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I wish I had started this sooner, but going forward from where we are at. Natalie is 13 weeks 3 days. We have been supplementing since she was 3 weeks due to low milk supply. I have had supply issues with most of my kids. My first two I wound up weaning very early on because I did not have the right support system in place. I have insufficient glandular tissue. I did not realize this existed with my first 4 kids. I always knew I had small and uneven breasts, but it wasn't until I got more educated on breastfeeding and had access to the internet that I found out exactly what the problem was. With child number 3 and 4 I was able to exclusively breastfeed without many problems. Kaelan (#3) I finally realized if I nursed more on my larger breast the one that does not have much milk making issues that I could increase the output to compensate for my lower producing side. We made it to a year when I got pregnant with Chrissy. He weaned shortly after me finding out I was pregnant. My other 3 kids I exclusively breastfed. I had problems early on with slow weight gain, but my supply usually catches up by 6 weeks. Leo I also had supply problems and he wound up in the hospital with failure to thrive by two weeks. I supplemented with him for a while until I was able to get him off of formula.
Natalie is proving to be my most challenging and depressing breastfeeding experience. I resisted supplementing until I seen her going a week stretch at a time without gaining any weight. I also rented a baby scale so I can see how much she takes in. My supply is still low. I have made some improvements, but it is still not where it should be. I do all my measurements in grams which is more precise than ounces, but I will convert for this journal to give perspective.
Initially I was making 28-40 grams (.93 ounces - 1.33 ounces) per feeding and some as low as 10-15 grams (.33 ounces -.5 ounces)per feeding. I am now averaging anywhere from 95 grams (3.16 ounces) high side to 25 grams (.83 ounces) low side.
Things I am doing right now. I am using Domperidone, More Milk Special Blend, and Goat's Rue. I also just started an iron supplement and multi vitamin to see if that will help. I am using an SNS which Natalie hates, but she was quickly resisting the breast with bottle supplements. Every 2 weeks I have done a "nursing sabatical" or as close as I can get to one with 7 kids to see if I can get her off of the formula. Basically I will try it for a few days and if I can't keep her weight up I will go back to the SNS to get her weight up and try it again in a couple weeks. This has been very upsetting and taking an emotional toll on me, but I am kind of stubborn so I keep trying. I also try to do weigh-feed-weigh to determine her intake periodically throughout the day so I can see if I am making progress. I will share my logs in this journal on the days I feel up to it. I have been having a hard time understanding why I was able to overcome supply problems with my other kids and not yet with Natalie. The only thing I can think of is my age. I had 3 early miscarriages before my pregnancy with Natalie so I kind of suspect there may be something off with my hormones, but I can't figure out what and if there is anything I can do to change it. I have had my thyroid levels checked and thus far they have been fine. Not sure what else to check.
Anyhow, that's our story. (PS I am okay with comments in my journal.)
Yesterday we started another "nursing sabatical"/"nursing challenge". I felt really bad, but I wanted to get Natalie nursing more frequently so she did not get any formula during the day. Her weight has been up so I thought she'd be up to it. She was quite fussy and did not nap well at all yesterday, but I accomplished my goal and got her nursing a lot more. By midnight she woke up and nursed for a good hour. At 1am I finally decided to give her a little formula as she has been taking 10-14 ounces a day supplement to keep her weight up. I only planned to give her 1-2 ounces, but the poor girl needed some sleep so I went up to 4 ounces. I figure that dropping from 10-14 ounces supplement to 1-2 might be too much of a cut so I went ahead and gave her 2 more for a total of 4 ounces. I didn't give her any more supplement and she woke up and nursed again around 3 or 4 am.
