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My birth experience was long and traumatic. I was induced at 41weeks 6 days. It was a Thursday morning, and baby girl did not come into the world until 4:33pm on Saturday afternoon, via c-section. I was absolutely exhausted, and had a newborn baby.
The first few weeks were incredibly difficult. Avery had a huge weight loss (dropped from 8lb 5oz to 7lb 1oz) and everyone was concerned. I did my best to keep breastfeeding her, but I had a sleepy baby who had trouble staying awake to get the calories she needed.
I used all the resources I could. Kellymom.com, this board (thank you ladies!), the public health nurses, and my local La Leche League. Still, at 3.5 weeks old baby girl was still not gaining.
I was sent to the city to see a breast feeding specialist (a pediatrician who was also a lactation consultant), and she told me I needed to start supplementing right away, with enriched breast milk or enriched formula. I was devastated. I felt like as a woman I could not provide for my baby, and it was very hard to take. I was also prescribed a drug to help increase my milk.
We started to supplementing with a syringe, and tried a feeding tube as well, but in the end it was just too cumbersome. So, for the past couple weeks, baby girl gets offered a bottle after breastfeeding. She took anywhere from .5oz to 2oz after feeding at the breast. The specialist said to use medium flow nipples (saying that a baby who needs the calories should not have to work hard to be nourished). I shared with her that I was so afraid to ruin breastfeeding- and she said it wouldn't. That it is just theory- and in my case she was right.
After I began to supplement, I had a different baby on my hands. It was a HUGE relief. In a way I felt like I shouldn't give her the bottle, but she has no problem going from breast to bottle to pacifier and back, and I am so glad I did it. I wish I had done it sooner. Poor baby was just so hungry. I now have a baby who is growing well and sooooo much happier now that she has a full belly.
Avery does not always take the bottle either. 2 of her 3 feedings overnight last night were just breastfeeding. I can feel the drug working- my breasts to start to feel heavier when it has been a while, especially at night time, so the drug is working. It looks like I won't have to supplement forever either- I just need to keep at it.
I just wanted to post this for other women who might be faced with supplementing. I felt so upset and defeated about it, like my body was broken, like breastfeeding was over, but it is not. Don't feel bad that you have to supplement- just remember that what is important is a healthy baby who is growing and well nourished- no matter how that nourishment gets to them! 5 years from now, no one will know if the baby was breast fed, bottle fed formula, or a combination of the two, so give yourself a break and do what is best for your baby
I should add a post to say that after about 4 weeks of supplementing after every breastfeed, Avery began to refuse the supplement, and has not had any since 7 weeks old. She is now over 6 months and over 18lbs, and still going strong on the breast.
So my story serves to remind mamas that just beccause you have to supplement does not mean you will have to forever!
Proud mama to:
Avery Elizabeth (08/27/2011) & Dawsyn Brielle (10/29/2013)