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Thread: On a breastfeeding ledge...

  1. #1
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    Mar 2012
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    Default On a breastfeeding ledge...

    I've made it to 3 months of breastfeeding and I feel like I am going to crack. This has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done, and so far it doesn't look like it's going to get easier. I go back to work on Wednesday, and both fear but partly hope that will give me a reason to quit (even though I really don't want to).

    I have supply regulation issues...oversupply with the pump, undersupply and an unhappy baby without it. My supply is low right now, so maybe that's why I am too. I take herbs and drink my water, but even after weaning slowly from the pump after a bout of oversupply, my milk levels tank and then I have to pump to get them back up again, and so the cycle continues. Unfortunately, my baby doesn't really get that job done, even after multiple nursing vacations. I would have thought that by this time, with 3 months of nursing under our belt, she could regulate it more effectively, but I guess not.

    Just the other day, another woman on the forum posted that she was going to stop breastfeeding and I felt so sad for her, and especially her baby. But I honestly completely understand. There are days I think long and hard about heading out to the store for some formula and calling it day, but I know I would regret it. My daughter was premature, so I feel like I need to give her every advantage, and I know formula just isn't the best thing for her.

    On top of that, I know breastfeeding is convenient. We just took a family trip to California and it was so easy not to have to worry about bringing along food. Even after we lost the diaper bag (yeah, that happened), there was no panic moment about how we were going to feed her. I felt like supermom, just for about 10 seconds though.

    But then there are days like today when I want to cry, because it takes an hour plus to satisfy her, every two hours, day and night. I am obsessed with the nursing scale we have, and it elates me when my daughter has gained well but makes me feel like a failure if she gains less than 7 ounces a week. I haven't slept for more than 3 hours straight since the day I gave birth. And soon, when I go back to my job where I work nights and barely sleep during the day as it is, I don't know how to sustain that without losing my sanity. Not to mention, that during my 12+ hour shifts as a RN, sometimes there just may not be an opportunity to pump, and then what will I do? Not being able to supply the food makes me feel like a bad mom, and sometimes not wanting to supply the food makes me feel even worse.

    Oh, and I totally forgot (though absolutely will never forget), about the near 400 ounces of frozen milk I had stashed for when I go back to work that is so horribly funky rancid from excessive lipase no one warned me about that my daughter refuses it, even when mixed with fresh milk, because it's so bad. Sigh.

    My breastfeeding goal was (is) a year, but I just do not know how to make it without becoming just wholly embittered by this experience. Please, send me your words of encouragement to keep going, because I really need them.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: On a breastfeeding ledge...

    Do you HAVE to weigh her? If not, don't. My ped specifically warned me, an experienced mom, when we had the fourth kid, who was born with a medical issue, to not obsess over the scale. She mentioned that babies grow in fits and starts. To not freak out.

    When you have an oversupply, is it bad? Or could you live with it to make it to your goal?

    Do you cosleep? That may help with the sleeping. When I could just nurse a baby back to sleep, I felt a lot better than I do now. My fourth requires bottles and comfort and so forth, so I'm up, currently every 1.5 hours.

    Sorry about the lipase. Yep, that is one thing nobody ever mentions, so I try to if someone asks me.

    We have a lot of nurse moms in the pumping section. Ask them how they fit pumping into their schedule.

    Personally, I see no reason to quit
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: On a breastfeeding ledge...

    hi mama, i think a good question to ask yourself on these hard days is - would it be better for your life if you were formula/bottle feeding? and usually the answer is no - no nursing back to sleep, having to carry (& buy!) formula, etc. hang in there. take it day by day, especially when you're back at work, as that is hard. but so rewarding!

    and i think we've talked about pumping on your shift before - there are lots of RNs on here, and they make it work. you MUST pump during your 12 hour shift! (oh, as susan said.)
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: On a breastfeeding ledge...

    I do co-sleep. It's actually my favorite time with my LO, even though she wakes up to nurse every 2.5 hours at night like clockwork. We've tried side-lying nursing, but for some reason she doesn't transfer milk well in that position (we learned that from having the scale), so we mainly just use that posiyion for comfort nursing. And as far as the scale goes, it's love/hate, and we don't NEED it. But my LO was so tiny and struggled with weight gain early on, I just don't want to get rid of it a miss a problem with her gaining weight, or worse, losing weight. I feel like finding out that she dropped off the charts at her 4 month check-up would spell disaster for my confidence in nursing and motherhood.