I know yesterday I tallied all of her breastmilk feeds between 9am and 8pm and she got in 314 grams or 10 1/2 ounces total. I am not sure how much she got overnight as I don't weigh her at night. I know I weighed her in the morning and her weight was a tiny bit up from yesterday so I figured we'd try again today and hope to make some progress. Today's weigh-feed-weighs are not as good as I had hoped, but I think her nursing more last night is why I had less milk this morning. I am going to play it by ear today. I will not supplement during the day, but since it took 4 ounces to keep her weight up I will probably give her 4 ounces again overnight if she wakes up and nurses longer than an hour overnight.
I find that not supplementing can cause her to go on a nursing strike and that makes things worse. If she doesn't get milk coming out she starts to reject the breast so supplementing a little helps to keep her nursing which is imperative to keeping my supply up.
*1:30 pm - 77 grams formula with SNS (2.56 ounces) Since Natalie only took in 6.5 ounces today I went ahead and gave her some formula with an SNS. I am trying to get her to nurse more frequently, not starve her to death. Every time I have to give her formula it gets me upset. Not sure why I haven't got used to it by now. I'm quite stubborn. This time I only gave her 2 1/2 ounces where she has been taking 4 ounces at a time. I am at the very least determined to reduce the amount of supplement back down. We had it steady at 6-8 ounces a day until she hit a growth spurt and it went up to 8-16 ounces a day. I will give her more formula around dinner time and once overnight again aiming to keep it at 6-8 ounces at most of formula today. I really want her weaned completely off, but at the very least I want it back down to where we were. I really am quite mad at my body lately!
Day 3 of our nursing sabbatical. I'm looking to see an increase in my day's total supply. Natalie's weight took a tiny dip and I won't let her lose weight just to keep her EBF. If I don't see a good increase in my output by tomorrow I will bump my supplement back up and try again in a couple weeks. I am trying to offer her both breasts at least twice at every feeding. I'm aiming for a second letdown. Even if she only gets a tiny bit more. I want my breasts to be thoroughly emptied no matter how depressing that empty feeling is. I know that them feeling completely empty and deflated is the trick to making more milk and that feeling full is really not the feeling I should be looking for. This morning I accomplished a second letdown. She only got an additional 6 grams (0.2 ounces), but hey if I got an additional .2 ounces at every feeding that would be an extra 2 ounces for the days total. I'll take any increase I can get right now. I will edit this at the end of the day to include today's totals.
Well my total output was up by 21 grams or 2/3 ounce. It's hard to get excited about that, but I'll take what I can get right now. That's a 6% increase from yesterday and a 10% increase from 2 days ago. I am going to start logging Natalie's weight in here as well as what herbs/foods I am using. Natalie's weight was up today. I suspect it was the 4 oz of formula she got last night, but happy to see her weight up. She was getting a little too sleepy for my comfort level and that weight dip yesterday made me too nervous. I decided instead to only supplement overnight no matter how much it pisses Natalie off during the day. One of our problems is Natalie sleeps really well at night. I'm probably the only mom on the planet complaining about this, but she has been sleeping through the night for a long time and I think this is contributing to my supply problem. By supplementing at night only hopefully I can encourage her to nurse more at night. I tried to do this the night before last, but she still slept through the night even being clearly hungry. So last night I set my alarm instead. She woke up on her own close to midnight. I used the SNS then (and at 8:30 pm). I set my alarm and woke her up at 2am. She only nursed for a short time and sleepy head went back to sleep. She woke up at 3:30am though on her own! Sad to be happy about that and nursed some more. She woke up again at 5am which is close to her normal wake up time. So all in all happy that I accomplished my goal of getting her nursing more at night. We'll see how it affects my supply during the day. I have a feeling my supply may be down.
weight - 10lb 14.1 oz
supplements using today - domperidone, more milk special blend, goat's rue, and barley tea. Forgot to add iron supplement and multi vitamin that I added in.
Goal for the day: I am really, really trying to hit 400 grams (13 1/3 oz) today. That would be a big jump from yesterday, but I am going to really try. Not sure if I can make my body do it, lol, but I wanted to set a goal.
