"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." -Winston Churchill

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Accepting my limitations...

For two days in a row, I didn't supplement with anything besides my own pumped breast milk. But, instead of feeling triumphant, I felt scared.
I think she's eating enough, but is she taking in enough fluids?
I try to have a sippy cup of water out for her all day, but she doesn't take all that much. I'm pretty sure she's eating enough. She does love her food.
I am busting my butt to pump frequently, but I will supplement with formula/donor milk if I need to. It's just how it's going to have to be for the next 2 months.
It is funny, though. I gave Lola a little bit of formula today, because I didn't have enough pumped for a full feeding, and she gave me a funny look when she tasted it. She loves her mommy milk. <3

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Supplemented only 2 ounces (over two feedings) of formula today. Offered more, but she refused it.
In other news, pumping every hour is not only hard, but nearly impossible. I just ordered a new galactogogue all the way from India... I know, I know. But I will never be satisfied until I have tried every. single. thing.

I managed to give her 8 oz. of my own pumped milk today. 2 of the ounces, I pumped late last night. The rest were from today. I don't know if I'll be able to survive staying up until 1 a.m. every night to get that last pumping session in. I need some sleep, too!

Maybe, just maybe, the leptaden (aryuvedic medicine for milk production) will give me the boost I need, and I won't have to pump every hour. Or maybe I should ride the domperidone train again. Well, first, I'm going to see how well the leptaden works for me.

Well, I'm off to pump!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The end is nigh.

The end of supplementing with formula or donor milk, that is. I'm only about 4 ounces away from ditching them.
But it's going to take work. It's going to take pumping almost hourly throughout the day. An empty breast fills faster than a full breast. Well, my milk production seems to slow down after an hour, so to maximize my output, I have to pump every hour, and feed her several pumpings' worth of milk in the SNS.
Lola gets to eat 3 meals a day of solid foods, and she loves it. She's realized she can take more than a sip out of her cup, and drinks when she's thirsty, so I'm not worried about leaving her dehydrated. Of course, if I have an extra low supply day, I will supplement with donor milk or formula for the next 2 months. And maybe donor milk for a little longer.
I think I can do this. I really think I can.
Wish me luck.

Pumping power!!

I'd noticed lately, that my right breast didn't seem to be producing as much milk, yet felt really lumpy, even after pumping. I tried massage, more breast compressions and still... lumpy and little milk.
And then I remembered something Lola does when nursing on that side. She pulls away while remaining latched on. I tried it with the pump. I pulled the flange away so that it was almost at the point of breaking suction, and it worked! I get so much more milk (for me!) that way. The last 3 pumping sessions, I've gotten an entire ounce (combined) instead of the usual half an ounce. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pumping again.

Thanks to my friend who lent me her pump until I can buy a new one, I've been pumping again. I'd stopped pumping when Lola and I started using the SNS full time. I was content to feed her at the breast, and wasn't worried about "maximizing" my supply anymore. It was enough for me that we weren't using bottles, and I just didn't have the time to waste on a fruitless endeavor when I had 2 young children and an infant to care for.

Well, lately, the old feelings of inadequacy came creeping back. I think it came with my decision to seek out donor milk again. If these women could pump for my baby, then I should, too.  Lola's bigger now, and she's content to sit on the floor and play while I hook up and pump. I feel good about pumping now, even if I usually only get half an ounce every 2 hours.

I've started pumping *before* feedings, and then supplementing with my own milk in the SNS, followed by formula or donor milk in the SNS. I figured the pump can get out the milk that is easier to remove, and my baby can get out the fatty hindmilk, since she's more adept at removing milk than the pump. She's getting every last drop, while still being sated. And it's working for us, so far.
I'm feeling more comfortable about giving her solid foods now, and not limiting the amounts. I just sit at the table and pump while she feeds herself.

I'm also feeling a lot better about the next coming year. I can continue to pump every 2 hours, and just feed her whatever I pump in the SNS. I am feeling good about the future.

Of course, I also pumped nearly 2 ounces this morning, which has me feeling extremely optimistic.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dear Recently Distressed...

