Sunday, October 25, 2009

Filling in the Gaps

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. Even with my Dad's help this last week, it's been hard to have any extended time at the computer. I'm either feeding one kid or reading a story to the other...not to mention the slacking in any household chores. My house is a mess!

As I looked through the posts since Piper arrived, I realized I never explained what was going on with breastfeeding this time around. I mentioned I was on medication to help with milk production (that resulted in some serious anxiety). Basically I've had the same problems that I had with Morgan. My body just doesn't produce the volume of milk it should. This happens to some women who have had breast reduction surgery or have thyroid issues...but I have none of these problems. I'm just one of those people who have trouble with this for no reason. I have a few friends who have dealt with this too, so I am not alone, but it is still extremely frustrating for me. I was really hoping it was going to be different this time. Part of the reason I had an unmedicated birth was that I knew that sometimes pitocin or other interventions in the birth process can interfere with milk production. Here's what happened with both babies:

Milk doesn't come in until 2 to 5 days after delivery. I started feeding Piper just as I was supposed to, about every three hours. Newborns aren't too hungry the first few days so you have to just put them to the breast no fewer than 8 times in a 24 hour period. With Morgan I didn't feed her as often, so I thought this might have been part of the problem, but apparetnly not. Feeding them often stimulates the milk production and gets things going. For a bit I thought it was going to work better this time because by day 4 I was engorged, I felt sore and full. This gave me hope! With Morgan I had nothing happening by day 4. We went to Piper's first pediatrician's appt on day 5 and she had lost 8% of her birth weight. This was not bad as they don't like them to lose more than 10%, though she did look a little jaundiced. I had an appt with a Lactation Consultant (LC) that day and because of the jaundice she got me going on a regimen of feeding, using a breast pump and supplementing some formula until my "milk came in." Though I was engorged, the milk was not flowing as it should. This is also what happened with Morgan. I tried with her for 4 weeks with very little improvement. She was what the LC called "happy to starve." She just fell asleep at the breast and really didn't understand that was where her nutrition was supposed to come from.

With Piper it is different in that she is not "happy to starve." At almost 2 months old now she really lets us know when she is hungry. She nurses fairly well...but I just don't have quite the milk supply she needs. With many techniques from two LC's and a good medication we are almost there. She gets about 75% of what she needs from me and we supplement in the evenings with 5-7 ounces of formula (across a few feedings and a bigger "bedtime" bottle David gives her). I am proud that we've made it this far, but it's still pretty stressful. The afternoon/evening feedings can be rough as she swings her arms around, scratches at me and sometimes cries. She is also on and off the breast a lot with makes me sore. This tells me that the milk supply is not good at these times and she is not getting the milk flow that she gets from the night and morning feedings. It is easy to supplement with some formula here, but the way she fights me is not only hard on me physically, but emotionally too. I feel so bad that she has to get so frustrated.

The good thing is that she has had consistent weight gain (not big gains, but consistent). She has her 2-month appointment with our pediatrician on Wednesday, so we'll see if she's still doing well. The breastfeeding really just moves forward on a day to day basis at this point. When we have a good feeding I think I can stick it out for a while, but when we have a bad one I think I'm ready to quit. And...the seasonal flu and H1N1 flu throws me for a loop too. I want to give her the best I can, nutrition and protection-wise, but I also need my sanity too. We have help from my parents for about 10 more days (which has been a godsend). We'll see how it goes when I'm on my own during the day. So, that's my saga and where we are at at the moment. I'm trying my best to relax and be OK with either way we go, but I am so torn. I'll keep you in the loop...if you're interested. :-)

1 comment:

Amy Rusalov said...

Always interested :) And you're always in my thoughts and prayers.