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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to order an SNS without breaking the bank

First, try your local WIC office, call your La Leche League leader or lactation consultant, or inquire at your local hospital with a labor and delivery unit or NICU, or, if you know you've had supply issues in the past, ask for one before you leave the hospital (if you choose to birth in one.)
If you can't get one for free that way, try this:

Start here. Select "SNS Bottle with Lid," "SNS Valve Cover," "SNS Attachment Ring," and whatever tubing size you desire (here I selected "medium.")
Subtotal: $26.79  (With shipping: $37.79)
You can add another set of tubing (it's always good to have a back up, since the tubes can break).*
Subtotal: $34.99 (With shipping: $46.79)
Even if you add a THIRD set of tubing (which is what the standard SNS kit comes with), your subtotal still only comes to $42.79.  (With shipping: $54.79)

Compare to the complete SNS kit which comes to $58.99 (With shipping: $73.99)

The complete SNS kit comes sterilized, with a lanyard (that SUCKS! You can make a better one yourself with a piece of string), and with an instruction booklet. But you can sterilize it yourself, and find instructions on how to use an SNS online. I like these instructions.

Cheapest price on SNS I've found:
http://www.mybreastpump.com/medelasnsproducts.html $49.95 (plus shipping)

Feeling better.

Baby girl is on the mend. She still has a residual cough and sniffles, but the worst is over. She got her appetite back a few days ago, and she brought my supply back to where it was by nursing alone. (I think I pumped all of twice.)
I submitted a post, yesterday, to RANTS FROM MOMMYLAND for their Domestic Enemies section on the "domestic enemies of the low supply mom." I haven't heard back yet, but if they choose not to post it, I'll post it here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I need to keep this, for when I'm feeling down.

Someone posted in a breastfeeding group that they had overcome their struggles with low supply, and instead of feeling happy for her, I felt sad for me. I posted about it in our IGT and Low Milk Supply Support Group and this was one of the replies:

"Nyssa, you have done so much more than make milk for your babies, you have helped so many other moms keep making milk for theirs and helped heal so many hearts. I know several of us have been inspired by your dedication and using the sns and without the support would have quit long ago. So however much it sucks that you cant exclusivly nourish your baby on your milk, maybe your plan is to help other moms redefine what ebfing and success is."

See why I love our group? <3 I don't know what I would do without these women in my life.

When the going gets tough...

It's been a rough couple of days. My supply has definitely taken a hit. Besides the random PMS-like symptoms I keep getting, I've been running on little sleep, caring for two sick little girls, and not nursing as often as I'd like. Lola's been having a hard time nursing. Even with saline and suction, she's been so stuffed up, she can't breathe and nurse, and has to take frequent breaks. Other times, she winds up with coughing fits while trying to nurse. It's heart-wrenching.
I had a few desperate moments when I worried that this was going to spell the end of our nursing relationship. But, then I realized, we have the SNS! It isn't like before. I don't have to worry about bottles winning, because we don't use any! We're going to be okay.
Both Lulu and Lola are starting to feel better, but it's going to be an uphill battle to get my supply back up. Until today, I hadn't been able to pump to help make up the difference. So, now that the girls are feeling better and I have a little more time to myself, I'll be working on building my supply back up, with pumping and consulting my Mother Food book. 

Friday, November 25, 2011


Times like this, it really hurts to have low milk supply.
My kids are s i c k. My baby can't breathe out of her nose. My girls seem to be really sensitive to dairy when they are sick (in a mucus-producing way. My almost 3 year old will cough until she vomits if she has the teeniest amount of dairy while she has a cold.) I wonder if the milk in our formula is causing my baby to over-produce mucus, too.
I have some "old" frozen milk I've kept buried in the freezer, and I've been using that, but it's almost gone. Normally, Lola won't take donor milk if there's the slightest hint of lipase, but she's so stuffed up, she can't taste it. Poor baby. I wish I could just take it away.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Slime Flu Season

