I gave birth to my second child less than a week ago, and I began the breastfeeding process with so much optimism. THIS time would be different, I thought. But so far, it's the same sad story.
With my first child, I breastfed like crazy for the first three days. He seemed to be hungry constantly. I couldn't tell if he was getting anything, but I trusted it was working. Meanwhile, his skin got papery thin, he broke out in a rash, and he seemed listless. The midwife came to check on us, took one look at his weight loss and the crystals in his urine (a sign of dehydration), and said he wasn't getting enough milk. She sent my husband out for formula and we fed him. In a few days, his skin cleared up and he seemed actually alive. I struggled with intense feelings of guilt and depression for letting my son suffer like this, and I never really bounced back in the breastfeeding department. Despite working with a lactation consultant, taking supplements, and pumping, I never got enough of a supply to feed my son solely from the breast. After 6 months, I stopped breastfeeding altogether.
Though my first son turned out wonderfully, and I am glad I could use formula to see him through, I wanted to give my second son what I thought he deserved, an all-breastmilk diet. But sure enough, when my milk came in a couple days ago, everything went back to how it was before. His skin was getting rashy, he seemed hungry 24/7, and I couldn't even tell if he was getting anything. After 12 hours with no wet/dirty diapers, my husband ran to the store at 3 in the morning and got formula. I was relieved to see him doing better, but now I'm at a crossroads.
I don't want the use of formula to destroy my milk supply. I still want to breastfeed. But I have NEVER been able to get much from pumping (we're talking a quarter of an ounce per session, if that). Plus, it leaves my nipple swollen and sore. Since I am so small-chested (when my breasts are full of milk, they are a large A cup, that's how small I am!), I don't know if I can ever get the pump to work for me. But right now, my breasts are hard and engorged (maybe milk? maybe edema?) and my son's nursing is not getting them fully emptied. His latch seems good, we use the laidback position for maximum suction, and I still breastfeed during every session in addition to the formula, but I'm worried if we're truly emptying the milk in my breasts, it will just further dwindle my supply. I don't want my son to starve because of my own need to make this work at all costs, but I don't want to lose my window to establish a good supply, which I think I lost with my first son, and never caught back up.
I'm meeting with a lactation consultant tomorrow, but I feel the issue is so complicated, with so many factors, and I don't know what to focus on first. I have my pump (little to no help), Mother's Milk tea and Motherlove tincture on the way (thanks, Amazon.com), and my son, who is trying, the little champ. But every time I look at that measly .25 oz of breastmilk in the pump bottle, I just want to cry.
What do I do? Where to I begin and how do I up my supply and make this right before it's too late??