Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Woes of Breastfeeding

By now, I could probably write a whole book on all of our breastfeeding woes. From the get-go, Nicole did not have a good latch. For example, she would only suck on the nipple, rather than the areola. A nurse introduced the nipple shield to help her better identify the nipple, which we are still using. Also, no one at the hospital emphasized the importance of breastfeeding right after birth which delayed my milk production. By Day 3, my milk still hadn't come in yet and Nicole was hungry so we started giving her some formula in a bottle. It is one of the worst feelings in the world when you know you can't feed your child.

By the time we checked out of the hospital, Nicole was 11% down from her birth weight (normal is 7-10%). We were told to supplement with formula and after a week, she had regained some weight she lost and was now only 5% down from her birth weight. We saw our first lactation consultant at this time and she basically scared us with childhood obesity and diabetes and told us to stop supplementing Nicole, which we did. The week following that was hard, because Nicole cried a lot and nothing we did calmed her. She would only stop crying after she had worn herself out. We saw another lactation consultant, who told us that Nicole was crying because she was hungry. Even though I was breastfeeding her 8-12 times a day, she wasn't getting enough from me. So, we went back to formula. To this day, we still feel incredibly guilty for not recognizing her hungry cries and under-feeding our poor girl!

Our next problem was that because Nicole was going back and forth between the bottle and the breast, Nicole struggled at the breast because she wasn't getting the "flow" that she liked. So, we went back to see another lactation consultant who taught me how to pump properly in order to increase my milk production. Things were going pretty well for a while and we checked in with another lactation consultant who prescribed Fenugreek - this herb that is suppose to increase mother's milk.

Our next challenge was getting Nicole to stop being a snacker (i.e. eating every 2 hours which was exhausting for me and my breasts) and being a more efficient eater. So we saw Kathleen, my favorite lactation consultant who is from Texas and who watches out for my best interest as well as Nicole's. She suggested a "Sane Plan" where we feed her 3 oz. every 3 hours. I still pump almost after every feeding and we are still supplementing with formula with the hopes that my milk production will eventually catch up.

So, 4 lactation consultants and 5 appointments later, our most urgent breastfeeding concerns are behind us but things still aren't smooth sailing. So stay tuned!