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Thread: Currently not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel

  1. #1

    Unhappy Currently not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm a first time mom who just gave birth to a baby girl 11 days ago at Kaiser. It has always been my full intention to exclusively breast feed my daughter, but at the moment, we are supplementing her with formula because of the following reasons and events. First off, I apologize for the long message. I want to give my birth background and outline the following events, so that you can get a good picture and offer realistic sounding advice.

    Birth: I was on IV during the entire birthing process (18 hours). I am slightly anemic and has always had very low blood pressure. I had a hemorrhage, and lost more blood than the average mother. After some debate and test, my blood cell count got back to the normal range and I didn't need a blood transfusion.

    Day 1: I did not breastfeed at all for the first 12 hours after my daughter's birth as I was physically out for 12 hours due to my poor physical condition.

    Day 2: Started breastfeeding with the help of a lactation consultant. When the lactation consultant was not there, I knew I wasn't getting my daughter to latch on correctly though.

    Day 3: Discharged from the hospital and was told to come back in two days for bilirubin test on daughter's jaundice and to see a lactation consultant. Her weight loss was less than 10% of her body weight, so all was good at that point.

    Day 4: Continued breastfeeding and still not getting my daughter to latch on correctly.

    Day 5: Saw a lactation consultant and now understood what a good latch looks and feels like. Daughter's bilirubin test comes back at a level of 22. At 5:00 p.m., we were admitted to the hospital for phototheraphy and was released the next day at 10:00 a.m. During the hospital stay, I was breastfeeding my daughter every 2 hours and also tried to pump in between. My first pumping session on both breasts yield only 1/2 oz, and subsequent pumping session even less. Bear in mine that I still was not confident with latching my daughter on my breast correctly. The nurses and doctor insist that I supplement with formula and after much debate, we gave in. At that point, we felt we had no choice, because my daughter wasn't producing the recommended poopy diapers. My daughter took about 1/4 of an ounce of formula with a bottle during the hospital stay.

    Day 7: Back to the hospital lab for bilirubin test, had a weight check and saw a 2nd lactation consultant. Bilirubin test came back at 16.7 (2.0 higher), daughter's weight down another 6 ounces. At the lactation appointment, I breastfed my daughter for 1 hour and 10 mins straight and the lactation consultant measured that she took in 40 ml. We later got a call from the Dr. to put her on the breast for 40 minutes every 2 hours and to pump at least 6 times during a 24 hour period, and to supplement with an ounce of formula after each feeding. Due to the fear of her jaundice, we follow the dr's order and begin feeding her an ounce of formula after each feeding. For most feedings, she eagerly took the formula after I breast feed her each time. At this point, I'm more confident on the latch because the first consultant has shown me the correct way.

    Day 9: Back to the hospital lab for bilirubin test, weight check. Her Bilirubin test came up a little higher (maybe 17.3) and her weight down 1 or 2 ounces. Because of the fear of jaundice, we complied and continued to supplement my daughter with formula after each breast feeding session. I knew all along that my daughter could get nipple confusion, and could reject my breasts because it is so much easier for her to get formula from a bottle.

    Day 10: I noticed she does not suck on my breasts with the same vigor as before.

    Day 11: Back to the hospital lab for bilirubin test, weight check. Bilirubin test came back with good results so no more jaundice worry. Her weight went up a little (1/2 oz per day for the past 2 days and not the recommended 1 oz per day). Dr suggested I come back for weight back in 2 days and go for another lactation appointment and keep formula feeding my daughter. I also began taking Fenugreek today as the Dr thinks I'm not getting enough milk.

