Saturday, June 4, 2011

Breastfeeding Struggles

If you know me at all you know that I am an advocate for breastfeeding.  I think it’s fantastic! I hate the way formula is marketed to parents and what little education and help we receive for breastfeeding.  In the beginning breastfeeding is hard and a lot of work. Hell, sometimes that never goes away.  There are a very small percentage of people who truly can not breastfeed or who do not make enough milk – even with the help of all of the different things you can do to increase your supply.  Most of the problem comes in when in the first couple of months you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. You’re sleep deprived, you’re hormonal and you’re convinced you’re going to starve your baby. We all do it. Whether you’ve never put your babe to breast or she’s been attached to your boob since before the placenta was delivered.

Now for the record, not all of my children were breastfed until kindergarten. I’m not that chick. (If you are – Amen to you sista!) Krsyty was breastfed for about a month. No support or education and when I was worried the answer I got was “just give her a bottle, you don’t have to breastfeed her”. Um, ok. I’m 17, that works for me. Allie was born so tiny that she couldn’t use the calories it required to eat, so she was tube fed for more than 2 weeks. I pumped for a while and she ate what I pumped. But truthfully that didn’t last long. With Jane I was 22, had two other kids under 5 and there was zero support or education for me.  I also went back to work when she was 3 weeks old. They are all fine and perfectly functioning. I was formula fed. Although, now that I say that, I’m probably  not proving a very good point! Winking smile

Fiona took to the breast like a champ! She nursed within minutes of being born and stayed there for almost 2 hours. She was a good, strong and efficient eater. She weaned herself at almost 12 months and went straight to milk. I had a clogged duct twice that never lasted for more than 12 hours. This was a dream! I couldn’t believe how easy it was. I spent my entire pregnancy with Georgiana dreaming about what a wonderful breastfeeding experience we were going to have. Boy was I wrong.

What all the breastfeeding propaganda (yep, I went there. It even feels that way to me sometimes) fails to mention is that sometimes it isn’t you. It’s that little person on the other side of the breast that’s the problem.  Babies are not born to breastfeed. They’re not born to formula feed either. They’re born to eat. That’s what they know. They know they need to eat and it’s our jobs to teach them how that happens. Being a parent does start that early, folks. Getting them to do it doesn’t always work the way we want it to. Yup, rebellion starts that early, too. 

Georgiana is a great baby. A GREAT baby. She has her father’s temperament. She doesn’t get riled easily, she’s not a fussy baby. She is quiet and content most of the time. I keep telling her that she needs to speak up or she’s gonna get left somewhere one day with the size of this bunch.  .

The problem is, she’s a lazy eater. L.A.Z.Y I tell ya! And we have some spit-up issues. And by spit-up issues I mean “holy shit where the hell is all that disgusting stuff coming out of her mouth coming from, I’m not even sure she ate that much, oh damn, now she’s choking” issues. When I took her in for her two week check she hadn’t yet reached her birth weight. Her doctor said to try to increase her feedings and add some pumped milk in to try to fatten her up a bit. She gained but not much. When I went in at my six week check-up she still wasn’t really gaining weight. She’s a slow eater. She falls asleep and stays that way. She only wants to eat so much and eating at the booby is work – did I mention she’s lazy?   We figured that because of how much she was spitting up she just wasn’t keeping the calories in she needed.  Dr. Merrill suggested that I “supplement” at her feedings. He never did say the “F” word, just let me come to that on my own, and I’m thankful for that.  We tried Zantac and that didn’t help. So I decided that splitting her feedings half breast milk/half formula was the best idea. It was giving her the extra calories she obviously wasn’t getting from me while still getting the benefits of the breast milk.  I tried a “gentle” version formula. It was better but could still be improved.  I switched her to a soy version and Holy Mother of God! SUCCESS! Looks like my girl has either a lactose sensitivity like me or a milk protein allergy that she’ll hopefully grow out of. The spitting is still there. After she eats you still have to be careful and whatever you do, do not lay the child flat. We have a weight-check appointment on Wednesday.  Fingers crossed that we see a “good” weight.

So for now I sit attached to this stupid breast pump and feeling like a dairy cow.  Thankfully I found this nifty bra…


Gee, don’t you wish you were me? Hint: I do not look this cheerful while hooked up to this contraption. Just sayin’.

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