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HappyBabyB December 13th, 2013 01:36 PM

My Relactation Journey (updated 29 Dec)
Disclaimer: I am not against formula feeding mommies who choose to FF their babies! I think that as long as baby is getting fed, then mom is doing her job :) This story is just my feelings on my baby and our struggles with formula & BF.

I wanted to document my relactation journey to see how far I can get and I thought I might write it out for anyone who was interested :)

Background: When Brennan was born I tried to nurse him but he would not latch on. His suck reflex was pretty far back in his mouth and my nips are not that long! We ended up using the nipple shield but the LC said I would need to pump every couple hours to stimulate my nipples and extract the colustrum for him. That first night was rough and the next morning the doctor came in and told me he would need formula because he was beginning to show signs of jaundice. I was so upset, it was never in my plan to give him formula and here we were the second day of his life and I already had to give it to him. The nurses made me feed him formula every 3 hours and it killed me but I knew it was best so that he could get the jaundice out of his system and go home on time. He ended up being perfectly fine when it came time to leave and the hospital sent us home with a bunch of formula.

After we got home I was so exhausted and frustrated trying to get Brennan to latch. My incision hurt SO bad (I was sent home with Ibuprofen only, come to find out I was supposed to get percocet for the pain) it felt like someone was stabbing me in the stomach anytime I moved. I had a major breakdown, my husband and sister in law were there and they were trying to help so they suggested to just give him a bottle so I could sleep. So I gave in and my husband fed him. It was just too easy. I didn't have anyone around me to cheer me on when it came to BF (nobody in mine or hubbys family breastfed! Eesh) so it was easy to give up and just give him formula.

Fast forward 4 weeks and my poor baby is not doing well with formula, we have tried all different kinds and all of it seems to upset his tummy. I wish so badly that I would not have given up BF (or even exclusively pumping!) but alas my supply is essentially gone. I can hand express a couple of drops but that's it. I began to google relactation hoping that it was something that was possible and I found out it was! I made an appt with my LC and she assured me it was very possible. I tried to get Brennan to nurse but he was not having it! I tried the nipple shield and SNS, but he was SCREAMING everytime I tried to put him on my breast. I tried over and over but he just did not want to work for his food, which is understandable since he's been getting a bottle pretty much since birth. We may have had better luck if BF was well established before I quit (lesson learned for my next child!) So now my goal is to exclusively pump and *hopefully* be able to produce all the BM Brennan needs so he can be completely off formula.

December 3rd: I begin pumping (using a Medela Pump in Style) for 20 mins every 2 hours during the day and every 3 hours at night (I need SOME sleep) and nothing is really coming out, just a couple beads of milk that didn't even drop off my nipple. I know it will take time so I don't give up, just keep pumping just keep pumping... I have also started taking Mothers Love pills (fenugreek seed, blessed thistle herb, nettle herb & fennel seed), drinking mothers milk tea 3x a day and I made a ton of monster cookies (yum)

December 10th: I decide to rent a hospital grade pump because my personal one just isn't strong enough. By this time I have been getting about 2-3ml of BM every 24 hours, better than the few drops I started with last week! I ordered domperidone and it should be here in a couple weeks, supposedly it is prescription strength medicine for nausea that has a side effect of boosting milk supply! Can't wait to try it out.

December 13th: Wow the hospital grade pump is really helping, I am getting about a quarter ounce of BM every 24 hours. I saved up for a few days and was able to give Brennan almost an ounce! He sucked it down quick, I'm sure it tastes better than the formula (formula is stinky!) I am still pumping every 2 hours during the day and 3 at night. Yesterday I power pumped all day:

10 mins on
10 mins off
10 mins on
10 mins off
10 mins on

2 hour break, repeat over and over until bedtime!

I was trying to trick my body into thinking I was feeding a baby going through a growth spurt. I think I will continue to power pump during one of my pumping sessions everyday for the next week to see if that helps as well.

