ive finally come to terms with having to suppliment
So my breastfeeding adventure, I had my first baby in 2006. I was pretty educated on the benefits of breastfeeding and was all for exclusively nursing. But I. Assumed that it would be easy. My milk cam in fine, and we .
nursed ok. I did not realize until later that we had a horrible latch and positioning. At first she was so sleepy she never ate. Even as a brand new baby she slept in 8 hour stretches, nursed for 5 minutes and passed out. My supply dwindled. Then colic started. After a few weeks I introduced the bottle. I tried to wean it back out. But it seemed I just could not get my supply up. I didn't know about lactation consultants or even online mom groups to ask for help. I nursed and nursed and got no where. By 2 months I gave up entirely. And she was formula fed until 10 months when I couldn't even trick her into drinking it from a cup. (Can't blame her, formula tastes disgusting)
2008 baby #2 was born. I had educated myself on nursing problems, fixes and technique. I was determined to nurse for a year minimum. Things started off great. She latched great and was a wonderful eater with great appitite. I thought we were doing wonderfuly. Around her 3 months it seemed I all of a sudden was not keeping up. She nursed constantly, first I thought normal cluster feeding. But it didn't stop...for a month! She became sleepy and when she was awake she was upset and fussy all the time. Her diaper count dropped. What was once 7-8 diapers a day turned into 3-4. One day around 4 months after a several hour run of screaming/nursing/screaming/refusing to nurse/ screaming/nursing I broke down and gave her one of the 2 oz bottles from the hospital. For the first time in a month she was satisfied. I tried to keep the bottles low. Thinking "what's one bottle here and there going to hurt?" I began working soon after. I didn't respond to my pump. I could only get a few drops. Eventually I decided she would be bottle fed while I worked and nursed while I was home. In now time my anti-breastfeeding husband started to sabatoge me. She would get hungry around noon, I was off work at 1230 and he would give her a full feeding right before I got home. It took little time to lose that feeding. By 7 months my supply had dropped so much, i gave up and switched her to formula. She took a bottle until her first birthday.
My son was born in 2011 and I was determined to nurse to 1 year. I was sure all my issues before were working, pumping, bad latch, bad position, sabotaging husband (now ex husband) and since those were out of the way it would be smooth sailing. And it was. At first. 3 days post partum I developed what I thought was thrush. I battled and battled and battled. On top of the pain a familiar occurance began. Around the 3 month growth spurt, clusterfeeding started and didn't stop. We cluster fed for over a month! He cried and was sleepy a lot! When he was awake he was fussy and unsettled. Nursing seemed to distress him! I assumed it was this neverending thrush hurting his throat. I wasn't paying attention to diapers. I went to a lactation consultant around 4 months for the thrush. She took one look at him and wanted to do weight evaluations and feeding evaluations etc. She gave me a diaper counting chart. After one week it was quite a slap in the face. His diaper count was 1-3 diapers a DAY!! How did I not notice? IDK!!! I changed so many dry diapers! I don't know how it wasn't obvious! Denial maybe. We did where we weigh him, nurse then weigh again for many many feedings. At most I was tranfering less than an ounce per feeding. She had me see my midwife and together they dianosed me with IGT. The LC brought up supplimenting. She gave me one of those tubes you lay in your nipple to you can suppliment while they nurse, and all the contact info for the local milk donor source. I went home in tears. So angry and upset. That I couldn't nurse, that I was so blind to it, that everything else had gotten so messed up (we lost our home, lost our home birth, etc) bfing was my last shot at not FAILING at EVERYTHING. And I was failing. I nursed and nursed and nursed that night. I think he was on the boob for a solid 7 hours that night. My husband and home and panicing and crying I sent him for a can of formula. He bought my favorite kind. The ONLY kind that didn't make the girls sick. I had bottles from my pump and I made him a 2 oz bottle. He was accepting and drank it slowly. I don't even think he finished it. And then he slept. Over the next couple weeks I supplimented 2 oz after my evening feeding everyday. And he started to change so quickly. His eyes that were so sunk in, popped out, his face that was gaunt filled out. His skin that was grey became pink. His hair began growing. His nails grew. He would be awake and we HAPPY and he would sleep soundly. Milestones that he was months behind on he began to SKIP through! His diaper count went back to 7-8 diapers! He started to smile. I look back on pictures at my baby at 3 months vs 4 and he was dying. Slowing starving to death because I wouldn't let go of breastfeeding.
He is 19 months now and still nursing...once a day. But still nursing (mostly for comfort...I don't even know if I have a drop of milk). At 1 I stopped the bottle and all my suppliments, expecting for it to die out in under a month.
I have come to terms with my failures with my first, and I feel I did my best with my second. My thrid I saw first hand that supplimenting saved his life.
But knowing that we may have more babies some day I still have the thought creep in "if I try harder I won't have to suppliment, if I take my suppliments and pump constantly I won't have to suppliment". But I spoke to a friend last night, pretty much saying all of this and getting it all out. And you know, I'm ok with supplimenting. Its just what I will have to do. I don't want to. I won't ever chose to. But it its how my baby needs to survive then I'll do it.