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The post on breast feeding

Calder was born at 36 weeks. He didn't latch properly. He would suck a couple times and "fall off".  We began finger feeding him at the hospital and continued this at home for a couple of weeks before switching him over to the bottle. All this time I pumped and we tried to breast feed. I went to the Breast Feeding Center more times than I can count and were eventually referred to a speech pathologist to help us with Calder's suck. Around the 3 month mark at our follow-up appointment with the speech path, Calder and I attempted to breast feed to show her how we were doing. I put Calder on my right side. He took a couple of big swigs before choking and pulling off. Milk was spraying from my breast - and this was only an hour after I had pumped 5 ounces from that side. The speech pathologist looked at us sympathetically. I am sure they are trained never to say, "It's time to quit," but when she didn't have any new suggestions to try, I took her silence as just that. That was the last time I attempted to breast feed Calder.  I felt like it was a lost caused. I pumped for a couple more weeks before stopping that as well. Fortunately for Calder, we had milk in the freezer to feed him until he was just shy of 6 months. I was devastated to quit, but I just couldn't do it anymore. There were no more solutions and no end in sight. Pumping both sides, 8 times a day is really hard.

Boone, on the other hand, latched well right from the start. Once my milk came in he did a lot of choking and sputtering as well. I just have so much milk and a super fast let down. I did a lot of reading online about my supply and found THIS article that really helped me. I went to the breast feeding center again around the one month mark. It was useless. I knew WAY more than the consultant did about over supply. I was completely frustrated.

In my Calder vs Boone post I said that the hardest thing about bringing Boone home was my recovery. Breast feeding was a big part of this. To begin with I get VERY engorged. In fact, the lactation consultant told me that she has never seen engorgement as bad as mine. It is very painful because I am swollen, but also because it is impossible to get a good latch when I am that swollen. To give you an idea of how swollen I am, at week 3 I pumped 9 ounces off of one side. Boone would have been eating 2 - 3 ounces at this time.

I had heard someone say that at 2 weeks things will get better. They didn't. Someone else said it will be good by 6 weeks. It wasn't. It actually wasn't until the 2 month mark that I felt like I was going to make it. Up to that point, I thought I might have to quit. Breast feeding was painful and I felt very unsuccessful at it. Besides losing Tripp, breast feeding is the hardest thing I have ever done. I am still have over supply issues, it isn't perfect, but am getting better at dealing with it.  I am glad I persevered.

I think the most maddening part of breast feeding Boone was the realization that the lactation consultants did the opposite of help me with breast feeding Calder. They were actually part of the problem. They should have known about the research article I had read and used that to help me with my over supply. They should have been telling me to pump less (Calder would eat 3 ounces a feed at the start and I would be pumping 6) instead of telling me to pump both sides at every feed. I really feel like they are partly responsible for my failure. I trusted they knew what was best and they didn't.  

The good news is that this time around I took my supply issues into my own hands. There were many tears and many moments of feeling like I wasn't going to make it, but at 3 months I can say every tear was worth it. Boone is breast feeding!

Comments

  1. Way to go, Jordan! Although I don't think my supply is as crazy as yours, I also have a fast letdown & have no problems supplying enough milk for Rachel. I have experienced clogged ducts about three times with Rachel (ouch!), and the Kellymom.com website was my go-to source of information on how to get it worked out. Keep at it - it's free & so convenient!!!

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  2. I pretty much only trust Kelly mom and Dr. Jack Newman for bfing advice (strange to trust a person without mammary glands but he definitely knows his stuff!). I think we need to do a much better job at training nurses, doctors, and LCs to recognize issues and provide optimal solutions. I can not believe someone told you to pump at every feeding! That is the WORST advice for someone with excess supply, since in the first couple months our supply/demand mechanisms are working themselves out and the more you 'demand' the more supply. STUPID ADVICE...and from an LC?!?! terrible:(

    I am so proud of you for making it work!!! breastfeeding is NOT easy, and that is why I get so discouraged with the amount of failure to bf successfully. If women knew more what to expect and realized that bfing is NOT a walk in the park but it is what is best for mom and baby, then I think more people would be successful. I think many women give up because they think it should be easy and they are personally failing because for them it is not.
    I have suffered excess supply, fast and delayed let down, multiple cases of thrush, a tongue tied baby, and the initial cracked nipples with every single one of my 4 babies ('they' always say it should never hurt...um...my sisters and I agree that it actually does in the initial stages so I always tell mom's that they shouldn't worry if it does a bit).
    Congrats on making the 3 months mark! It just gets easier from her on Jordan! Breastmilk is a gift from nature and it is the best thing we can do for ourselves and our children nutritionally.

    Keep it up!!!!

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  3. I'm so glad your breastfeeding is going well with Boone now! I love nursing my babe so much and it breaks my heart when it doesn't work out for others for any reason.

    I had a bit of over supply issues when I first started too. It doesn't sound like mine was as bad as yours, but it effected latching on several occasions when I was totally engorged. I had a lactation specialist just tell me to either pump before she ate, just to take off a bit of the excess or just a warm cloth on the girls to ease it off a bit... the only problem with the latter was that after I figured it had eased up a bit I couldn't stop myself from continuing to leak! I needed an on/off switch! Heh, but I guess that's what breast pads are for :)

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  4. Clogged ducts suck, Becky! I have had 2 with Boone - I feel your pain!

    Kelly Mom website has been my main resource, other than the journal article I found. It is an
    amazing site - I totally agree! I will have to check that other one out, Kelly!

    I actually forgot to mention that I ate a lot of sage in the first 6 weeks. I mixed it with peanut butter and ate multiple teaspoons a day. When I wanted more bang for my buck (and a bit less peanut butter), I got some sage pills (normally used for menopausal women). These DEFINITELY worked. I really had to watch how many and when I took them because once I had to give Boone a bottle because I was dry (plenty of milk in the fridge though!). I eventually got the right balance of sage, but wanted my body to figure it out without the sage, so I weaned myself off - still had too much milk at that point, but at least it was manageable!

    I only pumped before feeds when I was rock solid. I was so fearful that if I pumped even an ounce off my body would think it needed more milk. I would let Boone get things going and when he pulled off chocking, I would let some run off into a towel. I know what you mean about a faucet and needing a switch, Annie!

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  5. I cannot BELIEVE the lactation consultants told you to pump so much! What terrible advice! I guess if you want to give them the benefit of the doubt, they are most used to dealing with under supply issues, so they are just not as familiar with over supply issues, but still...

    And thank you so much for posting that article! With my first kid I pumped off just a bit before feeding so he wouldn't have to deal with the initial strong let down, but with subsequent babies I just dealt with the pain and let my body self-regulate, plus I hated washing the pump. But with my current baby I am going to try the suggestions in the article.

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