December 29: I am getting a little over 2oz a day now! I've been slacking in the pumping department, sometimes I go 4 hours between pumping during the day. I am going to try and get on a strict schedule when I go back to work tomorrow. I am really glad I get all the time I need to pump at work!
I'm still waiting on my domperidone to get here, it should be anyday now. I know my supply will increase once I start taking it.
The day before yesterday after Brennan ate his bottle, he nursed for about 20 seconds! It was awesome because he normally screams when I attempt to BF him. I think this weekend I will attempt a Nursing Vacation. I'll stay in bed with him all weekend and attempt to nurse aaaaall day long. Sounds like a relaxing and enjoyable time to me!

sis_sweetpea December 13th, 2013 03:02 PM

Re: My Relactation Journey
Good luck! I hope you are successful.

jadeunicorn December 13th, 2013 03:07 PM

Re: My Relactation Journey
You go, mama!

Don't feel bad about originally giving up. Healing from a c-section is horrible! I remember staying in bed for WEEKS when I was healing from the one with my first. I was lucky to have a good nurser, which if I wouldn't have, I may have given up once I went through having thrush.

I'm sure you'll be able to slowly build your supply back up. Try using moist heat as well (let hot water in the shower run over your breasts before you pump once in a while).

And maybe once your supply is a bit higher, you can even try to latch your little one again (look up nursing holiday to just sit a whole weekend to encourage baby to nurse).

Also, there should be an edit button near the bottom of your post. :smile:

Good luck! I look forward to following your journey!

mindyjean December 13th, 2013 08:25 PM

Re: My Relactation Journey
Good luck to you! With my first son, he was jaundiced too so everyone kept telling me to "just give him formula" but it's not like it got rid of it quicker. I gave in, too, and his latch really suffered. It really stinks. I admire you for going through this process!!! Hang in there!

~Kris~ December 13th, 2013 08:27 PM

Re: My Relactation Journey
I am so proud of you!

I am really disappointed in the dr that scared you into using formula. So many times, it seems they want the super fast fix of formula for jaundice rather than carefully watching baby and offering you a hospital pump. I wish more drs and nurses had knowledge about BFing.

I really hope you continue to get more milk!

Books_kids December 14th, 2013 10:18 AM

Great job. Do you feel let down while your pumping?? Just wondering.

You can do it, your persistence will pay off.

HappyBabyB December 14th, 2013 10:47 AM

Thank you all so much for your support and advice! I am very open to any advice anyone can give :)

Books, no I don't feel any letdown :(

~Kris~ December 14th, 2013 12:40 PM

Re: My Relactation Journey
Don't get discouraged about not feeling a letdown. I don't think I have ever felt it while pumping or BFing. I just get the random tingly feeling when NOT doing anything. :lol:

Make sure you eat lots of protein. I always seem to get a boost in supply when I eat plenty of it, particularly when it's from red meat. Good excuse for a yummy steak! ;)

sis_sweetpea December 15th, 2013 10:07 AM

Re: My Relactation Journey
Gabby was jaundiced, and I had to supplement with formula in the hosptial too. It sucks that they didn't encourage you to continue nursing at the same time. I nursed at every feed then used the syringe to give the formula. She didn't have a bottle at the hospital, and the lactation consultant came multiple times to make sure she was nursing. Again, I hope you can continue to get more milk. Good luck

HappyBabyB December 29th, 2013 03:15 PM

Original post updated

~Kris~ December 29th, 2013 08:16 PM

Re: My Relactation Journey (updated 29 Dec)
I am so impressed by your dedication to this! Such love for baby B!!!

HappyBabyB December 29th, 2013 08:43 PM

Thanks so much Kris! Your guys' support means so much to me!

Quantum_Leap December 29th, 2013 11:11 PM

Re: My Relactation Journey (updated 29 Dec)
Kudos to you for working so hard at this! You are doing an amazing job -- Brennan is lucky to have you as his mama!

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