I am new to posting on the forum, but I have loved reading the threads and all of the great advice on here since before my son was born. Now it’s my turn – I could use some advice.
My son was born on June 26th, so he is about three-and-a-half weeks old. He was born via c-section, after 26 hours of labor during which I only dilated 5 cm, and during which I developed an infection (Chorioamnionitis) and a fever. My son was taken to the NICU right after birth, because they were worried that he had gotten the infection, and he stayed there under observation for 12 hours. I was taken to recovery for an hour before being transferred to a post-partum room, and the soonest I was able to see my son was three hours after his birth. I did attempt to breastfeed him at this point, and we had about 15 minutes of time at the breast, but he then had to return to the NICU and stay for the remainder of the 12 hours before being allowed to room-in with me.
Also, another vital piece of my history is that three years ago, I had a breast reduction. My nipples were not removed, but I developed an infection on the left side, and the nipple was damaged a bit from the infection. The right side healed normally, with no infection.
While he was in the NICU, my son received supplementation via bottles, and he has been supplemented with formula from then on. I sincerely regret this, but I recognize that with my surgery the likelihood was high that he would need supplementation of some sort. What I need help with is figuring out how to supplement while still maintaining the milk supply that I do have.
When my son was born, he weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces. When we left the hospital, he was 6 lbs 13 oz. At his first check-up after leaving the hospital, when he was five days old, he was back up to 7 lbs 3 oz, and then at his two-week checkup (he was actually 16 days at that point) he was back up to his birth weight, 7 lbs 6 oz. Today (he is 3 weeks, 2 days old) we were back at the doctor and had his weight re-checked, and he was 7 lbs 9.5 oz. I think his weight gain is okay so far, but this is with daily supplementation, not EBF’ing (I’d like to EBF but don’t know if it’ll be possible with my history).
As far as diapers, he normally has between 7 and 9 wet diapers a day. As far as dirty diapers, he normally has 2 VERY poopy diapers, and 3 or 4 more diapers with a very small amount of poop.
Another issue is that he falls asleep at the breast very easily – within ten minutes EVERY SINGLE TIME, and he is very hard to rouse. If I then put him in his bassinet, or if my husband takes him, he typically (though not always) wakes up and exhibits hunger cues again. I know this can be normal, but it just makes me stress about my supply even more.
Pumping is also an issue for me. The most I have ever pumped is 2 oz between both breasts, and normally it’s between 1 and 1.5 oz. I also can’t figure out how to pump after feeding him – since he wakes if I move him to anywhere but on me, I typically just allow him to sleep on me until he wakes naturally, leaving no time for pumping. I know pumping can be very helpful to increasing my supply, but I just don’t know how to make it work.
As far as his current supplementation, he has been getting formula from a bottle an average of 2 or 3 times a day, and I normally give him 2 oz when he gets a bottle. He has taken 3 oz two different times, but normally its just 2 oz.
SO, after all that, here are my questions: what should my action plan be? Should I allow him to nurse until he falls asleep, and then put him in his bassinet, and if he awakens and is hungry, then give him a bottle? Should I allow him to nurse for a set amount of time before supplementing? Should I pump exclusively? How do I work in pumping? What do I do?
I have been so stressed and discouraged about this whole situation, because I want him to thrive and gain weight appropriately and be healthy, but I also wish that I could provide all of his nutrition myself, without any supplementation. I don’t want my selfish desire to EBF to get in the way of his health and ability to thrive, however. I’m just so lost.