    At this point, I'm sad, disappointed in myself because I'm trying really hard to provide for my daughter, but not doing it well. I'm so concerned about her weight gain and the ability to breastfeed her in the future. Now that the jaundice is gone, I feel I may benefit more by not going to the dr and lactation consultant every other day (but instead, go for a dr's appointment and lactation appointment 4 days later). Because every time I go, I lose 3-4 hours and I feel very inadequate because my baby does not gain the right amount of weigh according to the standard chart. Some days I hang on tight and tell myself there's hope and that I just have to keep trying my best and things will work out. Some days (like today), I feel sad, depressed and inadequate that I'm unable to provide enough milk to feed my daughter. I cry over this a few times. I know this is no good as stress would just make matters worst. Also, I can't help but feel tremendous pressure from the doctors and the 2nd lactation consultant.

    I don't know if it is this hard for most people. I just want to know, how can I get through this? I don't want to give up.

    Mamanomilk

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    18,063

    Default Re: Currently not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel

    11 days your baby is so young yet... you guys will get this down some babies and moms it just takes a little bit more time.

    I had pre birth hemorrhage with my dd and then an emergancy c-section so I understand how weak you were fealing after her birth.

    Just keep trying, alot of your fealings are normal. Keep putting the baby to the breast as much as you can. And try to rest when your not feeding her.

    count wet diapars. I used to lay out 6 in the am and then if my dd didn't wet all of them by supper time I would try and get her to nurse a few more times before bed time.

    Now that babies JAundace level is down I bet she will wake up and be willing to nurse more often.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: Currently not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel

    Oh, Honey... first of all you are an awesome mom and your baby is so fortunate to have you.

    Secondly, I can understand how you may be feeling right now. I had an emergency C-Section, and my daughter also had to go into phototherapy.

    Breastfeeding was not going well because we didn't have our first hour together, I was in a lot of pain, the lactation consultation came by just once, and when she was in phototherapy my milk wasn't even all the way in yet.

    So like you I was told to feed, feed, feed her during phototherapy with the threat of formula hanging over our heads.

    I was in pain, stressed out and exhausted so breastfeeding was not going well. Finally I nearly pumped by nipples right off trying to get enough milk into her to avoid the formula the doctors and nurses were trying to force on us.

    BUT once we FINALLY got home, we did a lot of skin to skin and breastfeeding went so much better. We still struggled for another month and half but with persistance and patience we now how a great breastfeeding relaitionship.

    You guys can totally do it too! Just hang in there - do a lot of skin to skin, nurse, nurse, nurse. Use nipple ointment and ice packs if you need to but keep nursing and spend the rest of your time reading the posts in this forum.
    TW
    <Abigail 9/6/10>

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: Currently not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel

    You're still in the tough part. Many, many, many mamas find it hard at the beginning, particularly when there were complications that don't help you start out on exactly the right foot, kwim. But...that doesn't mean you can't do this. I had a really, really difficult time nursing my first baby for a variety of reasons. There were several issues, all of which went undiagnosed, and it took me 8 weeks to get it down, 8 weeks where I swore I was going to quit every single day...but I nursed that baby for 22 months. You can do this.

    At this point, though, I would focus on what I could fix and what I've already fixed. You've gotten her to latch well and you feel good about that. Her weight is going up, maybe not as much as everyone would like, but it's going up.

    What are her wets and poops like?

    And I'd focus on increasing my supply and making sure baby transfers that milk well. You've noticed she doesn't nurse with as much vigor as before. That does make me wonder if she's starting to prefer the bottle...so I'd consider dropping the bottle and doing any needed supplementation via another method (spoon, dropper, SNS, etc). But supplementation can be a slippery slope. Yes, some babies need it to get started, but it can also fill baby up and decrease demand for nursing.

    Supply is based on demand. You know the best way to boost supply...allow baby unhindered access to the breast. That may mean nursing every 45 minutes to an hour even, ignoring the clock and letting baby nurse as much as she wants when she wants to. Go to bed, taking baby with you, and just nurse. Now that she's got to be feeling better, she just might take off if she has access. If you need to pump, don't focus on how much you are getting. Pumps are notoriously bad indicators for how much milk a mama is making.

    I'd probably keep up checking her weight, but as long as she's making adequate numbers of wet diapers and the stools look good, I don't know if I'd freak out myself and let the doctor get all over me over this.

