Monday, June 8, 2009

Breastfeeding update

I would like to start by saying, once again, a big Thank You to all the ladies who offered their insight, experience, wisdom and support last time I talked about our breastfeeding journey. It was so wonderful to hear from you.

I'm writing a little update for those who might be wondering how we are doing. We weighed Shira yesterday, and I'm happy to tell you that she is gaining steadily and well now, at an average rate of about 4 ounces per week. It's not as much as the pediatrician would have wanted, but as long as she's constantly gaining at a reasonable rate, we are fine with that.

More news: Shira went back to nursing at night. I never thought I could be so happy about getting up at 4 AM. I think this has been really beneficial for my milk supply.

I'm still angry and sad that my sweet, happy, active child was labeled FTT, and also about the fact that when our doctor told me "you probably don't have enough milk" she went on and said, "use formula" rather than "do anything possible to get your supply back up". To tell you the truth, I feel cheated and betrayed. Breastfeeding is so, so important, so why aren't we encouraged to put up a fight to keep it up?

Kellymom is a wonderful breastfeeding online resource, which I'm sure many of you are already familiar with. It's so helpful for nursing mothers. Here are a few especially informative articles about weight gain and milk supply:

Increasing Low Milk Supply
How might I increase baby's weight gain?
Is Baby Getting Enough Milk?

Moms, eat well, drink plenty, and nurse often! Happy breastfeeding everyone.

11 comments:

Persuaded said...

oh my dear.. i am so sorry that your little darling was labeled ftt. if it helps at all, my millen was also labeled ftt, which was very difficult for me. she needed to be weighed weekly at the dr's office, which imo made me more anxious and did nothing to help the situation at all.

my first impulse was to give you lots of advice for increasing your milk supply and helping her to nurse more effectively.... but i suspect you have more of that than you know what to do with at this point. instead i'll offer you my prayers for the both of you, and my warmest thoughts as well. oh and here's a ♥((hug))♥ for good measure;)

Mrs. R said...

Anna, what wonderful news!! Shira is blessed to have a resourceful, persistent mother!

Today's medical community (generalization here) is mostly for the quick fix to any problem and not interested in finding the underlying causes. With the billing they have to do, they can not spend the time with any one patient to truly assess any underlying cause. Throwing a pill at it (or formula in your case) is a quick fix. Done. Case closed. And today's "pills" are all quick fixes. Using traditional nutritional methods take T-I-M-E, and doctors don't have that! To be fair, most patients won't take the time to truly "fix" things either, they have been raised to expect a quick everything!

Keep up the great work and don't forget your afternoon and/or morning naps! Nap when Shira naps and don't worry about the dishes. They will still be there to do later. I'd come help, but a "quick" trip to your place would involve an air flight of many hours!!
Blessings,
~Mrs. R

Julia said...

Wonderful news!

PandaBean said...

My youngest was also labeled FTT, but she actually was. The way you discribed your darling, she was still gaining, just very slowly. Serena was losing weight. She was 9lb2oz at birth and 8lb7oz (I think) when we went home from the hospital. At her first dr visit, she had lost weight down to 7lbs10oz! I was trying so hard to nurse exclusively and this was sad news for me. She was also crying constantly, she was only quiet when she was asleep or nursing. She wasn't having wet and dirty diapers. She was in dire need of nutrition, so I broke into my supply of formula left over from Amelia after I spoke to an LC. After a week, she had gained a little bit, so I started cutting back on formula. Eventually she settled in at about 8 1/2 lbs for about 2-3 weeks. I finally got in an appointment with an LC face to face and she was super helpful. She gave me tons of assistance and a supplimental feeder for her to actually get food while nursing. Turns out we had latching problems and she delveloped a weak suck very quickly so I really did have almost no supply. I tried additional pumping and more frequent nursing and all sorts of things, but with a toddler as well to care for, I wasn't able to keep up as ishould have. So after 4 weeks, we switched to just formula. Thats twice as long as lastime! With another baby due in Decmber, I've decided I'm not going to go thru the same thing again and we'll start right off with formula after we get home. I'm still a big nursing advocate and since I know we're not done having children after this, maybe once the older ones are able to watch the youngest ones for an hour at a time, I can try again!

