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.