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BF problems... (warning... long)

Forum: Pregnancy and Motherhood After Loss


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June 23rd, 2009, 10:12 PM
Mommy2Makenna's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,070

I haven't caught up with everyoneís posts. (It's been really busy around here). I just wanted to update you on some issues we are having with breast feeding. I know we have a lot of educated people around here, so if you have any suggestions or comments, I'd love to hear them. Here is our story so far...

We left the hospital and I felt OK about my knowledge and how Makenna and I were doing with breast feeding. I knew we both had a lot to learn, but I was feeling confident. Before we left the hospital, the lactation consultant observed a feeding, and gave me 2 thumbs up. She had no suggestions for me, indicating we had good latch, good positioning, good sucking and swallowing, etc. I had a hard time hearing the swallowing, but the LC said she heard it clearly and when she pointed it out to me, I thought I heard it too.

We got home and we continued doing our thing. By day 2 (night 3), I was pretty exhausted and Makenna was up all night. She would feed and then 10 minutes after feeding she would continue to show signs of wanting to suck. I wasn't sure if it was a reflex for her, or if she was trying to indicate she was still hungry. This behavior only happened in the middle of the night. The next day (day 3), she was quite calm after feedings and went to sleep pretty quickly. That night the same thing happened, but the next day (yesterday), she was "good".

Yesterday was the pediatrician appt. We went to the appointment and they weighed her. Her birth weight was 8lbs 14oz, and at the appointment (day 4) she weighed 7lbs 13.5oz. That was a loss of more than 10%. The pediatricianís lactation consultant came in and talked to me for a few minutes. She asked me if my milk was in and I indicated it was not. I went ahead and scheduled a consultation with the LC for the next day (today).

Last night I gave in and I gave her a pacifier after eating because she was acting the same as the couple nights before. I couldn't understand why I had one "baby" during the day and a different one at night.

Today I went to the LC. First thing she asked is if my milk was in. I told her that I had no indication that it was. She weighed Makenna and she was now 7lbs 10.0oz. She had lost another 3.5 oz in just one day. The LC asked me to express some of the colostrum onto my breast. I told her I have tried, and have only had luck once. She helped me and immediately was able to express. (I just didn't know the right way to do it). When she expressed, it wasn't colostrum, it was creamy white milk. I was surprised. My milk HAD come in. She weighed Makenna and we began a session of feeding. During the feeding she indicated that she wasn't seeing any swallowing. She weighed her again (in grams) and she actually LOST during the feeding. She was expending more calories than she was getting. I began to cry. My poor baby was starving. We began right away to supplement with formula.

We talked about options. She said that 4-5% of woman are unable to produce (or produce enough) breast milk and sometimes they can figure out why and other times they cant. She talked about ways to try to increase my milk. I only heard half of what she said because I was just so emotional. I felt guilty that my baby was not getting what she needed the last 4 days. I felt responsible that my body was not doing what it was supposed to be doing. I felt helpless. We discussed options.

We decided that I would go home and supplement with formula through a tube while breastfeeding so that Makenna could continue to stimulate my breasts to produce milk, get what little milk of mine she could but still get fed. By the time I got home from my appointment, it was time to do it again. My DH helped with the process. It was so awkward. We needed to try to get her to spend 15 minutes on each breast, and in the meantime, anytime we had the tube in, she was sucking it up very quickly. We had no idea how much breast milk she was getting, but we knew how much formula she was getting.

DH and I discussed it afterwards and we decided that we would go ahead and feed Makenna her formula through a bottle, and I would go buy a manual pump to try and stimulate my breasts to make more milk. We also figured that with this process, we could see exactly how much milk I was producing. I have pumped twice now. The first session, I got a total of 6ml and the last session I got 4ml. Itís not much milk at all! I have been referred back to my midwife to get my thyroid checked. She asked if I had PCOS. I told her that I had multiple cysts on my ovaries when I was in my early twenties, but had never been diagnosed with PCOS. I have small breasts (especially for the size of my body) and evidently my breasts are widely spaced Ė another bad indicator for me.

So, it looks like I will be able to provide very little milk (at best) for my sweet baby girl. I was so disappointed and was bawling in the LCís office. I am just so full of emotions. This just isnít what I had planned. I feel cheated that I wonít get the same bonding experience with my little girl that I had expected.

In the end, I know the most important thing is that my little girl is here with me (despite all of my fears that I would never get here!) and it REALLY doesnít matter if she is breast fed or bottle/formula fed. I know I can have a wonderful relationship with her in any of the scenarios, but Iím still just sad. I donít know how long I will keep up the pumping Ė right now it doesnít seem worth it, but Iím keeping a little hope that somehow we can figure out what is going on or maybe Iím just one of the few women who donít really get their full milk supply in for close to 10 days.

Anyway, if you made it all the way to the end of this post, thanks for hanging with me. I will try and catch up with you ladies sometime soon. I need to get more pictures and share with you too. Thanks, in advance, for your support!

