Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our breastfeeding journey to date

I've recently had a couple of questions about breastfeeding and inducing, as in how I did it. So, I thought I'd give the specifics, in addition to an update about how we're doing now.

As far as preparing, I did the Newman-Goldfarb protocol (this website or  this blog post gives more info on that). In short, it involved birth control pills and the medicine domperidone (not widely available in the US) for more than a year. When we knew we'd been chosen by R, I stopped the bcp and started pumping. A few days later, I started taking fenugreek and blessed thistle (which is part of the Newman protocol) with each meal. I found if I took as much as was recommended of the blessed thistle, it upset my stomach, so I cut back on that, and increased the fenugreek (it was supposed to be 3 of each, but now I do 4 and 1, respectively). I continue to take the domperidone 30mg, 3x/day.

When I started pumping, I did it 4-5x/day, but not at night. I kind of wish I had as I wonder if it might have been more successful. Of course there's no way to know for sure. When baby E was born, I was only getting drops when I pumped (it had been less than 2wks of pumping at that time). It wasn't enough to even consider saving. After he was born, I nursed exclusively until he was about 6 weeks old (here's the post about his first bottle).  Since then, he's had bottles only at the sitter's, and sometimes 1 at night.

(This was when he was about a week old. You can see the SNS. And, oh my - he was so tiny!)

As far as being successful overall with producing milk, I've been really disappointed. At first I think I was producing .5-1oz/feeding. Of course there's no way to know for sure, but that seems about right. Once I went back to work and started pumping, I was getting only ml/pumping session (like 2-3ml total). That's now up to generally 3-5ml, though the last couple days have been back down to 2-3ml (I think because I've quit drinking Mothers' Milk tea and eating oatmeal, not intentionally, just kinda happened). I like to think baby E gets more than that when he actually nurses, but who knows. I tend to combine what I pump for a couple of days, until there's a half ounce or so, and then put it all in 1 feeding.

I read another blog where the mom induced (with not much notice so I don't think she even did the whole protocol) and though the baby's only about 3wks old, she's only having to supplement about 4oz per day! I am amazed, and - honestly- totally and completely jealous of her. Here's her blog, if you're interested in checking it out.

If I had it to do over again (and I really hope I do - pretty please, hubby, we need a 3rd baby!), here's what I'd do differently: pump at night before baby comes. That's it. I really feel like I've done everything I possibly could have to make it successful. I consulted with a lactation consultant several times, took the meds much longer than recommended, nursed exclusively longer than many mommas, and pumped 2x/day at work even though it seems pointless. I really don't think there's anything else I could have done - though if you can think of something, please let me know!

And even knowing that, I am disappointed. I so wanted to get at least a substantial supply. I wanted to be able to feed my baby at least occasionally without the SNS. I get mad, really, when I see/hear about moms like the one in that blog up there, who are able to do it without supplementing. I mean, sure, I'm happy for them, but really, I feel angry and jealous that I can't do that, too. Infertility strikes again. My body couldn't even do all this right. It's disheartening and frustrating.

Time to let go of this pity party and move on. Mostly because I have to go find baby E who's crawled off somewhere to get into something. Do you know that baby just started creeping along the couch??!!!??! Crap y'all!!!!! This is totally new! Last week he couldn't pull himself to stand and today he's going along furniture and climbing over things! I am so in for it...

Today's lesson - Superman has a rainbow cape. And long curly eyelashes. And heat-o-vision eyes. And he, too, still wears a pull-up at night, too. True story. So says the 5 year old at least...


Lechelle said...

I thought that Boston wasn't getting much at the end and it discouraged me and was one motivation to stop. When I did stop, he suddenly needed so much more formula to compensate for what he had lost breastfeeding, I had no idea that he was getting so much from me because what I pumped didn't seem significant but what he actually got straight from the boob was apparently a lot more than I thought. I hope E is getting more than you think he is.

I'm so sorry you have been disappointed with it. I think what you have done is amazing and something to be very proud of. <3

Becky said...

Thank you, Lechelle :) Even though I *knew* I would never get enough to EBF, my heart still harboured the hope. It is what it is and I'm choosing to let go of the sadness I have and just be grateful for what we've accomplished.

Dorothy Hoppe said...

I think that you even BF is AMAZING! Really, you took the time to research to realize it was possible, you take medication to help, you do this to give your baby the very best possible food.

I wish I had started reading this blog and baby E had been born before I stopped pumping. I generally only made just enough for M, but, I had had some extra toward at about 12 months when I was switching him to cows milk so I could stop pumping at work. Now he's almost 2 and a half and slowly weaning from nursing altogether...