God Bless!
PandaBean

Purple Envelope Project said...

I don't know why the medical establishment is so quick to tell nursing mother's to use formula!

My little girl was born tongue tied. Clipping the tie was the most simple procedure you could imagine. It literally took 5 minutes. Yet, at the hospital, the doctors told me that I should give up breast feeding and switch to bottle feeding because it would be easier.

I'm happy to report that we are closing in on 1 year of happy, uneventful nursing.

You would think that doctors would look at *why* your milk supply would be low or *why* she wasn't gaining like they wanted, instead of just throwing formula at the problem! I am very proud of you for fighting for your daughter.

Ganeida said...

The night feeds will surely help plus you need a night feed if breastfeeding is the only sort of family spacing you use. Breastfeeding like so much else in life has it's seasons: seasons of want as bub goes through a growth spurt & feeds more often to build the supply, & seasons of plenty when feedings are more relaxed; comfort feeding when sick or teething; playful feeds as they get older; love feeds because food [breast] is love. I am so happy you are trusting Shira & yourself to know what's best for you both.

Together We Save said...

I am soi glad you did what you felt was bst and kept nursing. I had no support with my first and gave up after only a week. I did not even try with my other 2. I regret this very much.

Mrs. Anna T said...

PandaBean,

I'm so sorry for all you went through! I can imagine how heart-breaking it was for you as a mother.

A wrong latch is one of the most common breastfeeding problems, yet fortunately, if discovered early enough it can usually be solved. We had problems with Shira's latch at first, too - she wouldn't open her mouth wide enough and my nipples were VERY sore. Fortunately, I was able to get help from a LC right before our discharge from the hospital (on the 3-rd day of Shira's life) and things have really picked up from then.

I'm absolutely convinced that the short meeting with the LC was PRICELESS - it saved us the pain of cracked and bleeding nipples, inefficient suckling, and most likely REAL FTT.

I can understand why you don't feel like even trying again after all you had to go through before, but perhaps an early meeting with a GOOD LC in the first day or two of the baby's life can completely change the picture. If it doesn't work, at least you tried. And if it does, imagine the hassle and money you can save by not using formula, not to mention all the health benefits. And you can always supplement with, or switch to formula if it doesn't work out.

Breast milk, and especially colostrum, has immunological factors which are very beneficial for a baby's health, so even if you nurse for just a few days, you have still done a lot. I'm certain that even the few weeks your girls were breastfed gave a real boost to their immune systems, perhaps for a lifetime.

But of course, it's your decision and I'm sure that whatever you eventually choose will be the best for your family in your particular circumstances.

PandaBean said...

I do plan on nursing some while in the hospital and we are part of a program where we get most of our formula for free, Praise be to God!

I have been going back and forth a little about my choice. At least I have 6 more months to figure it out!

I was fortunate to see an LC while at the hospital, but she said I seemed to be doing everything right. I worked with a lactation therapist (esentially an un-certified LC) on almost a daily basis and she said I seemed to know as much as she did! Perhaps a full visit with an LC in the first week or two instead of 3-4 weeks later would help a lot.

God Bless!
PandaBean

Mrs. Parunak said...

I'm so glad to hear that things are going better! Good for you for trusting your maternal instincts and finding help online and through La Leche League. I know you know how I feel about doctors telling mothers to just give up without bothering to find out what's really wrong! What a blessing for Shira that you're working to get the problem solved without compromising her nutrition.

Audrey said...

Random: I just read this article, which speaks against breastfeeding. I thought of you when I was reading it, and how I'm sure you'll share with me in outrage.
Read it if you want to, but please don't feel obligated. It might make your blood pressure go up :).
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/print/200904/case-against-breastfeeding