Lilypie Expecting a baby Ticker

Monday, February 05, 2007

Breastfeeding Woes

Benjamin is now 4 weeks and 5 days old. There are things about a newborn that I was prepared for, but the one thing that really hit me is the breastfeeding. You hear it from people and read it in all the books that breast milk is the best thing for the baby and don't even dare giving the baby formula. So I had it stuck in my head that I can only give my baby breast milk and don't I even dare to give him formula. Well this change when he was born prematurely. With a premature baby, one of the things that doctors and nurses worry about is their blood sugar level. They have to maintain a certain blood sugar level--if they don't maintain a certain level of blood sugar, then they have to go to NICU. The only way that they can maintain their blood sugar level is by eating. Now keep in mind that right after birth, you don't have any breast milk-since this was the case, the nurses said that they have to give him formula and if we don't and his blood sugar level is low, then he might have to go to NICU. All I needed to hear was NICU and I said go ahead. So from day one of his life, he received formula. The entire time we were at the hospital, we had to give him formula for a few reasons, to keep him from loosing too much weight and to maintain his blood sugar level. I think I forgot to mention his stats when he was born..he weighed 5 pds 15 ounces and 18 inches long.

We all went home after 3 days. At this point I was only giving him breast milk. We had to go to the pediatrician almost every other day the first week. The first day we visited the doctor we found out that he has big deal. A lot of babies get this. We found out at that time that he weighed 5pd 9 ounces. The doctor wasn't overly concerned. We went back 2 days later and he lost another ounce. At this point the doctor made me change his feeding regiment...I know have to supplement with formula every other feeding! I was devastated. Needless to say, he gained 7 ounces in 2 days and everything was wonderful! They had me supplement him for another week and then we are now on pure breast milk.

Here is the problem, he is always hungry. I don't think I am making enough milk to satisfy his hunger. I cry about this all the time. I have this guilt of giving him more formula--I feel like such a bad mother for doing this to him. But I can't have my baby go hungry either!! I had a lactation consultant come and we figured that the baby was getting 2 ounces a feeding. Which is not bad, but the problem is that Benjamin can probably go for 3 to 4 ounces!!! I want to continue to breastfeed my baby....but I want him to be happy too. I feel so guilty, I thought that this was one thing I can do successfully. Getting pregnant was not easy.....turns out that staying pregnant to the end was not going to be my experience I figured breastfeeding was one thing I can do good at...turns out I fail that one too.

Did I also mention that our house goes on the market today? This makes me very sad because it solidifies the fact that we are moving and starting a new life at a new city that we know nothing about.


Anonymous Matia Bryson said...

Your baby is getting to the right age to have a growth spurt and this is normal to doubt one's supply at these times. Dr. Jack Newman's articles have been very helpful to me:Is My Baby Getting Enough Milk?

February 06, 2007 2:25 PM  
Blogger Thalia said...

I've read so many problems about this, it sounds very tough. Go visit jenn at club mom (jenn's journal on my links). She has breastfed twins and is very good on this stuff. I think she would say the answer is to pump to increase your supply. The problem with supplementing is that it's not increasing your supply, it's actually decreasing it. But go talk to Jenn, she knows this stuff.

February 06, 2007 4:33 PM  
Blogger Krista said...

Having not had a baby yet Momo, I am no expert. But I was reading a book about breastfeeding the other day that said two things that might be relevant. First it said over 40% of women who try to breastfeed give it up because they feel the baby is not getting enough. They were clear that in most cases this is not true. As long as he keeps gaining weight, I think you don't have to worry (dont' have to... but I know you will. It also said that breastfead babies must eat on demand in order to thrive and to keep the milk supply, and that on demand usually means a lot more often than mommy initially thought.

I hope some of this info helps and that you find something that works for you.

February 06, 2007 11:16 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

You're NOT a bad mom. Quite the opposite. You did what you had to do to make sure he was healthy and you will eventually produce more milk. You're doing a great job. Don't beat yourself up. Aislinn had all the same issues after birth and I'm still not strictly on breast milk. I cry about it too, but I'm doing what IU can. Hang in there.

February 07, 2007 3:47 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

You are not a bad mother.

I have no assvice but I just wanted to tell you that formula feeding doesnt make you a bad mother. You did what you had to do - you did the right thing for your child.

You want what is best for your child. You are a very good mother.

February 07, 2007 1:55 PM  
Blogger Watson said...

My Dear Momo,

How I wish I had some good ole assvice for you!

The only thing I can say is that every single one of my friends has gone through something similar with breastfeeding issue.

So you're not alone, not that it makes your troubles disappear, but please realize that no one (not even you!) should judge you over this.

You're doing whatever you can to be the best Mom to Benjamin and if that includes feeding him formula, then that's perfectly okay.

Again, I wish I had some better advice, but know we're out here (even the IF'ers) supporting you and we know you're doing a GREAT job!!

February 07, 2007 3:35 PM  
Blogger Calico Mama said...

I know exactly how you feel--I am in the same boat. My daughter was term but smallish and for unexplained reasons, my milk supply was never established. I was pumping and supplementing with formula from the first week. And the 2nd week, I thought things were getting better--better nursing, pumping a few oz extra, etc. But she cried after every breastfeeding session. I thought it was gas until a check at the lactation center revealed she wasn't gaining weight AND she was getting maybe 1.5 oz a session, which just wasn't enough.

Long long long story short--I did everything I could from then on to both feed her more (formula) and increase my supply. I took tons of herbs, ate all the foods, took reglan (whcih made me tired and spacey--not good), etc. And at 1 month, another RN/LC told me that if things hadn't really settled by then, they probably wouldn't. I even saw a special MD who deals with supply issues and she couldn't help.

The good news? I am still breastfeeding at 11 weeks! And my daughter is thriving--still small at 25% but growing well. The bad news? She's getting mostly formula and has been for a long time b/c my supply has not grown well. So, I nurse her both sides at 90% of feedings and then she gets a big old bottle. I cried multiple times a day as I had to give her a bottle,then a few times a week, and now, I have sort of made peace with it. I still hate that I have to give her formula, but there's nothing else I can do. I insist on BFing still, so she gets some benefits, but it breaks my heart that things didn't go as I had hoped. Best of luck to you!

February 09, 2007 11:40 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

So very precious! I don't have any answers, but I really hope that you find them! Congratulations again, he's absolutely adorable!

February 11, 2007 9:57 AM  
Blogger Ren said...

Hey, don't be upset about this. When I was expecting, I was only thinking about giving him breastmilk too and was certain that I didn't need any formula supplement. Anyway, it didn't work out the way I wanted. After I had the c-section, I was too weak to carry him and to nurse him. The hospital gave him formula and he's so used to the bottle now that he doesn't suckle at all. Now, I just express the milk in order to regulate a good flow of milk. Besides, breastfeeding him now is tough as the wound still hurts. So, I express milk on a consistent 3-4 hour interval to simulate as if I'm feeding him direct. I hope that will keep the supply up.

I've also shed tears and felt as if I've failed at one thing I thought I could do, but as long as the baby grows and getting nutrients, I think that's the most important thing.

October 27, 2007 10:30 PM  

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