Re: supplementing since Birth is it too late to just breastf
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby! I am so sorry the nurse at the hospital sabotaged you right from the outset. When a mom has trouble nursing, the solution is NOT to hand her a bottle! Unless the is something so wrong that a pediatrician concurs that supplementation is medically necessary, a lactation consultant should be called in to assist a mom with nursing. But even though you got tripped at the starting gate, it is definitely not too late to breastfeed exclusively! Milk supply can be increased at any time, if you have the right tools and are willing to do the work.
Here's what I think you need:
1. A visit with a lactation consultant, preferably an IBCLC. Nothing beats hands-on help when you are struggling to nurse a newborn!
2. A good pump. A hospital-grade pump would be ideal. A very good double electric pump, like a Medela Pump in Style would be second best, and a consumer model double electric pump would be third best. Anything less than that is unlikely to get good results.
3. Correctly-sized breast shields. These will allow you to maximize stimulation and milk removal when pumping.
4. A professional scale. This one is optional, but I found it to be extremely useful when I was in a similar situation. By weighing your baby before and after nursing, and subtracting the before from the after, you can get a very accurate picture of baby's intake during a nursing session, and know whether or not you need to supplement.
5. A regimen of frequent post-nursing pumping sessions. I personally recommend pumping every 2 hours during the day and every 3 at night, which is a lot of work but NOTHING- not herbs, not Rx drugs- increases milk supply as effectively as frequent milk removal. It is better for supply to pump 1 oz every 1 hour than 3 oz every 3 hours, because the frequency of demand is as if not more important than the quantity of milk removed.
6. Herbs: also not strictly necessary but potentially helpful. Fenugreek, blessed thistle, and ordinary oatmeal are all good for increasing supply. Your LC can help you with the dosage for the first 2.
7. Drugs: as a last resort, Reglan and Domperidone are Rx drugs which are used off-label to increase serum prolactin levels and improve milk supply. Both have additional side-effects and are not for all moms, so talk to your midwife, ob, or family doctor before taking either one.
8. The right birth control method. I assume you're headed in for your six week postpartum checkup soon, at which point your care provider will go over birth control methods. Since you are not exclusively breastfeeding, you cannot rely on breastfeeding to prevent pregnancy (and even EBF moms cannot rely on it for more than 6 months, at the outside). Hormonal contraception is unlikely to be a good choice for you right now, since ALL hormonal methods (including the so-called "safe for breastfeeding" methods like Mirena or the mini-pill) have the potential to negatively impact milk supply. If you want advice on birth control, just let us know and we'll happily chat about methods and help you find one that may be right for you.
All of what you describe is very typical when bottles and supplements are introduced right from the beginning. When a baby is used to being supplemented, she will often act hungry even after nursing because she expects every feeding to conclude with a bottle and with the stuffed feeling it gives her. Generally the best thing a mom can do is to shelve the bottles and simply nurse, nurse, nurse, but I would not advise you to do that without guidance from a lactation consultant. Supplementing so much and from so early on could have resulted in you having low milk supply, and the fact that nursing is so painful for you also suggests that your baby's latch could be sub-optimal, which can also lead to lowered supply. However I do think that you should strive to nurse as often as possible, keep the supplemental bottles small (1-2 oz MAXIMUM, with 1 oz being preferable), and pump like it's your new religion. Once you can fill all baby's supplemental bottles with breastmilk, you will know you have enough milk to transition to exclusive breastfeeding. I also suggest that you work to finish feedings at the breast, to remind baby to associate comfort, pleasure, and satiation with the breast, not the bottle.
Can you tell us more about the pain you are experiencing? Does it occur at the beginning of a feeding, throughout the feeding, at the end of the feeding, or after the conclusion of the feeding? Would you describe it more as a stabbing or pinching pain, or more of a burning? Are you cracked or blistered at all? When baby unlatches, are your nipples misshapen/creased/wedged/asymmetrical/shaped like new lipsticks?
Last edited by @llli*mommal; July 7th, 2012 at 12:25 PM.
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