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Going broke from breastfeeding

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
And insane...

I think i've literally spent in the thousands trying to breastfeed my 3 month old DS. It's becoming an obsession. I refuse to fail...i've tried everything and yet nothing has worked. Everyone tells me to give it up but I can't accept defeat. I don't know what needs to happen for me to just let it go!

Lets see....I have 4 pumps that I bought and I rented one for 2 months..I'm on DPD, fenugreek, blessed thistle, marshmallow, nettle, fennel, goats rue and alfalfa (wow..), i've seen three LC's and a chiropractor. I have 4 lactaid systems and about every "breastfeeding friendly" bottle on the market. I'm renting a medela babyweigh scale. Then of course I have 4 nursing tanks and 4 nursing bras or so and a hands free pumping strap. I'm sure there's more...

On top of all that, i'm still supplementing most of his nutrition with formula.

If I KNEW the problem was unfixable and hopeless, maybe I could give up, but the last LC gave me hope and i'm holding onto it for dear life. I've lost ALL support. My mom, who is my best friend, not only is unsupportive but seems to desperately WANT me to give up. When I tell her "there's one more thing to try" she gets really frustrated with me and makes me feel like i'm a lunatic. Maybe I am? I lost my husbands support recently too. It's gone on too long and he's lost hope and sick of me spending money.

I want to try one more thing though - CST. It make sense to me that it would help him...but it's $45 a session and i'd need at least 5-6 sessions!! How can I justify that? My husband will NEVER go for this. What do I do? Insist on trying ONE MORE THING (yeah sure - I haven't said THAT before...) or just let go and admit defeat. (when I say admit defeat, I mean just continue using the lactaid long term and pumping what I can and leaving it at that - not trying to fix the latch and increase my supply).
post #2 of 44


Honestly, after 3 months and what you've tried, I don't think I'd call using the lactaid and pumping what you can defeat.
post #3 of 44
wow. i'm sorry to hear that you guys are having such a hard time.
i don't know much about cst. but it sounds like you have given too much time and energy to this to give up now. do you think you could be at peace with that decision?

i wish you the best of luck.
post #4 of 44
Well, I hate to say it because I'm know you are getting advice from professionals and I don't know the specifics of why you are supplementing, but formula always seems like a downward spiral. Because the second you supplement you are signaling your body to make less, which causes you need to supplement more, and so on and so on. The other thing is that stress made it impossible for me to have letdown when pumping, so that is a bad catch-22 as well. But if I read, relaxed, didn't watch the pump or the clock then I would get twice as much milk. Fennugreek and other supplements never really worked for me either. The only thing that would cause my supply to stay up was eating good, staying hydrated, relaxing, and keeping the baby on the boob as long as he would stay (or the pump).

You have really tried hard and you should absolutely not feel bad if it doesn't work out. But sometimes I just feel that women can almost try too hard, and get too much advice and lose touch with their own instincts. Take time to focus on yourself, your body, your baby and see where it leads you. Good luck, and remember that your baby will be fine no matter how he ends up feeding in the end.
post #5 of 44
Well, cst worked wonders for us, but we started it at 3 days old, not 3 months old.
Not to give out false hope or anything.
I'm a big believer in chiro, though, so I would say go for it. Is there anything you can do to make the money for it yourself? That way hubby won't have to be subsidizing...
It also might help you to get adjusted at the same time--at least for a stress release which might help your supply.
post #6 of 44
I have to say without CST my daughter would have never started nursing. I pumped 100% until she was 3 months old due to a myriad of problems. Looking back, it sucked, it was awful, and it was totally worth it.

One thing I did do was give myself permission to take breaks. By that I meant giving myself time to focus on pumping and increasing supply, but not stressing about getting her latched. Giving myself permission to cut back but not give up really helped.

One thing that jumped out at me from your post is maybe relaxing just a little bit about it and maybe your body will respond. Maybe pick ONE aspect that you are having trouble with and work on just that. So maybe get your supply up and then try to woo baby back to the breast, or get the baby latching and using the nurse-aids to up supply. Have you discussed the fact that you are taking all of the supplements together with an LC? I was buddies with a woman online who had several supplements interact with each other and ended up inhibiting her supply. When she cut down on the combined supplements she had an easier time upping her supply.