    You can do this. It just might take more time and work than you thought it would.
    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!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: Currently not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel

    Just keep nursing and pumping, it will get better. I too was very stressed in the first couple weeks and all the appointments just make you more tired. Try to Spend lots of quiet time with your baby. The first month is the hardest, it's an emotional roller coaster. Hugs and you can do it!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Currently not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel

    Thanks everyone for the encouragement and your breastfeeding stories. With the formula supplement, she's producing 6-10 wet diapers a day, and 3 stools.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Currently not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel

    I think most new mommas go through this in the early weeks, you can do this, and have done an awesome job so far! Congrats on your little one, and your desire to give your little girl the best start you can. All I can add to the pp is how I got results with fenugreek (I had low supply too and it took a while for my milk to come in-5 days) I took it with blessed thistle, and I took two of these a day. I took 2 to 3 fenugreek 3 times a day. You may need to start with two three times a day, then adjust up if needed. You will know if you are taking enough if your sweat and urine starts to smell like maple syrup.

    One other thing that saved me much stress early on was learning how to tell if my lo was swallowing, since I never felt my letdowns, and never was engorged. When baby swallows they make a puff sound with their nose. This became one of the most precious sounds to me early on cause I knew my baby was getting milk.

    As you start to wean baby off of the form just watch diaper output.
    And try not to stress momma! Your doing great sticking to it. Any time you feel like quitting just tell yourself one more month, or one more week, and before you know it you and baby will be a pro, and quitting won't even be an option That's how it was with me. Good luck!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Currently not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mamanomilk View Post
    Day 11: Back to the hospital lab for bilirubin test, weight check. Bilirubin test came back with good results so no more jaundice worry. Her weight went up a little (1/2 oz per day for the past 2 days and not the recommended 1 oz per day). Dr suggested I come back for weight back in 2 days and go for another lactation appointment and keep formula feeding my daughter. I also began taking Fenugreek today as the Dr thinks I'm not getting enough milk.
    Might I also suggest eating oatmeal to increase milk production? It works for me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    1,805

    Default Re: Currently not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*aprilsmagic View Post
    Yes, some babies need it to get started, but it can also fill baby up and decrease demand for nursing.

    Supply is based on demand. You know the best way to boost supply...allow baby unhindered access to the breast. That may mean nursing every 45 minutes to an hour even, ignoring the clock and letting baby nurse as much as she wants when she wants to. Go to bed, taking baby with you, and just nurse. Now that she's got to be feeling better, she just might take off if she has access. If you need to pump, don't focus on how much you are getting. Pumps are notoriously bad indicators for how much milk a mama is making.

    You can do this. It just might take more time and work than you thought it would.
    All of this, especially the bolded. I think at the beginning I nursed about 18 hours a day. I really think that's better than pumping and supplementing both for baby and for you. Adding pumping in this early is overwhelming and exhausting. Your baby latched on is what's goign to increase your supply. And you can at least a little more comfortable/relaxed than when pumping.

    It really does take time to get your supply adjusted to baby's needs, and giving formula is going to screw up the whole supply/demand thing that naturally tells your body how much milk to make. I know your baby needed the formula to get started -- but I would just be sure that instead of adding more formula into the mix, you're adding more nursing time and trying to get away from supplementing.

    Keep at it. It will get easier.
    Julia and Maxwell (and Dan and Haddie)
    Maxwell, born January 3, 2010
    A year on Mama's milk and still loving it

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Currently not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel

    I had my LO 3 weeks and 6 days ago at Kaiser too and as much as I loved my dr and nurse, the LCs didnt help much to answer my questions either. I have turned to my sis and aunts for advice. I had to supplement my LO and it killed me becuz I felt like a horrible mother for not making BM for her to eat. She still has her issues with feeding, but its an adventure that her daddy and I love to take every day.

    Try eating oatmeal, Malt O Meal or Cream of Wheat to help bring in your milk. Worked super quick and great for me. Also dont forget, drink PLENTY of water too momma

    We can all get thru it.

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