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Thread: Desperately Want to Breastfeed

  1. #1

    Default Desperately Want to Breastfeed

    Desperately Want to Breastfeed

    When I was pregnant with my son (he is now 8.5 months old) the thing I was looking forward to most about him being born was breastfeeding. I have always thought it was this beautiful, magical thing. When I was pregnant, I did everything right. I took care of myself, I took classes on breastfeeding, read the books, etc.
    So, then the baby was born. In recovery after the c-section, I was so excited to try breastfeeding. He didn’t latch. I was fine with it, he was barely an hour old and I knew it would take practice on both of our parts. We kept trying that day and he just wouldn’t do it. Again, I was fine with it.
    The next day he still refused my breast. He would cry whenever I tried putting him on. They assigned me a lactation consultant and she started me on a pump to try to produce some milk, thinking maybe the baby was being impatient. So, I pumped every three hours for half an hour a time and would get nothing. At about 1am on the third night at the hospital, they told me that the baby had lost over 10% of his body weight (he went from 7.2 to just under 6 pounds) and I had to supplement with formula since I wasn’t producing enough colostrum for him. I was a mess. I begged them to feed him with a syringe so he wouldn’t get confused and even though the nurse said she did, I am not sure I believe her. But I hated the idea of my baby getting formula.
    We then tried a nipple shield. He did get on one time, and it was amazing. We thought all of the troubles were over. I had never been so happy as I was with my baby eating from me. It was just the best feeling.
    We continued having problems. When I got home, he again completely refused to latch and all he did was scream. I was a complete mess and pumped every 3 hours but would only produce a few ounces a day. My husband and I fed him with a syringe, as we had to supplement with formula and he had to eat pumped milk since he wouldn’t latch. I ended up getting severe PPD, mostly due to the fact that I was failing miserably at breastfeeding I think, and had to give it all up. I just could not do it anymore, and I gave in and gave the baby a bottle of formula. This is going to sound dramatic, but it was seriously the hardest time of my life. I had never felt so hopeless and sad as I did during that time.
    ANYWAY, after that LOOOOONG background story, my question is, has anyone ever had a similar experience? I desperately want to breastfeed my next baby and am afraid I will fail again. Any tips so that I won’t? Any advice at all? Sometimes I think one of the reasons he wouldn’t breastfeed is because in the hospital they forced him onto my nipple even though he clearly didn’t want it and would scream. I wanted to let him do it himself, but they told me not to. I don’t know. Any tips/stories about difficulties would be helpful.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Desperately Want to Breastfeed

    I have heard of many women with similar stories. And have had success with their next babies! You can do it!
    Best Wishes!!
    Happy Wife of 20 years to J~
    Mommy to DD E~ 9/22/04 BF 21 months
    Mommy to DD H~ 7/2/07 BF 27 months CD'd from 10 mos on!
    Mommy to DD A~ 7-14-10 All cloth, and Potty Trained at 2 1/2. Still Nursing!
    I grow an organic garden, homeschool, and really feel blessed to be a SAHM!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Desperately Want to Breastfeed

    regardless of how you feed your baby, you are a good mother.
    low thyroid function and or anemia can have a negative impact on milk production. Low thyroid and or anemia have also been associated with PPD.
    You did the right thing by acknowledging that your baby needed to be fed and that you should not have to feel lousy.
    you mentioned that you planned this birth but the doctors performed a c/sec.
    what happened? May be some other variable is related to your low milk production.
    any way I bet you have a wonderful thriving little boy to love so all the obstacles early on still took you to this journey.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Desperately Want to Breastfeed

    Welcome! When I was pregnant with my first, I felt the same way about breastfeeding. That it was going to be magic. So you know just how surprised and let down I was when it turned into a nightmare of cracked nipples and low supply and pain. Ultimately, I discarded the romantic idea that breastfeeding is magic. It's more like running a marathon. It can be really physically and emotionally hard, especially the first time. It's natural- that is, it's something your body is probably capable of- but that doesn't mean it's easy. And just when you think you have everything figured out, the course changes and you're facing another challenge. And no matter how determined you were at the starting line, you might not make it to the finish line.

    I wish I could say "Wow, your experience is really unique, I've never heard of that constellation of problems before," because then it would mean that fewer mamas were sharing your pain. But I can't. Everything you've mentioned is scarily common- c-section causing issues with breastfeeding, early supplementation leading to difficulties with latching, pumping being unable to maintain a good supply. And then to top it all off, a whopping helping of PPD and guilt leading to mom giving up completely. It's textbook.

    So, can you breastfeed your next baby? YOU BET YOU CAN! Every baby is different and every nursing experience is different. In addition, many mamas notice that they have more milk the second time around (perhaps because the second pregnancy causes additional growth of milk-producing tissue). There are still no guarantees that you'll get your dream breastfeeding experience, but there are some pitfalls that can probably be avoided. Here are some things you can do:
    1. Consider your birth options. Nursing after a vaginal birth is generally less challenging than nursing after a c-section. VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) is a good, safe option for many women.
    2. If a repeat c-section is in the cards, make it a good one! If it's elective, make sure it doesn't happen before 39 weeks. Ask to hold your baby ASAP. Make sure your baby isn't subjected to unnecessary but routine interventions like being separated from you, or given formula or sugar water before you have a chance to nurse.
    3. If you have a hospital birth, room in with your baby. You'll learn your baby's cues faster. You won't run the risk of someone shoving a bottle of formula in your baby's mouth "to let you get some rest." When your baby is hungry, you'll be able to nurse ASAP instead of waiting for someone to wheel him/her down the hall as he/she becomes frantic.
    4. If you run into trouble, seek help from an IBCLC immediately, and keep going back until things are going right. I don't need to tell you how much a year's supply of formula costs- so whatever a few repeat visits with a LC cost, it's going to be the lesser of 2 financial burdens.
    5. Choose a pediatrician who is supportive of and knowledgeable about breastfeeding. A lot of BFing relationships are derailed when a pediatrician tells mom "Your baby has lost too much weight/not gained enough weight" and suggests formula supplementation. (Sometimes there's a real need for formula, but often there isn't!)

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