Thursday, March 8, 2012

Breastfeeding highs and lows....

  What a roller coaster these past two weeks have been.  Mothering three has been harder and more joyful than I could have imagined.  Its funny how hard it is to accept the things God has put in my path.  I wanted so badly to have a son, but God saw fit to give me another daughter, and now I can't fathom any other baby in her place.  She has this beautiful disposition with dark eyes so expressive sometimes I feel like I can see her tiny baby soul.  So far, she seems to have a very laid back spirit and I love how the chaos of our lives doesn't seem to bother her in the slightest.  Carl and I joke she seems more restless at night, not because she has her days and nights confused, but because its too quiet in the house and she can't sleep!!  I also wanted so badly a natural birth, and of course you know, I didn't get that either.  I am healing pretty well from surgery, so its easier not to be disgruntled about the loss of that dream.  Perhaps my biggest wish, was to be successful at breastfeeding #3.  I struggled with both the other girls and I gave up very early on.  I was determined to make this breastfeeding thing work.

  At 5 days old, we had our first check-up and the doctor noted she had lost weight (which is expected) but not too much.  We met with a lactation consultant, who really boosted my confidence as she watched us nurse.  She praised Avery's latch and at the time she ate very eagerly.  The next two days started a downhill slide that I didn't really see happening.  I was worried because Avery wasn't really having as many wet or dirty diapers as I thought she should.  When she did have a wet diaper I was even more concerned because I could tell the urine was way more concentrated than it should be.  I continued to nurse on demand and she latched and ate well, though she tired easily and I had to try to wake her a lot.  We spent a large part of those two days skin to skin, hoping her nakedness would encourage her to eat!  Seems she is a typical Breidert with a good body temperature and enjoyed her nakedness!  Two days later, we saw a different doc who was immediately discouraged.  She checked Avery's diaper and said bad news.  "That is "day 2" baby poop, and she should be having "day 7" baby poop"-basically she was getting dehydrated and not taking in enough fluids.  She watched us nurse in office, watched us struggle to wake her.  She gave us tips on waking her, supplementing her, etc and sent us home with the plan to force her to nurse every two hours round the clock and when finished nursing Dad should give her supplemented formula  (1-3 ounces) and I should pump at the same time to help establish my milk supply.  She said I was dangerously close to "drying up", unbeknownst to me.  So we did this.  The next 12 hours were horrible.  Her dehydration had gotten so bad, not only could I not rouse her to nurse, we could barely rouse her to take a bottle.  We had her naked, with a wet cold wash cloth and still it was hard to get her to take in more than a swallow or two.  Still no pee or poop, and we nearly took her to the hospital.  Carl and I diligently spent the next day setting alarms and force feeding Avery, and eventually she perked up and filled up some diapers for us.  It was pretty scary, and made worse by my misplaced feelings of failure.  I continued to pump, getting out a whopping 5 ml total every two hours.  I know babies are more efficient at removing milk than a pump, but a teaspoon just seemed so disheartening! 

  Fast forward to this past Monday.  I was sent a link to an article by a friend suggesting a link between women with PCOS and a low milk supply. 

  Thanks for reading if you made it this far into my very long vent.  Its just been weighing so hard on my mind and spirit, it feels good to get it all out.  Also, I know PCOS effects up to 15% of the population, and I know sometimes a third of those moms have issues with low milk supply.  I wish I'd known that when I was struggling to breastfeed Lilly five years ago.  I hope the information is helpful to anyone else who could be effected. 

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