Daily Intake will edit to add
05:22 AM 26 B**
06:00 AM 34 B**
07:02 AM 28 B**
09:14 AM 62 B**
10:16 AM 24 B**
11:28 AM 18 B**
12:23 PM 10 B**
01:17 PM 22 B**
01:55 PM 12 B**
03:37 PM 38 B**
03:54 PM 8 B**
05:50 PM 26 B**
07:02 PM 16 B**
07:52 PM 22 B**
07:56 PM 65 F*
Total - 346 grams breast milk (or 11.53 ounces) Formula 2 ounces
Well, disappointed. My supply was exactly the same yesterday as the day before. Considering I thought it would be down from all the nursing I did the night before I guess it was okay. I did not wind up supplementing as much as I planned to overnight because she didn't demand it. I nursed a TON last night and I heard her sucking and swallowing and she stayed latched on so I think my supply is coming up at night. The only thing is her weight was a tad down this morning. I try not to look at one weight in isolation though. I've been weighing her daily for a long time and even with a ton of supplement on board her weight fluctuates a certain amount daily. Just the same if her weight is not up tomorrow I will be bumping the supplement back up. I feel like my supply is up at night, but I don't weigh at night so it's hard to say for sure how much it is up. This mornings first morning feed she got in 80 grams (2 2/3 ounces) so I think we are off to a good start today. She is smiling, happy, and content at the moment so going from there. I'm hoping the rest of the day will go as well.
Goals - Still aiming for 400 grams during the day and at least 3 night feeds for now. I'd like to get up to 500-600 grams during the day and 3 night feeds, but that I do not to expect to happen quickly.
Supplements/foods I am using - Domperidone, More Milk Special Blend, Goat's Rue, Alfafa, Marshmallow, and Iron Supplement with a Multivitamin. ** I reduced domperidone to 4 pills 3 times a day from 4 pills 4 times a day. Honestly I don't think the domperidone is working for me, but am afraid to cut it out yet. I don't think the More Milk Special Blend is doing anything for me either, but going to continue and finish off the bottle. Goat's Rue is the only one that I think maybe is doing something for me. I added in the Alfafa and Marshmallow yesterday evening to see if it will help.
Weight - 10lb 12.4oz
Daily Intake - will edit and add tomorrow morning.
Yesterday was depressing. Not journaling totals. Not journaling weights. She got almost exactly the same amount as the day before. Although I missed a weight on one of the feedings, but by comparing it to time of day and amount I usually get it wouldn't have made a substantial difference. At best I was up 1/2 ounce. I will probably still weigh today, but tomorrow I will be taking off from doing weigh feed weighs and will supplement as needed. Today I will most likely be bumping the supplement back up. I'm just going to see how things go. If she needs it she will get it. I am going to try not to fret about this. Not much I can do but keep plugging along. I'm not going to have my child starving either. I have figured out some new tricks to make the SNS feel more natural and that is making things much easier for me and Natalie. The one thing I have changed with the SNS though is how much I am giving a feeding. Before I was using it a couple times a day with about 4 ounces at a feeding. Now I am breaking it up and only giving an ounce to two ounces at a feeding, but not at every feeding. Just when I see she needs it. I was planning to return the scale I was renting this month, but I think I will keep it one more month. I want to keep the scale until she is on solids. I kind of think we will be supplementing until we start solids, but who knows. Maybe I'll get lucky and things will improve. Not holding my breath at this point.
Very rough day today. I have decided to stop taking all the herbs and meds I have been taking. They aren't working. Nothing is working. I'm tired of being depressed. I'm tired of my daughter being hungry. I'm just not doing it any more. We will be using the SNS regularly during the day and night going forward. I am not making any further attempts to get her off of the SNS until she is on solids. I am returning the scale soon and I am done living like this. I will be looking through my logs to see how much to supplement and what times she needs supplement and moving forward. I am tired of crying over this and ready to move forward. This has been quite the grieving process for me.