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June 23rd, 2009, 10:24 PM
Brittanie's Avatar just me
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Littleton, CO
Posts: 43,573
First of all, you can get a great bonding experience with her even while formula feeding. I switched Erin from bf to ff at 6 months, and one of the reasons I waited as long as I did (nursing through blistering sores for months) was because I thought I'd lose that. I was surprised to find that it was still there.

Secondly, a pump, especially a manual one, is NOT as good as a baby for getting milk. And you shouldn't expect a lot of milk right now because her stomach is still very small (one of the reasons they need to eat so often is because they don't eat as much in one feeding). You also won't get as much stimulation from a pump as you will from her. If you're going to give her formula from a bottle, then I would try to nurse her FIRST, and then give her the bottle.

Try not to get too discouraged honey. Getting stressed will make the whole thing worse. I took fenugreek for a while when I went back to work with Erin, and it seemed to work too.

And in the end, if you have to give up the bf idea...know that you gave it your best shot. That's all that anyone can ask, right? You're a wonderful mother.
Thanks to babydoll213 for the siggy! My kids' blog Cora's blog

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June 24th, 2009, 06:10 AM
IAMommy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 5,318
Sacha....I agree with everything Brittanie said.....

I think the best way to express milk is 1) by baby...their techniqe can not be duplicated 2) electric pump....because of the power 3) manual pump and last 4)hand expression.

Give yourself plenty of time to build your supply up, you are doing a great job.

If you do go completely bottle, you will still get the bonding time. Yesterday, dh had to feed Cecil by bottle while I was recovering, and I noticed that he did all the little movement and eye contact with dh using the botttle as he did with me and the breast. PLUS, dh can get some bonding time with Makenna too if you bottl feed, and if he is at all like Travis, he will love it!

Hugs for you....it will all come together in time....and we would LOVE to see some newer pics of your little sweetie whenever you get the time!
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June 24th, 2009, 09:31 AM
~Angela~'s Avatar Mommy to 3
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Upstate New York
Posts: 5,518
I'm so sorry your having such a hard time. I went through the supplementing with a cup for a while. I never did make enough for my baby, and always had to supplement.....I did have a thyroid problem. If your determined, I agree with the girls above, but don't let it run you down. The important thing is quality time with your little girl with you not being stressed and miserable.
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June 24th, 2009, 09:43 AM
Pitridge's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 10,074
I agree with what Sam and Brittanie said, I do agree that the best way to express milk is Alex was not gaining weight for the first couple of week. I thought as you that I was starving him and I did not know what to do. I did not give in into formula because it got better, he started gaining weight and bf got better for us too. One thing that they told us at the Hospital is that because they have the sucking instinct to put your index finger in their month and let her suck on that. It's not the best option for 3am but it was the only thing that helped with Alex, we did not give him a pacifier until he was a month old at least. Don't stress out, drink lots of fluids, and get plenty of rest, I did notice that when I did this my milk supply was higher.

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June 24th, 2009, 10:00 AM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Upstate SC
Posts: 4,443
No advice just wanted to giv you hugs.

http://stitchingthroughlife.blogspot.com/ my cross stitch blog, my outlet.
http://chriscrossdesigns.blogspot.com/ my Cross Stitch Designs

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June 24th, 2009, 11:10 AM
dee68's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Illinois ( originally From New Jersey:)
Posts: 13,040
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I couldn't BF Katie.....we switched to formula 100% around 6 weeks.....
we bonded just FINE.....my LC made me feel bad about it, but I did what was best for ME and MY baby....

big to you hon...
I know it is tough and if formula feeding is the way to go, do NOT feel bad about it

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June 24th, 2009, 03:28 PM
megal40's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,853
It is such an emotional situation. You will do what is best for your daughter. Every mom does. I had a girlfriend who decided to just pump since her baby had a hard time with latching on. She had a automatic pump and did it (along with FF) for about 6 months. My LC was great and always told me to remember one ounce is better than none and 1 month is better than one week. Whatever you are able to produce for your DD is great.

Try to take a deep breath and enjoy your time with your girl.

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June 24th, 2009, 03:49 PM
L-SBB's Avatar Bťbť Cowgirl
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 9,810
i just wanted to give you HUGS too! i agree with everyone else...do what you're able to and don't worry about giving her formula if you need to. I hope it gets easier for you soon!

Savannah Stylin!

