Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Supplementation

Gwen and I are back from the Dr's visit. It was not a good visit. Well, I guess it wasn't a bad visit, except he put 'slow growth' on her chart. I have to say part of it doesn't make any sense, and now more of what we have been going through makes sense. She has grown a 1/2 in since birth and has gained some circumference around her head, but she has no weight gain. The thing that doesn't make since is that I am trying to breastfeed, so why would the Dr recommend supplementation of formula, wouldn't this end up decreasing my milk supply. If she is not getting enough milk, from me and I start supplementing then doesn't that mean the whole supply and demand thing for milk from me will decrease? I mean really. I tried to bring this up with the Dr and he was not very supportive, he said we need to increase her calories. But he told me she appears healthy in every other way! But now I understand why she has started to appear hungry...probably because she is! Is that my fault. I will admit, maybe I am not getting the calorie intake I should. It has been really tough, because I am not as able/willing to do stuff because of the baby (so much easier when my Mom was force feeding me!) But this little tyke needs me to be healthy, so I need to suck it up and get up in the morning and eat breakfast. Maybe I should start drinking milkshakes! And I will be calling the Le Leche League to talk to them about what suggestions they have. I wonder if I need to be more pro-active about her latching-on, maybe we don't have the hang of it yet. TMI alert: On a funny side note, I did try to see if maybe I didn't have any milk on the side I suspect she is having a problem nursing on after she fell asleep during nursing...and I did a squeeze and milk shot out...I was quite surprised, as you might imagine.

8 comments:

Amy F. said...

Mel,
I don't know anything since I'm not a mommy yet.....but if you need to supplement (say at the night time feeding) can't you pump at night to keep your milk supply up? My friend fed her son formula at night (because I think she said he stayed fuller longer and therefore slept longer) but she continued to pump to keep her supply up and she stored the milk in the freezer for future use.

Of course I could be TOTALLY wrong.....It will be interesting to hear what a 'real' mom has to say!

Liesa said...

Melanie-
DON'T freak out... This is totally normal, and has happened to more moms than I can count. Amy has a good suggestion of pumping while you supplement. Our pediatrician always said that as long as they are nursing some (while supplementing) they are getting the benefits of breastfeeding still. Anyway - my milk didn't come in great with Drew. With Jack, it was so different. Anyway - this is pretty cryptic I know. Just relax, supplement as needed. You will have a much less-fussy baby most likely.

Mel said...

try not to freak out...when have you ever known me to stay calm?

Liesa said...

Point taken.
(I'm kidding!!) - the hardest thing to learn as a mom (in my opinion only) is that you won't break the baby and that as long as the baby is eating (bottle or breast) and sleeping (some) - you are doing a FANTASTIC job. Remember that. You've made it a week on your own - you can handle this!

Carol D. said...

Melanie,
This sounds so much like Dawn with
Eddie. He did not gain any weight for a month and the dr. finally told her to supplement. She would pump and then have him drink that breastmilk from the bottle. I will see Dawn tomorrow and I will get more details as far as when and how much formula she gave him. I know she was awfully upset over the situation, but obviously everything worked out. She continues to breastfeed, pump, and uses some formula. He's doing great. I'll get back to you tomorrow with the exact story from Dawn, so I don't screw it up!

Carol D.

Joan F. said...

On a light note: In Ireland the billboards say: "Good for Mother's milk - Guinness!"

Maybe the milkshake would be just as good!

Enjoy Gwen!
Love ya!

Elaine said...

First, take a deep breath. It's Gwen's first time breastfeeding, too, so she's not going to judge you.

Breastfeeding is NOT as easy as they would have you think. But it CAN be a beautiful thing.

I was freaking out that Helen wasn't getting enough to eat when we brought her home, and it took at least three hands to get her latched, and then it hurt like the dickens. It turns out that my stresslevel was causing her not to latch properly, which increased my pain, and also decreased the amount of milk she was getting per feeding. So I finally made the conscious decision to just let nature guide me, and through hope and prayer, Helen and I both figured it out. But it wasn't easy.

As far as supplementing, just give her a little formula at the start of each feeding to curb the hunger and initial desperation, and then latch her on to finish -- she won't be as likely to get mad when it comes more slowly (the breast is much slower than a bottle), because she's not as hungry.

But don't worry -- as long as you keep nursing her the same number of times a day (and use your pump too), you won't dry up. Another fantastic trick, if you've got a Boppy pillow: nurse her on one side and pump on the other. Her nursing will help the letdown on the other side, and you'll be able to get a LOT more pumped. Which will in turn increase your supply. Once I figured out how to do that, I was home free. :)

Helen had a strong preference for the right side, and Alice had an equally strong preference for the left. So I always fed them on their favorite side first, so that they wouldn't get mad when I switched them -- they were mostly full by the time they switched anyway and were starting to get drowsy.

Both my girls nursed exclusively for 6 months, and continued nursing until they were 14-15 months old. It was hard, it was inconvenient sometimes (and tremendously convenient at others), but I am SO. GLAD. I did it.

But stop beating yourself up -- first and foremost. You are doing the best you can, and so is Gwen. Keep your chin up and know that your body was built to do this. :) You don't need to drink milk to make milk -- don't be tricked into believing that. But do make sure you have LOTS of water. Gwen will get what she needs from you -- there just might not be enough of the nutrients left for YOU. But Gwen will be fine. :)

And email me at epoplin at gmail dot com if you have any questions. I had a rough start with Helen, so I'll be happy to help you any way I can.

(And male pediatricians who aren't super supportive of breastfeeding are all over the place. Go with your instincts, because it's hardwired into the X-chromosome, I think)

Tatiana said...

Mel, Don't freak...but I know you still will:):)
I had to strt supplementing at about 4 weeks because I was not producing enough. So do pump when you supplement, and Gwen will be fine....