I had my first child 4 months ago. I desperately wanted a natural birth and to ebf. What I got was a csection due to breech presentation and very low supply. After struggling for 2+ months to bf, supplement, and then pump my son's love of the bottle increased and patience for my breast decreased. I now pump 6-7 times per day which results in ~10 ounces. While I have now accepted I will never ebf my son and he is thriving on a combination of formula and beast milk, I would like to hear others suggestions on things I could do prior to pregnancy/delivery as well as immediately following to better increase my odds of an increased supply for a second child.
- Delivery nurse immediately provided me with a shield (saying I had short nipples) which I took in my state of being a first time mom coming out of surgery. Other than a few times, my son was never able to latch without the shield. LC felt that a shield wasn't necessary.
- Used a slow flow Medela bottle for about 8 weeks, but switched due to failure to thrive. The first week my son used Dr Brown bottles he gained 1.5 pounds.
- Eat oatmeal every day and tried several supplements (fenugreek, etc) and find that I do best with Mother's Love More Milk Special Blend. I am small chested and did not get much larger during pregnancy. The Goat's Rue seems to help.
- Was advised by LC to take Reglan or Domperidon. My OB checked my prolactin levels, said I was normal and would not prescribe medication. I was uncertain if it was worth the risk to take medication so I did not fight the issue.
Thank you in advance!!
Re: Second child
Welcome to the forum! I am sorry you had such a rough entry into motherhood. We all go into the mommy thing with high hopes, and I hate it when a mom has her ideal experience turn upside down on her right from the beginning. That being said, it's awesome that you've managed to provide your baby with breastmilk! It takes a lot of dedication to pump for months on end.
Here are some things that might help you the next time around:
- A better birth. Whether that means a VBAC or a repeat c-section is up to you. Either way, you may be able to tweak the experience so that it is easier for you and your next baby. There are plenty of VBAC moms and also plenty of ERCS moms here, and they are a great resource! And just FTR, no pressure, breech baby is one of the best reasons to have a c-section when it comes to having a VBAC, since breech is considered a "non-recurring" issue, one which implies nothing non-reassuring about your ability to have a vaginal birth.
- Avoid the nipple shield. I know they hand them out like candy corn at a lot of hospitals, but they can be a poison pill for a lot of nursing moms. Most babies can latch on just fine, regardless of how short or long mom's nipples are. If you need a shield, that's okay- they are useful tools for moms who need them! But don't get suckered into using one on your very first nursing attempt.
- Avoid routine separation from your baby. If you have a vaginal birth and you and baby are both healthy after delivery, have the baby born right up onto your bare chest. All routine newborn procedures (weighing, measuring, bath, eye ointment, etc.) can wait for you and baby to have a chance to nurse and bond, and babies warm up best when skin-to-skin with mom. If you have a repeat c-section, you may be able to keep baby with you during your recovery. I know c-section babies often end up being taken to the nursery and bathed before being given back to mom, but you can say "no" to the bath or at least have the nurses not wash the baby's hands. Apparently the smell of amniotic fluid on the baby's hands can help him/her find his way to the breast, which has a familiar smell.
- Room in with your baby. Moms who room in learn their babies' nursing cues more rapidly than moms who send their babies to the nursery, and there is less danger that a "helpful" nurse will slip your baby a bottle of formula or a pacifier so that you can get some sleep. Also, many babies who stay in the nursery are not brought to their moms until they are frantic with hunger, and frantic babies often resist latching.
- If you do send your baby to the nursery, make a sign for his/her bassinet that says "I am a BREASTFED baby. NO BOTTLES OR PACIFIERS, PLEASE! Bring me to my mom every time I cry, or every 2 hours during the day and every 3 at night, if I do not."
- Avoid all artificial nipples (bottles or pacis) unless medically necessary. Artificial nipples can screw up a new baby's ability to latch, since a baby needs zero latching skills to feed from a bottle or suck on a paci.
- Do not supplement with formula unless medically necessary. Supplemental feedings delay the onset of milk production, and can lead to low supply.
- Make sure you have the number of a good IBCLC, and call immediately if you run into trouble.
- Find a breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician. Your local LLL is a good way to find one. You want someone who knows the difference between normal breastfed baby jaundice and problematic jaundice, who is familiar with the weight gain, excretion, and feeding patterns of breastfed babies, and who doesn't push formula on you as the solution to every problem!
- If you have the same supply issue the second time round- and you very well may not, if baby nurses effectively, make sure you get the following: a good IBCLC, a terrific pump (hospital-grade rental is best), a Lact-aid or supplemental nursing system to allow you to feed baby at the breast, the same supplements you've used this time, and I personally would at least try Reglan or Domperidone. I would also make sure the doc checked my thyroid function (thyroid problems are common on postpartum women and can cause supply issues).