I guess what I am saying is you have to do what you have to do. I've been there, I've obsessed, we succeeded, despite what EVERYONE said. The times when I backed off slightly were beneficial for my own sanity and for helping the people around me not want to strangle me as much.

I knew I wouldn't have been able to live with myself without knowing I had done everything possible.

Don't give up until you are good and ready. Don't admit defeat, maybe just take a break until your husband is ready to try that "one more thing." This is tough on them too, just in a totally different way.
post #7 of 44
I would pay for the CST. I've also spent a ton of money on BF'ing. I thought BF'ing was going to be cheaper than formula but in my case its really not. I have a pump I bought, one I rented, I'm renting a scale. All the books the LC appts ect. Now I'm paying for CST and let me tell you I can already see a difference. Between the domperidone and the CST we are making progress. My DD was only transfering about 1 oz from me and after one session of CST she is now transferring 3oz. We still have 4 more appts. I don't see it as being obsessed I just see it as trying to do everything in my power to make sure my DD gets the best nutrition she can possibly have.
post #8 of 44
Using a Lact-aid and supplementing at the breast is NOT defeat. It wouldn't even be defeat if you chose at this point to just stop, and give bottles. You are clearly a warrior mama, and that is great, but don't let the breastfeeding war distract you from this amazing time with your baby that is going to FLY by. I know it doesn't feel like it now, and it sure didn't for me. I used the Lact-Aid for about 6 months, kept pumping up until about 18 months, and kept taking domperidone until about 20 months. I gave up on each thing as I was ready to. (I just got so frustrated with the Lact-Aid.) I'm glad I fought for it but I have learned something that I wish I'd known, and that is that breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing. Every drop your child gets is a benefit to them, and the fact that you're trying so hard is amazing for them, and the love you are putting into it is AMAZING for them. All of these things COUNT towards the health and well-being of your baby.

FWIW my daughter still still STILL loves to nurse and requests boobies all the time and in fact drives me crazy lately by constantly sticking her hand down my shirt.

My point is, trying to INCREASE your supply is great. But if you can't, that's ok. Your breastfeeding journey with your child is your own, it doesn't need to be defined by anyone but you and your child.

post #9 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jitterBug mom View Post
Well, I hate to say it because I'm know you are getting advice from professionals and I don't know the specifics of why you are supplementing, but formula always seems like a downward spiral. Because the second you supplement you are signaling your body to make less, which causes you need to supplement more, and so on and so on. The other thing is that stress made it impossible for me to have letdown when pumping, so that is a bad catch-22 as well. But if I read, relaxed, didn't watch the pump or the clock then I would get twice as much milk. Fennugreek and other supplements never really worked for me either. The only thing that would cause my supply to stay up was eating good, staying hydrated, relaxing, and keeping the baby on the boob as long as he would stay (or the pump).

You have really tried hard and you should absolutely not feel bad if it doesn't work out. But sometimes I just feel that women can almost try too hard, and get too much advice and lose touch with their own instincts. Take time to focus on yourself, your body, your baby and see where it leads you. Good luck, and remember that your baby will be fine no matter how he ends up feeding in the end.
Great post!!!
post #10 of 44
Thread Starter 
Wow thank you all for the amazing posts. My heart melted reading them. It's nice to hear from people who believe in breastfeeding. I think most people i'm around honestly believe formula is just as good as breastmilk. I know my mom does.

Anyway, I know relaxing is something I REALLY need to do and it does seem like every time i've gotten to the point that i'm getting ready to give up, I suddenly get an increase in supply and get a second wind to not give up....just in time for my supply to dip again! So there's definitely something in the relaxing thing. I just wish I knew how to consciously do it without having to give up to do it! I do get slightly more pumping if I read or not concentrate on how much i'm getting. I can only pump anywhere from 3/4oz to 1.25oz. Rarely i'll get 1.5oz. (per session)

When I weigh DS before and after feeding, he usually transfers around that same amount. BUT BUT when I went to the LC last and she did a WFW measurement, he transferred 2.5oz so I feel like the milk is THERE but baby and pump can't get it out? Or that one session with the LC was a complete fluke.