Remembered Forever with Love
10/13/2008 (@9w2d) 10/18/2011 (@8w5d) 2/12/2012 (@4w3d) 8/13/2012 (@10w3d)
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June 24th, 2009, 04:36 PM
kellyanne's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Washington
Posts: 1,960
I'm so sorry that BF isn't going well, Sacha. Even though it feels like you were starving her, remember that she was getting some colostrum, which is really important. I've had difficulties this time too, for the opposite reason...too much milk and I was gagging her. So, I've used bottles so much more this time than with Cori. It makes me kinda sad, but I agree with Sam, DH loves getting feeding time too. Also, I feel like I bond better with her when she is happily drinking from a bottle than when I am struggling to get her to latch. Luckily, things are starting to resolve for me now that she is getting older and she is successfully nursing way more often. I hope that the same will happen for you. Try fenugreek, mother's milk tea, or whatever else your LC might suggest. Also, drink plenty of water. Good luck and please don't feel like you are failing her in any way if you do eventually decide to go to formula completely. Makenna is a lucky girl to have a mommy who is so concerned for her well-being!

3 angels Feb, Mar, Aug of 2008
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June 24th, 2009, 04:59 PM
DoulaMama's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Florida
Posts: 9,159
The pump is not good enough to be properly stimulating your breasts to pruduce at this point. A manual pump is not very effective at all. Rent or buy a electric double pump- the medela pump in style is awesome. It is expensive, but your baby is priceless!

Start doing things to help stimulate your breasts. Bottle feeding is not one of those. Use the supplimenter at your breast. I know it is hard, but it is worth it.

Eat foods that stimulate milk production. You should be drinking 16 OR MORE full 8oz glasses of water per day- double the 8 oz reccomended normally. Eat oatmeal- it stimulates production. Fenugreek capsules can be bought at the health food store, and they are good for milk production. There are also good teas- traditional medicinals is a brand I like to reccomend.

Visit kellymom.com > the breastfeeding site that is likely the best source of info on the web.

Relax, destress. Eat good carbs and lots of protein. Believe in yourself, and your baby.
Cheryl, mama to Noah Paul born 12/26/09, wife to wonderful hubby Rob
I am proudly a homebirthing, excluively breastfeeding from the tap, constantly babywearing, bed sharing, attached mama to a high needs baby. He is a part time diaper-free baby!

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June 24th, 2009, 08:42 PM
klt klt is offline
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 4,233
I'm so sorry bf isn't going as you planned. Your experience sounds sooo much like my experience with Joey (except I also had 2 infections with high fevers...ugh) In the end, I chose to switch to ff. And, it turned out to be the right decision for us. So, do what you can...everyone's advise is fantastic. But, if, in the end bf isnt what ends up being your decision...that's OK. There is nothing wrong with the decision you make.

I hope things get better. Keep us posted. And, I hope you get some sleep tonight! Thinking of you and your beautiful little miracle!
Kelty---Mom of 4 boys!

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June 25th, 2009, 08:23 AM
Mommy2Makenna's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,070
Thanks for all of the replies and words of encouragement. It really helps. After a few feedings of formula added to what I was able to pump, Makenna got her strength back. I'm now able to get her to latch and get a little breast milk on her own and I then suplement formula. I've started taking More Milk by Motherlove. We are hoping that will help stimulate more milk production. I will keep doing this for a while and see what we get. It is amazing how different she acts now - she is very laid back even in the middle of the night. Before I knew what the problem was, she was just frantic. We have a weight check scheduled for tomorrow so we can check her progress.
Thanks again ladies.... I'm posting another link with some pictures of my sweet little ladybug.

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June 25th, 2009, 08:54 AM
Pitridge's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 10,074
Was she not latching on before? I couldn't get Alex to latch on correctly, my nipples were so sore that I did not want to feed him, I hated feeding time. The LC ended up giving me a nipple shield and that made all the difference. I just want to say, don't get discourage about bf, any little bit that you do will help your milk supply. Have you gone to La Leche Leage webpage, they also have a forum and the girls there are very nice and helpful.
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June 25th, 2009, 12:51 PM
mom 2 haley & tyler's Avatar formerly mommy2haley17
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: TX
Posts: 8,212
Sacha, I don't have any advice just wanted to give you

I hope the bf gets easier for you. If you do have to switch to formula, don't worry about it. Both my kids have been strictly formula fed and are perfectly healthy and in the 90% of their height and weight. Plus I loved feeding them. Even though I didn't bf, our bond is wonderful.

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June 25th, 2009, 03:57 PM
NeeshBoogie's Avatar Super Mommy
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 586
Just wanted to offer my
My situation was almost identical to yours, down to my son losing what I thought was an ungodly amount of weight to me supplementing with some formula and hating myself for it as though I was poisoning my child almost as soon as I birthed him.

Anything you can do to relax and take good care of yourself (and, in turn, your baby) will help the process. Everyone kept telling me "drink lots of fluids," but it was my son's pediatrician who said I should drink 2 glasses of orange juice with calcium and vitamin d, 2 glasses of milk, 2 glasses of water and 2 glasses of a juice of my choice DAILY. THAT really helped because it put some numbers to "lots of fluids" and it was something I could track. My supply has increased quite a bit and now I'm pumping (with a manual pump) for work days and nursing on days I'm off.

Whatever you end up doing will be the right thing as long as you give it your absolute best.

Thank you Mod-MommaTrish for my gorgeous siggy!!!

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