Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Will Cry Over Spilled Milk

Milk Supply.

These are all things on my brain lately.  And by lately I mean within the last 2 weeks.

Caleb was born on Thursday, September 4th.  I breastfed him as soon as possible after the whole placenta ordeal.  I fed him on command for the three days we were in the hospital and continued when we came home.

The first night we were home he wouldn't sleep at all.  I was up every 45 minutes nursing him.  I didn't get any sleep and was overwhelmed and exhausted.  Over my dead body Reluctantly, we gave him an ounce of formula at 4 in the morning and he finally slept for 3 hours and so did I.

I absolutely hated that he had to take formula so soon.  I had no intention of ever giving him formula.  I was going to be the "perfect" mother.  I would breastfeed him exclusively, pump and build up a supply for when I went back to work.  He would have only breast milk until he turned one and could then have cow's milk.  This obviously didn't happen.

We went to his first appointment at 4 days old and his pediatrician agreed that he might need a little supplementing for a few days until all of my milk came in.  As upset as it made me, it did help us get more than an hour of sleep at a time at night and wouldn't hurt him, so we did it.  I was breastfeeding the little hungry hippo all day and he would get one bottle at 8:30pm to help put him to sleep.

His pediatrician made us an appointment with the lactation consultant the next day.  We went and to say it went well was not the words I would have used.  She was great and helped with his latch and all that, but she is totally anti formula, understandably because it is her job to encourage breastfeeding.  The part that I didn't like though was where she told me that he wouldn't be as smart if he had formula and how he doesn't need anything more than what I can give him.  She said I would be fine with supply and to enjoy my time bonding with him.  It ended and we went on our way.

We continued with our routine of nursing all day and then one bottle at night to go to sleep.  This was working great until we went on our road trip to Colorado.  I developed a rash 4 days into the trip and whether it was related or not, my supply stopped.  I would nurse him ALL day and he would act as if he hadn't eaten in days!  Have you ever felt like a piece of shit?  Well me too, but it was nothing compared to how I felt in this moment.  My mom, sister-in-law and husband all convinced me that he needed formula to supplement, even more so than we already were.  It upset me, frustrated me, devastated me...all at the same time.  I felt like the worse mom ever.  I couldn't give him what he wanted.  I had this stupid rash and all of a sudden my milk was gone and my baby was starving!  They all kept telling me it wasn't my fault and that Caleb still loved me, but it is a lot easier to say than to believe it.

The formula amount didn't decrease and I wasn't emotionally dealing with it well.  I made an appointment to see a lactation consultant again.  We went in on Friday, this time to a different consultant, and while I liked her, she didn't impress me either.  She decided to tell me that I was overfeeding my baby and that he was gaining too much weight.  FANTASTIC!  As if I didn't already feel shitty enough now this lady tells me that I am making my baby fat?!? ::insert dramatic, hormonal mama here::  She instructed me to start pumping as much as possible and to start taking Fenugreek Capsules to help increase my supply.  She also said that we could feed him 1 to 1.5 ounces of formula after nursing if he was still fussy.  Of course he is going to be fussy lady!  I have no freaking milk to feed him with!

We left and went about our weekend.  We had another appointment scheduled for the following Tuesday, with the original consultant.  I started taking the Fenugreek and felt like there might be an increase.  Pumping was no different though, no milk was coming out - DROPS!

Tuesday came and we went.  I will say that this time, I liked her.  She was much more sympathetic and didn't make me feel completely shitty.  We sat there and nursed and we talked about life as if we were old friends.  After the session she gave me her opinion on the issue.  My boobs are not the correct shape to exclusively breastfeed.  In her words, "Your breasts are tubular shaped and not ideal."  Well thank you?  But as rude as it might seem, at least I finally had an answer.  My body wasn't built to breastfeed.  As hard as it is to accept I have to do just that.  My babies will nurse as much and as often as they want, but they will always need formula after they are done.

I have come to the conclusion that I am not the worst mother in the world.  My baby will survive with formula, after all both my husband and I did.  I will continue to take the Fenugreek capsules and nurse Caleb as often as possible.  He will know that I tried my hardest and it was the hardest thing I've ever had to face being told that he will need formula.

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1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry you had to go through this! I know how awful it feels to have breastfeeding not work out PERFECTLY like I had hoped for. I will say though - Aubrey was mostly formula fed, Kate was exclusively breastfed, and Aubrey hit her milestones/learns way quicker, & gets sick less than Kate. (Sorry Kate, but it's true!) I'm really not so sure about those stats those lactation consultants tell you. You're doing great, mama! (PS - Albert Einstein was formula fed) ;)