maybe by that time she'll be starting on solids and it won't be as big a deal. This is definitely not the way we wanted to go.  Barry and I feel that breast milk is SOO important.  And I probably could do more to up my production, and in the process never get to spend any time with Alexsa.  Sometimes you just have to step back and find a balance.


Eternal Lizdom said...

Yes, a little is better than none. And even if she only gets some of that breastmilk with a steady diet of formula... you know you did the best you could.

We had some latch issues with Teagan and 2 things helped- using a little... I think it was glycerin?? Sugar water. And also trying different holds- for a while, she really preferred to nurse in a football hold.

I also found that pumping at hom ehelped- I would get up about an our before Teagan usually woke and I would pump one side. So, I would nurse her all night on my right side and then get up and pump my left side- which would be very full by morning!

I really admire how much effort and dedication you have for this. And also that you recognize you don't have to have a breastfed baby to have a happy and healthy child!

palamaro said...

I had the same problems (minus the br reduction) so I totally feel your pain. it sucks to lose your milk and I slowly started losing my cause I was solely pumping in the end also. By 5 months, I was hardly pumping anything so I had to throw in the towel, too. I just keep reminding myself that at least she got what she did and I was thankful for that. Alexsa still loves you, regardless :)

ps: my word verification is stankit :)