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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Breastfeeding is best...

As most people that know me know, I am for breastfeeding 100%.  I have always thought of all the people that say, they "couldn't" breastfeed just didn't try hard enough.  I was breastfeed for 18 months and I know it made a big difference in my childhood, no ear infections or anything.  I made a commitment to breastfeed Ellyssa.

My mom of course backed me, but inside she didn't think I would really do it since I was 20.  In the hospital, I tried to breastfeed, but had difficulties.  I had the nurse get me and lactation consultant.  My daughter wasn't latching on and there was a fix for it, a nipple shield.  Now, did I want to see this EVERY single time I went to feed her, no of course not.  Each time I tried to nurse her I tried it without it at first and then had to resort to using it.  After about 2 weeks, I no longer had to use it, she was successfully nursing with out it.  Then I faced not making enough milk.  I tried Brewer's Yeast, which proved unsuccessful, and my doctor, Dr. Richmond, gave me a prescription for Reglan.  It worked wonderfully, and I exclusively breastfed Lyssa until she was 9 months.  I made my mom proud, myself proud, and most importantly my daughter healthy.

Going into this pregnancy with my son, I knew I would breastfeed him as well.  In my mind it's the ONLY thing to do.  My mom spent a lot of money on Boppies and nursing clothes to make sure I had everything I needed.  Well, things this time didn't go as smoothly.  Although I had my bumps in the road with feeding Lyssa, there was nothing that would prepare me for the difficulties that I would face this time around.

In the hospital things were going smoothly, actually compared to my troubles with Lyssa things were going great.  Alex got Jaundice and had to be kept under the lights for 24 hours, which meant they only brought him to me to feed, which at ECM is every 3 hours.  I was beginning to give out due to one particular nurse, who has no business being a nurse, and his umbilical cord getting infected so he had to be put on antibiotics for 24 hours and now the Jaundice.  I asked for a pump, so I could get some rest.  I, very easily, pumped 2 ounces from each side.  I was very proud of myself as was the nursery where I sent it so I could get some rest.

I thought things were looking up so I was happy and confident when it was time to finally go home.  That's when trouble started... He began spitting up, which in the hospital he had only done a few times, but I paid no attention to it because it only started when he had to be kept under the lights so I thought he might have gotten too hot.  He was born weighing 7 pounds and 13 ounces, and came home from the hospital weighing 7 pounds 2 ounces, which is normal.  When we went to the 1 week check up, which was only 24 hours after leaving the hospital, he was up to 7 pounds and 6 ounces, again leaving me feeling good.

When we took him back for his 2 week check-up, the spitting up had gotten worse and now the scale read 7 pounds and 4 ounces, at this point he should have been back to his birth weight.  We were sent to ECM for an Upper GI Scan, and it revealed reflux, to which he was given medicine to take 3 times a day.  Of course this also began our daily trip to the doctor's office.  I have to admit, I LOVE Dr. Melvin and his entire staff, I just wish I had found him back when Lyssa was born, but it's OK we have transferred her there.

When his weight was still not improving, I heard the words that I never wanted to hear, "you need to start supplementing", to me translated to "you failed at breastfeeding."  Of course, I could no longer talk to the doctor without crying, no matter how hard I tried to choke back my tears.  To which I was met with open arms, I have never seen a doctor's office do so much for me.  They realized at that moment, I wasn't a mom to say, "I give up," I was determined.  The doctor was on one phone with WIC to get them to pay for some Human Milk Fortifier(which adds calories to my milk), and a nurse was on another phone securing me a breast pump.  I was given a bottle of similac sensitive, due to his reflux and they wanted me to try this.  We went from there to Milner Rushing to get the breast pump, which was $3 a day to rent, but worth it for my child.  Benji took the prescription for the Human Milk Fortifier to WIC and they had to order it.  Apparently, people just don't try this hard now a days.  Oh and it's $180 a box and the box lasts 2 weeks.
Now, we had to wait for about a week before it even came in.  I began pumping and much to my shock and horror, I could only get 1/2 ounces from each side and not my 2 ounces.  So, I called my doctor, and they called me in a prescription for Raglan, to help me produce milk.  While I was pumping and weighting for my milk to come back, I was giving him the Similac that the doctor had given me.  Needless to say it was all coming back up, not just the couple of mouthfuls like with my milk.  So, they switched him to The Similac Soy, which confused me since he could take my milk obviously he can take milk.  Well, within seconds of taking it, I was wearing the entire bottle.  I couldn't do that to my child.

Next came time for WIC, the Fortifier was in and after them realizing I wasn't giving up without a fight, they loaned me a breast pump exactly like the one I was paying $3 a day for.  It's amazing to me the amount of help you get if you just ask.  However, the Fortifier wasn't staying down either.  Every one of the bottles that I gave him of my milk that had this in it, he spit right back up.  I was at a loss on what to do with baby boy.  So, I remembered from 9 months to 12 months, when Lyssa was on formula, I gave her Good Start and she had no problems at all.  It was worth a shot to me since nothing else was working.  He kept it down, one occasional mouthful of spit up was fine with me since he does have reflux and he is a baby.

When we reported back to the doctor for our 1 month check up Lil Man was almost 9 pounds and very happy.  I explained what happened with the Fortifier, and the doctor said apparently he has a sensitivity to the fillers that are put in similac to stay away from all similac products.  But that he was doing great.  In the meantime, regardless of pumping and taking medications for milk, the stress itself and me not eating because I was watching him and caring for him, I lost all of my milk.  At that point I was content though, as I realized I wasn't one of those women who said "I couldn't breastfeed," no matter how anyone thought about me saying I couldn't breastfeed and looking at me the way I look at some of them and in my head thinking "no, you could you just didn't want to," has no idea what all I went through to give my son the best start at life. 

As I cried many times blaming myself, there were many more times that I could fix him a bottle of Good Start and he would keep it down and smile at me.  I know in my heart that he got the Colostrum (vitamins before the milk comes in) that he needed.  I know he is doing well. 

Then last week right when he turned 8 weeks old he began spitting up large amounts again.  I did research on the Mayo Clinic, which I hold in high standards, and found his medication may need to be increased since he's almost 2 months, and I could thicken his bottle with cereal.  I thought there is no way I pouring a pound of cereal into his bottle like I have seen a lot of moms do.  I went with the guidelines from the Mayo Clinic, 2 Tbsp and 6 ounces of Good Start.  This barely made a difference when just looking at it, but turning the bottle up I could see a slight difference.  From bottle one, he keeps it down.  Success again!  We see the doctor Thursday and maybe they will increase his medicine, but until then, this is our combination.
As long as Lil Man is happy, we are all happy!  To those who truly want to breastfeed, it is the best option, but if you can't and you really tried, there is no shame in not being able to, it took time, but eventually I realized this.

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