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!