The thing is, there was like 3 days after that LC visit that we had the latch going well and I could tell he was transferring milk well and he was satisfied and having wet diapers but then just as soon as his latch improved, it fell apart again. I really feel like I can produce the milk, but just can't let down easy for the pump and DS has latch problems so he can't transfer it either and it makes it appear that I just have really really low supply and that's it. My instincts tell me that's not it.

Here's why I think CST would help. Maybe those that have experience with it could tell me if i'm right? He has a high palate and tight frenulum (but not tight enough to clip), he doesn't open his mouth wide enough even for bottles, he won't accept things far enough in the back of his throat (oral aversion?) and he gags, he protects his airways by humping his tongue up in the back clamping down on my nipples and therefore doesn't thrust his tongue correctly into the areola to get milk out. He had a tough birth. He was posterior presentation and was stuck in the birth canal for 2.5 hours. He had a big hematoma when he was born and actually still has a slight lump there 3 months later.

I think if I knew for sure, or even just had very high hopes that CST would work, i'd put out the money no problem. But I thought ALL of the things i've tried would help and told my husband over and over "let me just try this- i think it will work!" He doesn't even believe me anymore. I don't blame him. I'm terrified i'm going to put out this rather large amount of money only for it to be one more thing that doesn't work.

I do have one idea for what I can say to my husband. I'm going to see my ped next friday and since he does still have the lump on his head, I could tell my husband that the ped wants me to get CST to get the lump straightened out and that it has nothing to do with breastfeeding. (i'm terrible) He MIGHT go for it better then.
post #11 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by prettypixels View Post
Using a Lact-aid and supplementing at the breast is NOT defeat. It wouldn't even be defeat if you chose at this point to just stop, and give bottles. You are clearly a warrior mama, and that is great, but don't let the breastfeeding war distract you from this amazing time with your baby that is going to FLY by. I know it doesn't feel like it now, and it sure didn't for me. I used the Lact-Aid for about 6 months, kept pumping up until about 18 months, and kept taking domperidone until about 20 months. I gave up on each thing as I was ready to. (I just got so frustrated with the Lact-Aid.) I'm glad I fought for it but I have learned something that I wish I'd known, and that is that breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing. Every drop your child gets is a benefit to them, and the fact that you're trying so hard is amazing for them, and the love you are putting into it is AMAZING for them. All of these things COUNT towards the health and well-being of your baby.

FWIW my daughter still still STILL loves to nurse and requests boobies all the time and in fact drives me crazy lately by constantly sticking her hand down my shirt.

My point is, trying to INCREASE your supply is great. But if you can't, that's ok. Your breastfeeding journey with your child is your own, it doesn't need to be defined by anyone but you and your child.

Thank you so much for this post. I feels much better to be called a "warrier mama" then an obsessive lunatic mama. Good for you for sticking it out long enough to get to the point where your daughter can tell you how much she loves breastfeeding. I hope I can get there. That must be so rewarding. Sometimes I feel like i'm forcing my son to do something he doesn't want to since he can't get much and squirms and fights to try to get the milk out. It feels like i'm doing it more for my own selfish reasons than for him.
post #12 of 44
Given what you said about the tough birth, I would definitely try CST. Sounds very similar to our dd--3 hours in the birth canal, misshapen head, wouldn't get her tongue out. She also held her lower jaw back--don't know if yours does that.
It worked wonders.
post #13 of 44
On the tight frenulum, high palate thing, I just read a thread over in Dental about baby teeth being pulled to a V and it showed that things had been tighter in the mouth than they'd realized. Let me see if I can find it. The key was that the baby could stick her tongue out just fine, but the tip was heart-shaped.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1069056