My little girls have colds. Last night was a blur of dozing off, only to be woken up by either Lulu or Lola... or both. Lola couldn't nurse because he nose was so stuffed up. So, I'd spray some saline up her nose, and wait for it to drain. Fun fun.
I believe in the magical healing powers of homemade chicken soup, so first thing this morning, I threw some chicken thighs and some left-over chicken bones in a pot with water, garlic and ginger.
Lola hasn't had much of an appetite, so I've offered to nurse every 2 hours, but I wanted to get a little broth into her. I tried spoon-feeding and cup-feeding, but more wound up on her shirt than in her belly, so I decided to try the bottle that came with my new pump (Just a little single, manual pump I got on sale at Target.). I haven't had a bottle in the house in months.
Well, Lola thought it was very interesting, and enjoyed playing with it, and biting it, but she had no idea how to latch! I was so proud, ha ha! My baby doesn't know how to take a bottle!
I also tried it in her sippy cup, but she hasn't had much practice with that either, maybe a few sips of water here and there for practice.
In the end, I got a tablespoon or two of that magical elixir into her. I'm happy with that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

8 months!

We've made it 8 months, and we're going strong. It's amazing. I'm finally going to make it to a year (at LEAST!)
At 8 months, Rio hadn't been breastfed for 6 months.
At 8 months, Lulu was still nursing, but I was fighting a losing battle with my milk supply due to hormones.  I was so stressed out about my waning milk supply that I was just a few weeks away from weaning her. I was spending so much money on herbs and formula... Ugh.
What a difference! The SNS has really saved our nursing relationship. I am much more relaxed. I'm not competing with bottles. I don't have to worry that every nursing session may be our last, because Lola prefers a faster flow. I'm not downing herbs every couple of hours, and smelling like I live in an IHOP. I'm not ashamed to feed my baby in public (as I was when I had to top off with a bottle.) I have accepted my lot, and I've really come to terms with my IGT (aside from an occasional moment of anger or anguish.)
I am happy. My daughter is happy and healthy.
We're making it work!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Recommended Reading

Lactogenic Diet

Wow, I learned SO much from Mother Food by Hilary Jacobson! I highly recommend the book for every nursing mom, expecting mother, or anyone who helps care for women and babies.
I've been applying some of what I've learned wherever I could for the last week, soaking my oatmeal or quinoa overnight for breakfast the next morning, eating curried chickpeas (yummy AND lactogenic!), taking my spirulina before meals, taking my calcium supplements before bed.
Yesterday, we went grocery shopping and I stocked up on lactogenic foods, drinks, and spices.

Not to be pessimistic about it (because I'm not), but I've given up the search for the magic bullet that will "cure" my low milk supply.* I am very happy and comfortable with the amount of milk I am making. My baby is thriving, she is happy, she is healthy. I am happy with the way our nursing relationship is going. I am not expecting a miracle here, but I needed to overhaul my diet anyway, so I might as well focus healthy foods that support lactation! And when I wean from the SNS, eventually (sometime after a year, when she's eating enough solid foods to replace what used to be formula), I hope that following a lactogenic diet will help keep our nursing relationship strong by keeping me, well, lactating.
And if the lactogenic diet IS the magic bullet and cures my low milk supply... I'm very okay with that, too.

I also started taking Metformin again, a few days ago. With my new-found knowledge of how to stabilize my milk supply should my period return, I have confidence that I didn't have before.

*Mrs. Jacobson herself has overcome low milk supply with IGT by following a lactogenic diet, as have other mothers, so it IS possible. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Guest Post: Stars Doing Something (link)

"My baby is four and a half months old. Today she has learned to blow raspberries and spent her entire day practicing this new skill – in her carseat on the way to the grocery, cuddled against my chest in her Babyhawk carrier in the Asian market, drifting off to sleep. She is seconds away from rolling over for the first time. She is always ready to smile and laugh. Today she made a dozen new friends in the quilting store. She is thriving even though my breasts are not structurally capable of producing the milk she needs to grow. She drinks 100% breastmilk, though most of it does not come from me.
Picasso’s birth was the most joyous, empowering experience of my entire life. I labored blissfully at home and had a natural hospital birth. We got off to a great start with breastfeeding but she lost 10% of her body weight and then continued to plummet. Signs indicated dehydration. My milk had ‘come in,’ but there was only about an ounce of it a day. Total."
Please visit Dreaming Monet's blog to read the rest of this beautifully written story.

 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."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011