Thursday, January 9, 2014

Breast is best

Breastfeeding is the best thing for your baby. It provides immunity, nutrition and is important in bonding with your baby.

According to the experts, "breast is best" and that is the way it should be. Well, let me tell you how it really is.

Again, I turn back to nursing school and remember all the lectures I had on how beneficial it was to nurse rather than use formula. So, I had it set in my mind that I was going to breastfeed. I read and read. We even went to a breastfeeding class. Yes, I said "we." I love how I dragged Mitch along to all these classes and we didn't even end up needing them! Poor thing! We should have gone through a class entitled,  "How men should deal with women in all their craziness after giving birth."

At the UofU hospital they really push breastfeeding even after just giving birth. They had her trying to latch within minutes of her coming out. We tried and tried for about 45 minutes but it wasn't that successful. I just pushed that all aside because she had just come out. Surely she would latch on when we try again! Well, it didn't exactly work that way. We tried, tried and tried until I bled, had cracks, and was so tender. Bless Jackie and Kim, my nurses in post-partum, for all their help in helping me treat all of those issues. Tea bags and lanolin cream helped so much!We tried and tried and she was able to latch somewhat by the time we left the hospital. So, I thought.

The first night home was awful. Awful, awful, awful. I was trying to breastfeed her but she finally got so hungry and frustrated that she started screaming bloody murder. It got so bad I didn't know what to do and so I started crying. But, wait! I finally remembered that by the grace of God one of Mitch's co-workers had given us some extra newborn formula as a gift. Bless you Trina! As soon as I remembered that I pulled it out and made up a bottle. While I was doing that Mitch came out wondering what was wrong. He heard us both crying and was really concerned. Yep, my crying woke him up too.

It turned out her latch was not good at all. Luckily, her pediatrician's office has a lactation consultant on hand. After assessing that the positions I had her in were proper, she taught me the neatest trick! She said that newborns can't focus on two things at once. Autumn would flail her arms around while trying to feed. The lactation consultant taught me that I needed to swaddle her to keep her arms from distracting her and then she would latch better. So, every time before I fed her I would swaddle her. It worked like a charm! She latched right on!!

I had that all figured out so now nursing was going to be a breeze! Had you learned anything thus far, Megann? Apparently not. I had already forgotten that things don't work out as planned.

She was still starving even after trying to feed her for an hour at a time. I still had to majorly supplement her with formula. Ah hah! I know what I need to do! Try some herbal supplements that people suggested and what I read on the internets. I tried fenugreek, blessed thistle, nettle herb, fennel seed, and shatavari. I know you have never heard of them. I hadn't either until I tried to increase my milk supply. I tried these all for 5 weeks and was not seeing any results. Yes, I was still breastfeeding and pumping after every feeding. It wasn't the demand that was the problem. So, after talking to the midwife she determined that I have insufficient glandular tissue or IGT. Oh great! Yet another condition/syndrome/thing! There is an herb you can take called goat's rue that apparently helps the glandular tissue to develop. I had actually heard of that before so I gave it a shot. After 3 weeks it started to work! Kind of. Instead of getting nothing each time I pumped I now got 5 ml. Whoopie! Just for your reference, 5 ml is a teaspoon. So, after 30 minutes of intense pumping that is all I would get.

All in all, I tried for 9ish weeks trying to breastfeed and pump. I just had IGT and couldn't do anything about it. I tried all I could. For me, getting less than an ounce for a whole day of pumping just turned out to be too hard and not worth it so I stopped.

Do you remember DABDA? The theory of coping with a loss? Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Well, I have gone through four of these and am slowly on the path of acceptance. I think I am still in the depression phase of it as well. And maybe anger. Apparently, the lovely PCOS that I posted about on the previous post can possibly affect glandular tissue development as well as a medication I take.  Lovely!

Breastfeeding does come easy to some babies and mommas, it really does. But I would dare say that it really is hard for most. It takes work, patience, and sometimes letting go.

So what, my baby is formula fed. No she doesn't get immunity protection or nutrition from my milk. But, so what. She is happy and healthy.

Formula coma-
 Happy baby!


Jenny Alama said...

As a fellow mama that formula feeds I TOTALLY get it! I was never "diagnosed" with IGT but I'm pretty sure I have it from what you have said. We tried and I pumped and would only get 1 ounce - if I was lucky. It wasn't worth all the stress, sadness, guilt, and hope to keep trying. You lasted longer than I did. Knowing all this now will help for my future children but I wish I would have heard more of these kinds of stories before I had to experience it myself!

Jenny Alama said...

As a fellow Mama that formula feeds I TOTALLY get it! I never was "diagnosed" with IGT but from what you have said I'm pretty sure I have that. I tried and tried and pumped and would get 1 ounce - if I was lucky. You lasted longer than I did! I wish I would have heard more of these stories before I had to experience it myself. They only came out of the wood work when it actually wasn't working. Good luck and know that I'm right there with ya girl!

Ken and Andrea. said...

Megann, I think you're a hero. You did everything you could for your baby, including knowing when to say when. I think we end up wielding breastfeeding like a sword at each other (as moms.) It doesn't matter at all whether you great feed or formula feed- just that you love and care for your child! We seem bent on proving that we are the best (undoubtedly because we are so insecure.) I'm glad that you seem so darn well adjusted- becoming a mother an amazingly hard tradition. You go, girl!

Jenn and Chris Rasmussen said...

It is hard but in the end if your baby is happy and healthy then do what works. I couldn't nurse with carter but with Kennedy I could, who knows. Your great and she is beautiful