So, I've been meaning to type out a post for days now, and I just haven't had it in me.

Some recent developments:

Lately, much to my chagrin, Lola's been more interested in solid foods. Of course, this was bound to happen eventually, I mean, she IS 10 months old! I guess I was just hoping she'd continue to nurse every 2 hours until she decided to wean. I've had some anxiety about her spacing out her breast-feedings. I've been afraid my supply would take a big hit, because I don't have a really good electric pump. Thankfully, a dear friend lent me her Medela Swing until I can get one for myself. I really like it! It's small, and powerful. As soon as I can afford it, I'm going to get my own.

We've been having issues with donor milk again. Sigh. We have plenty of donor milk, but she just doesn't like it. I don't know why. Where she'd normally be taking about 3 oz. of formula via the SNS, she will only take 1 oz. of donor milk. This scares me. She really doesn't take in any other liquids, other than what she gets from my breasts or the SNS. So, I've been alternating donor milk and formula. It gives me peace of mind. Also, I've read most donor milk contains mostly foremilk, because the sticky fat globules of milk are harder to get out, and come at the end of the feeding (hindmilk) and it's not so easy to get it out with a pump. In my own experience, I can pump until no more milk comes out, and hand express quite a bit more milk (for me!) afterward.

On the hormonal front, things are a bit wacky. I'm fairly sure I ovulated a few days ago (I've always had ovulation pains.) but I've also been spotting on and off ever since. I have no idea what's going on with that. I guess we will see.

I had a rough day. On top of the hormonal upheaval, I pumped nearly an ounce, and spill half of it whilst hand expressing the last couple of drops. Then, when I put what was left in the SNS, the SNS leaked all over me. And then I threw the SNS across the room (twice) and stomped on it, which broke it. Luckily, I have a spare SNS. See previous post.

I really don't know if I'm going to continue to use the SNS after she reaches a year. I just don't know. I'm not saying I want to wean when she turns 1, but I don't know if I'll keep using the SNS. I'll have to play it by ear.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

A day without formula...

Thanks to our generous milk donors, Lola hasn't had a drop of formula today!

It's so weird for me, though. It's outside of the realm of normal for me, outside of my comfort zone. Not the milk, but the amount. I guess I'm just used to having my jug of formula, and having a very visual idea of how much she's taken in for the day. It's harder for me to tell with bags of varying amounts of breast milk in them.
My best guess is that she took in about 16 ounces today of donor milk. Totally within her normal range! I should stop worrying, I guess.
I think it must have been the series of feedings where she only took 2 ounces, instead of the usual 3. But she does that with formula some days. Argh! It's so frustrating to second guess myself.

I need to learn to just let go... and enjoy.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Lola loves her milky mamas!

Nom, nom, nom!

Happy girl, full tummy!

Not only did Lola get to share some of her best baby buddy's milk today, but another mom brought her some pumped milk tonight at our Cafe La Leche meeting! We <3 our milk donors!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Donor Milk (again!)

For the last couple of weeks, I've been feeling called to get less formula into Lola, if not get her completely off of it. But I'd been stumped on how to do it. I tried giving her more solids, but that just led to acidic poop and diaper rash, and it really didn't decrease the amount of formula she was taking. And, until a few days ago, she wasn't taking in any other liquids, and I was worried about dehydration. I finally figured out that the sippy cup just wasn't going to happen, but she drinks well through a straw.

The answer came to me last week, after the nurse-in at Target.

Good turn out and the nurse-in!

Nursing at the nurse-in.
I talked to a couple of the moms there, and they inspired me to give donated breast milk another shot. It wasn't that I didn't like the idea of donor milk, it was that Lola didn't like breast milk once it took on the fresh-mowed-grass flavor of lipase. If you're not familiar with the term, you can read more about it here:  http://simplyrebekah.com/2010/03/17/excess-lipase-an-introduction/
I, too, have excess lipase in my milk, and after just a few hours in the fridge, it takes on the grassy-flavor.
So, fresh milk is the answer. Or, at least, milk without excess lipase.
I put out a call for fresh milk or wet-nursing on some local parenting groups, and my local Human Milk 4 Human Babies board, and I got a few replies!