    The oversupply is pretty bad, like I could pump 6 ounces in 5 minutes after a feeding every 6 hours, but I think maybe it's preferable to this barely-there supply I have going on right now. Even though the let-down during my OS is overwhelming for her, once we get past that nursing is so much more enjoyable for both of us, and me especially. I just worry that she's not getting much of the creamy goodness when I have all that milk.

    And I know I need to pump during my shifts, but I could count on one hand the number of times I've actually been able to take a legitimate 15 minute break and/or lunch break since working on this unit, even when I was pregant. I know that I will make pumping a priority, but there are just those days that make it hard...like when patients try to die you! Lol. Ugh, that's not funny, but I am so deliriously tired.
    Last edited by @llli*larkface; May 25th, 2012 at 06:56 AM.
    I'm Erin, mommy to Ella, born at 33 weeks 4 days, and Addison, born at 35 weeks and 5 days.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: On a breastfeeding ledge...

    If you have a lot with an OS, just watch her stools, and if they seem off, nurse the same side a couple times back to back. I used to start feedings with the side I ended with to ensure baby got hindmilk pretty quickly.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: On a breastfeeding ledge...

    keep trying with the side-lying - things change very fast at this age as baby gets more head control. i hear from so many moms that they didn't get it to work til 3 months or so.

    an EBF baby almost certainly WILL drop on the charts in the middle of the first year (especially if your doc isn't using the WHO charts). prepare yourself for that. just assume it's going to happen. AND know that it has nothing to do with how well she's doing. if she has enough wets & poops, is gaingin continuously, and is happy and healthy, then it's just the normal, typical pattern of EBF babies gaining a lot in the first half and not as much in the second half of hte first year.

    and my advice? get rid of the scale. it's screwing with your mind. seriously. get rid of it.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: On a breastfeeding ledge...

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*aprilsmagic View Post
    Do you HAVE to weigh her? If not, don't. My ped specifically warned me, an experienced mom, when we had the fourth kid, who was born with a medical issue, to not obsess over the scale. She mentioned that babies grow in fits and starts. To not freak out.
    I think this is really important. You are stressed out enough with working and pumping to have to worry about weighings. Babies don't have daily growth trajectories. A single day (or even week) can give you a totally in accurate picture of what is going on with growth. You can make yourself crazy with too much information!
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  8. #8
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    Default Re: On a breastfeeding ledge...

    How is her latch? Could she have trouble transferring because of latch? How premature was she? I think I remember reading that premature babies tend to grow slower on breastmilk because they are using it all for their brain. Formula is not tailored to their needs. Their bodies grow from it at the expense of their brains. How are her wet diapers? How many in a 24hr period?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: On a breastfeeding ledge...

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*larkface View Post
    I just worry that she's not getting much of the creamy goodness when I have all that milk.
    Over the years I have come to hate the terms "foremilk" and "hindmilk" because I think they mislead a lot of mamas into thinking that if they have oversupply then the baby is drinking only "foremilk" and is not getting enough fat. But that's not the case: first of all, there's no such thing as "formilk" and "hindmilk". There's just milk- relatively watery at the beginning of the feeding, and becoming progressively more creamy as the feeding progresses. "Foremilk" does contain a certain percentage of fat, plenty to grow and thrive on. So don't feel like your baby isn't getting the creamy goodness- she's getting it, only it's thinned out a bit with other healthy stuff.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: On a breastfeeding ledge...

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*juno View Post
    How is her latch? Could she have trouble transferring because of latch? How premature was she? I think I remember reading that premature babies tend to grow slower on breastmilk because they are using it all for their brain. Formula is not tailored to their needs. Their bodies grow from it at the expense of their brains. How are her wet diapers? How many in a 24hr period?
    Her latch is great and she transfers fine in other positions, it's just side-lying where she struggles. And I don't know if it's because she gets too super snuggly and just comfort nurses, or if we just don't have the positioning right yet. She has been evaluated for tongue tie and she doesn't have one, but she did have a lip tie and we got that fixed.

    She wets 6-8 diapers in 24 hours, and usually has at least one super poop blowout a day. Sometimes I wonder though how accurate this is as a measurement tool for milk intake, because she has had some days where she barely eats (like today) but she is outputting just fine.

    Bah, now I feel like I am just whining. But this being my first time as mom, with a preemie, with my fair share of nursing struggles, and now going back to work...I am overwhelmed.
    I'm Erin, mommy to Ella, born at 33 weeks 4 days, and Addison, born at 35 weeks and 5 days.

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