Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A breastfeeding update...

Last time we were on this subject, Henry wasn't gaining weight and I was doing everything possible to increase my supply. We did get him to finally gain some weight, but my supply has never gotten any better. I have tried everything. EVERYTHING. Extra nursing, extra pumping, fenugreek, mothers milk tea, motherlove more milk plus, breast compressions, wearing looser bras, drinking more water, eating more food, and getting a prescription for reglan. None of it made a damn bit of difference. I even ordered this drug that you can't buy in the US from an "international" online pharmacy with no noticeable change. (Crossing my fingers I don't get arrested for this). In a nutshell, I have probably spent about $1000 on breastfeeding stuff. (Don't tell Thomas).

So. Henry gets formula now. I still pump a pathetic 12oz per day (which is like less than half of what he needs), and the rest is formula. All things considered, I'm happy with the current situation, because he is still getting the good stuff from breast milk with the added calories he needs. And truthfully, I wish I would have added formula sooner. I don't know if selfish is the right word, but I definitely have some mom guilt about my stubbornness towards formula. I was basically starving my baby. However, formula does have it's disadvantages. Henry's poop went from slightly gross to fighting with my husband over who has to change his diaper. It is so stinky now... like adult poop. Also, the formula spit up will stain clothes, so I have to change him out of stuff immediately and clean it. 

There is no finite reason as to why my supply is terrible. What seems the most likely is that Henry is an incredible sleeper, and that the long stretches of sleep he has had from an early age prohibited me from feeding him as often as I should have been to establish a good supply. I partially blame the pediatrician for this because he was all yeah sure let him sleep as long as he wants! Well, 3 week old breastfed babies really shouldn't be sleeping 8 hours at time, which I now know. On top of that, I don't think Henry was ever a very skilled nurser. I don't think his latch was ever great, and he was more of a chomper than a sucker if that makes sense. 

I will admit that I kind of love exclusively pumping. I am on my pumping schedule, and Henry can eat whenever he wants, regardless of whether I am home or not. It's just been nice that on the weekends (when dad is home), I can go run to Target or wherever without being so worried about when he might be ready to eat again. 

For any moms that pump all the time, let me share this with you. The tubes on my breastpump started to get a tiny bit of mold in them, so I tried to sterilize them in a steam bag Friday night. THEY MELTED. I panicked, as you can imagine. I immediately ordered some replacements on Amazon, but for three days now I have been having to use a manual hand pump aka the most annoying thing ever. 

This is basically my life now...

Regardless of my issues, next time around I will make some changes. And if you will be embarking on breastfeeding any time soon, let me recommend some strategies to you. 

-Once you get home from the hospital, pump as much as you can. It will help you get an awesome supply going, and you'll hopefully be able to save some milk for the few times you may have the chance to get out of the house. 
-If you get engorged in the beginning, your baby might not be eating properly. It's worth calling a lactation consultant, even just to talk about it.
-Trust your instincts. I KNEW that Henry wasn't gaining enough weight but the pediatrician assured me that everything was ok. I totally trust doctors, but sometimes you have to trust yourself more. Because of my drs assurance, I temporarily ignored some things that really did need to be addressed. 
-Join a boob group. A lot of hospitals have breastfeeding support groups once a week. There is probably no greater resource than other moms when it comes to breastfeeding. Find a group and join it. Also, feel free to contact me or any other breastfeeding moms. I can't tell you how many random facebook messages I have sent out to other moms begging for breastfeeding advice. 

At this point, our breastfeeding days may be numbered. I honestly thought I would be exclusively breastfeeding until Henry was a year old. I never ever ever could have imagined that I would go through all this bullshit just to nourish my child. My wish for every mom ever is abundant milk and pain-free nipples!


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