A local mom with a 7 week old baby has started pumping for me! Sure, it may not be a perfect match, age-wise, but her milk stays fresh and sweet smelling for as long as she and I store it! Lola gobbles it up. And it's human milk, intended to be consumed by human babies. Good enough for us!
I think any mom who donates her precious milk is amazing. I think a mom who takes time out of her busy day, *just* to pump for my baby deserves a freakin' MEDAL. It's amazing, and humbling. And, besides milk, I've made a new awesome friend in the bargain. Can't top that!

So, I've found exactly what I was looking for. Any extra breast milk my baby consumes is such a blessing!

The breast of times, the worst of times... (The story of Lola.)

I'm really digging facebook's new timeline feature. I get to look back and read and remember all the status updates I've posted over the years. The day I got my first positive pregnancy test and learned that Lola was on the way. The day I finally went into labor (yes, I was updating facebook until I really couldn't!). And then, this day. The very, very, very bad day.

March 28th, 2011: This is what Lola is really like.

I thought things would be different this time. I thought my milk supply troubles were just caused by something I'd done wrong, like turning to formula too early. So when Lola's diapers counts were coming up short, with uric acid crystals in them, I was just hoping my milk hadn't come in yet. Yes, I supplemented, but just an ounce or two a day, and I nursed, nursed, nursed all the time. I spent all day just switched from breast to breast, praying my milk would come in. And if I wasn't nursing, Lola was crying. I thought she was just a difficult baby.
And then, the day came for her 2 week check up. I was so full of hope. I was hoping for a big gain! Hoping to hear I could cut out the supplements and just breastfeed!
And then the roof caved in....

Click to enlarge.

We put her on the scale, and there was no change. She hadn't gained a single ounce in a week. She was still 10 ounces under her birth weight. I nursed her again, and we reweighed her. No change. The pediatrician (not my regular pediatrician, someone I'd never met) came in, and handed me a bottle of formula. She guzzled it right down and fell asleep. I couldn't keep myself from crying, right there in front of a stranger. The doctor wanted us to head up to St. Pete to the Children's Hospital so my baby could be tested and monitored. I called my husband, frantic, to pack some things and meet me at the gas station so I could fill up the tank. I didn't know how long we'd be gone. It was the first day I'd driven since Lola had been born, and the sky was getting dark. I had to drive over the Skyway Bridge in blowing rain, and wind gusts so strong a box truck was knocked on its side!

Sick baby.

 We got to All Children's Hospital and checked in. I nursed her, and fed her another bottle. A team of doctors looked over my baby girl and didn't like what they saw. How could I have been so blind?
IV fluids.

 They ran tests, and hooked her up to an IV to give her fluids. I was to nurse her and supplement with formula at least every 2 hours. They brought me a hospital grade pump. I started pumping and just feeding her what I could pump, and then topping off with formula. I wanted an idea of how much I was making. It wasn't much.
I could get 2 ounces, combined, and not a drop more.
Becoming bright eyed.

 After a day of getting enough to eat for once, she looked much better. Her eyes actually twinkled. She didn't just cry all the time. We finally got to look into each other's eyes and bond! She was able to have quiet alert times. I met with the IBCLC associated with the hospital, and she agreed my breasts looked hypoplastic. She gave me an SNS. We stayed another night, and were finally cleared to leave the next afternoon.

A baby who eats, sleeps, and poops.

 I mourned the loss of the breastfeeding relationship I'd been hoping for, but now that Lola was getting enough to eat, she became a better nurser. I nursed and pumped and supplemented. She preferred to nurse, but would take a bottle when she needed to. When she was 3 months old, we started using the SNS full-time because she started refusing bottles. And we haven't looked back.
Lola today. 

You can read a condensed version of my entire breastfeeding (with all three of my kids) journey here.

If you have IGT, also known as hypoplastic breasts, and you'd like to share your story, please e-mail me at nyssaretter@gmail.com with the subject line "IGT moms."