One of my goals with this baby was to breastfeed. While I understood exclusive breastfeeding may not be an option, both my own mother and grandmother struggled with low supply, but I was hopeful. I realize you have to have goals but be flexible in how things actually turn out, since things in life don’t always go as planned.
My baby was born on a Monday but my milk didn’t come in until Saturday. Before that, I supposedly should have had colostrum, but I really don’t think I did. Baby H’s first day in the hospital was very stressful because his blood sugar kept dropping too low. My hospital is very pro-breastfeeding, but if baby isn’t meeting all their metrics, they do push formula. So they made me attempt to breastfeed at every feeding but then supplement with formula. I had both lactation consultants come see me in my hospital room and try to help, but Baby H would not nurse. We decided it was likely due to me not having very much colostrum in there, since he would try to latch and suck, and break off and scream, and we could tell no liquid was coming out. I even tried pumping, and got condensation. So I was told to supplement until my milk came in, and he would likely do better once he was actually getting something.
Well, my milk came in on that Saturday, but we still had a lot of issues with breastfeeding. He still couldn’t get the hang of latching on so I pumped, but wasn’t getting a whole lot. So I continued to supplement so the little guy would eat. At his appointment with the pediatrician, she suggested we get a different lactation consultant to come to the house and help us out one on one. I made an appointment and the nice lady really worked with Baby H and we realized he had a very lazy latch. He wasn’t using his tongue and didn’t open up wide enough so he wasn’t pulling out anything, which is why he kept screaming and coming off the breast. We couldn’t get him to nurse without a nipple shield but at least with the shield he thinks it is a bottle and takes it. She also told me to increase the number of times I pumped and start taking the Mother Love More Milk Plus supplement to help with my supply.
Fast forward to today, and I have to say while thing have gotten better, they are not what I hoped they would be. Baby H is 6 weeks old, and while he does nurse most of the time, sometimes he still is lazy and screams rather than nurses. I’m still using the nipple shield because he doesn’t recognize my skin as food, but does recognize the plastic feel of the bottle nipple. Even when he does a great job nursing and I can feel him empty me, he still isn’t satisfied and continues to want more food. That is when I supplement with formula. When I pump, I average about 2 oz total from both breasts, and he typically eats 4 or more. I do realize he might be getting more than the pump, but since he has a lazy suck, I don’t think he does. The couple of times I was able to nurse and weigh using a baby scale, he got about 2.5 oz in the feedings. He also tires himself out so much when nursing that he passes out, and wakes up again 10 minutes or so later still starving. So either I nurse round the clock to try to keep him full, or I give him a bottle and get a break. He definitely is bottle spoiled since the pumped milk or formula flows out so much easier, which I realize is perpetuating the problem of his lazy suck, but I’ve come to terms with it.
I’ve decided as long as I breastfeed him several times a day, even if I top off with formula and formula feed other meals, I’m still giving him the good stuff and all my immunities, and that makes me a good Mom. Yes, I have to buy formula and am not ending up with completely cost-free and exclusively breastmilk feedings for my child like I had hoped, but that is ok; that doesn’t mean I’m not a good Mom. Yes I still deal with breast pains – engorgement, sensitivity (showering is painful, btw) – even though I don’t produce enough milk for a full feeding. Yes, it is still worth it. I give him what I can, and I make sure his needs are met. That is what makes me a good Mom.