Breastfeeding Woes Continue

I stepped on the scale with E on Friday to find that he has lost weight in the past two weeks. Half a pound. That’s as much as he gained last month! Assuming that it’s supply-related (as it was when he was a newborn), I started trying to nurse him more often to “up” supply. Well, that threw everything off, since he was basically snacking, and our naps went out the window too. So we tried giving him a few ounces of formula at each feeding to make up for the snack-y meals. (Which I hate to do).

Then on Monday I had to be away for the morning, and pumped three times while I was gone, with about three hours in between each. And ended up with a TOTAL of seven ounces. TOTAL. Meanwhile, E had been having six ounce bottles each time at home.

E has always taken significantly more from a bottle than I have been able to pump, and would eat even more if we would let him. So we just judge bottles on what I know about feeding/swallowing as a speech-language pathologist, which is that babies should have about an ounce per month of age (until 8 ounces/months) (i.e. About six ounces now).

I took E in to the doctor yesterday, and she said he seems fine and we’ll check back in a couple weeks at his six month appointment. I’ll admit, he does SEEM fine physically. He looks okay (albeit slim), is happy, plays, and is developmentally on-track. But that doesn’t change the crazy small amount that I pumped the other day. So is there a supply issue? Is he on a downward slope now? And, to top it all off, E is now refusing the breast after having been getting so many bottles. (Besides the formula ones the other day, I started pumping between feedings and giving it to him after he breastfeeds to try to help supply.) Do I have to continue pumping between feedings if I want to keep supply up? E is nursing several times on each side to try to satisfy him. Poor guy.

It has all left me feeling like such a failure… Nearly the same way I felt about infertility. I am biologically supposed to be able to do this! And what does it say about me if I can’t? Was I even supposed to have a baby? I mean, evolutionarily speaking, I wouldn’t have. I know it’s quite a bit dramatic, but that is where I went in my head. I’m not ready to be done breastfeeding him. As stressful as it is at times, I love it, and I love being able to do that for him.

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10 thoughts on “Breastfeeding Woes Continue

  1. Valerie says:

    Big {{hugs}} to you, hon. We all feel that concern and feeling of failure at some point (sometimes, multiple times!) 😛
    I would love to direct you to a website…forums, really…called the Baby Whisperer: http://www.babywhispererforums.com/index.php?board=83.0 Their FAQ sections are amazing! The information and experience of these women is so encouraging. 😀
    Please continue to look at how your little one acts and looks, instead of just the scale (I know, impossible). But it does sound like you may need to do something in regards to his feeding schedule. Particularly if you are wanting to continue nursing. Have a look at some of the FAQ’s, I think they could really help. ❤

    • thebings says:

      I have been on their forums for sleep training; I’ll have to look at the ones about breastfeeding. Thanks!
      E eats about every 3 1/2 to 4 hours during the day.. He has a pretty great eat, activity, sleep schedule (EASY schedule). So the last couple days I’ve been trying to pump in between too. What did you mean about his schedule? Any suggestions?

      • Valerie says:

        Oh, good! So you are familiar with the forums – that’s great! 😀
        I just meant that his breast/bottle frequency might need changing if you’re finding he is refusing breast.

      • thebings says:

        Definitely. He is taking the breast much better after only a couple feedings without a bottle. Now to figure out how to up supply too! 🙂 Thanks for your suggestions!

      • Valerie says:

        Good to hear!
        I have a page on my blog with lots of breastfeeding info, including links to MANY articles/posts, and there are a few on upping your milk supply. http://atlantamomofthree.net/breastfeeding-rocks/

  2. MrsT says:

    I can’t be much help with the breastfeeding because Noah stopped breastfeeding at 6 months…he lost interest and just wouldn’t take from the breast anymore… but I can tell you that if you want an alternative to formula check into goats milk. I was one of those that pumped enough to store up but when we started to run out Noah’s doc recommended goats milk as an alternative to formula. Surpisingly they sell it everywhere…Trader Joes, Publix and Kroger too. It is a little pricey but Noah did great with it. There is tons of information out there about it and I think you should look into it if you are feeling bad about using formula.
    And please don’t feel like a failure. You’re a good mommy. You are giving little E everything he needs. Don’t be so hard on yourself you’re doing a great job!

    • thebings says:

      Thanks for the idea! I wish there wasn’t so much pressure out there to breastfeed. I know how important it is, and that some people really need to eat that message, but the rest of us have enough to worry about! 🙂

  3. Please find an IBCLC to work with!

    • thebings says:

      We met with the lactation consultants at the hospital where E was born in his first few weeks when he wasn’t gaining back any weight and the doctor was having us supplement. I just didn’t find them very helpful! They were very reassuring, but not very solution-oriented. (And maybe that’s because we would’ve been fine doing what we were doing if the doctor hadn’t freaked out.) But a solution is what I’m looking for…

      • Those weren’t IBCLCs then. Hospital nurses who have LC training are nowhere near as good as an experienced IBCLC. If you contact your local LLL they should have a recommendation for you. The book The Breastfeeding Mothers Guide to Making More Milk is really good. And, I’m willing to help you try to figure out what’s going on via email.

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