Not as helpful as I remembered.
post #14 of 44
I don't have time for a detailed reply right now, but I SO know how you feel - read my sig link for our story. YOU CAN DO THIS! And I agree on the CST.
post #15 of 44
have you read the sticky on relactation/ inducing lactation in the breastfeeding challenges subforum? i just happened to be reading it and it made me think of your post. i know what you are going through is different, but there are some ideas in there for how to bond with your baby in ways conducive to breastfeeding that are also just very relaxing, like taking warm baths with baby, etc. i dunno, if you haven't read it, it might be worth a look.
good luck i hope things are looking up for you guys soon.
post #16 of 44
i think relaxing and trusting your instincts is just the ticket. supplementing totally worked for me, it allowed me to get more rest and build more supply through pumping. i have a baby that loves breast, loves bottle, loves formula, loves breastmilk and my life is SO much easier and more fun than when i tried to be exclusively anything. it can be hairy at first figuring out what the right balance is for you but you can do it!
post #17 of 44
I thought of a couple of things in reading your posts...

My dd had a lot of trouble latching on when she was born. She also would not open her mouth wide enough.

The LC had us do physical therapy for her sucking reflex. Using a clean index finger, place the pad of your finger back in his mouth on the soft palate and let him suck. It will strengthen his suck and teach him how to suck properly.

Using bottles is totally going to sabotage any breastfeeding attempts. Throw them all out. Every last one of them!! Get a little finger feeder from one of your LC's (honestly, shame on them if they didn't do this already). A finger feeder is an itty bitty silicone straw, very flexible. One end goes in the cup of milk and the other goes alongside your index finger which is placed on his soft palate, finger pad side up as described above. The baby then equates proper sucking with getting milk. Even if you *have* to give formula, give it in this way.

Are you pumping around the clock? Every 2 hrs during the day and every 4 hrs at night?

Have you tried a nipple shield? This worked well with our dd. After supplementing with formula till my milk came in and then pumping around the clock, we were finally intro to the nipple shield around 5 wks old or so. She *had* to open wide to latch on simply becuase the shield was bigger and much more firm than my nipple. Get the larger sized one for sure for this reason! At this point, we were able to skip the pump during the day. Some people are against the nipple shield because they say it can lower supply. Many people don't have any issue with that tho - and it seems it would give more stimulation to your breasts than a pump or using a SNS with a baby that won't latch on correctly.

Feel free to PM me if you have more questions. These are just some ideas that might help. Seriously tho, the bottles need to all go and the physical therapy for his suck will really help!
post #18 of 44
How would YOU feel if you decided to stop exploring options? What would that mean to you anyway? I mean, when DD was 3 months the specialist ped suggested giving up on breastfeeding and give formula in bottles, as he thought that would be a lot easier for me, and maybe that it would make me relax more? Point is, only you know what would be easier for YOU, and what would make you relax. If you think that letting it go, accepting you've done your best, whatever, will be good for you, then that is what you must do. However, if doing that would make you feel more stressed, more sad etc, then don't!
post #19 of 44
You ARE a warrior mama, good for you for being so committed to breastfeeding!

On the high palate / tight frenulum / humping up his tongue in the back thing...my daughter has all of that, and the LCs told us it was because she has a posterior tongue tie. Has anyone checked your son for that? Apparently, not as many HCPs are educated about posterior tongue tie as the regular tongue tie, so it's often overlooked. We're getting her tongue clipped next week, and really hoping it will help our breastfeeding problems.

We're rooting for you, mama!
post #20 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindsG View Post
What do I do? Insist on trying ONE MORE THING (yeah sure - I haven't said THAT before...) or just let go and admit defeat. (when I say admit defeat, I mean just continue using the lactaid long term and pumping what I can and leaving it at that - not trying to fix the latch and increase my supply).
This is NOT defeat. I've had to supplement my little guy almost from birth because I just couldn't make enough milk despite the dom, herbs, pumping etc. (and yes, I've spent literally thousands). But now at nine months old, thanks to the Lact-Aid he's 19 pounds and hasn't had a bottle since he was two or three months old. I gave up the pumping soon after because it was doing nothing to increase my supply. He's been on the same amount of supplement – 10 oz a day – since I got the Lact-Aid so my supply hasn't decreased, either.
All this to say, if you feel it's time to stop the crazy-making efforts to boost your supply – and I certainly came to that point – it's not defeat to focus on nurturing your little at the breast and enjoying his fleeting babyhood.
Good luck, mama.
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