I posted this over in the breastfeeding challenges forum, but with 180+ members here thought it might be worth putting it in front of some familiar faces too in case there's someone else in a similar situation in this DDC.
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Would anyone be willing to relate their experiences BFing subsequent babies after difficulties BFing a first baby, and/or BFing with IGT or after surgery? Here's my story. I'd be very grateful for any advice or encouragement you might be able to share if you've been on a similar path.
During puberty I developed in a surprising way...what I now know to call tubular, asymmetric, hypoplastic breasts. At age 15 I had two breast surgeries to address this. On the left I have what's basically just an augmentation, an implant under the muscle with a scar at the chest wall along the breast fold. On the right side there was more extensive work: removing some constricting tissue and some adipose tissue (no mention in my medical records of removing glandular tissue, but I probably didn't have much to begin with); an incision around the areola, down to the chest wall and across the fold of the breast; and placement of an implant under the muscle. Of course at the time of these surgeries, BFing was the furthest thing from my mind. But I did have one of the most respected surgeons in the world so I trust that what I've got to work with is a best case scenario.
At age 28 I had my son. We knew going into it that I might have "trouble" BFing but neither I, DH, nor our midwives were anywhere near prepared for what ensued. We took a BF class, made sure DS had a good latch, had some herbs on hand, and planned to just see how it went. We didn't even have a bottle in the house. What were we thinking?!? (Or a better question, what were all the CNMs thinking?!?) After a couple of days, DS became dehydrated and we ended up with a whirlwind of LC consultations. They set us up with a hospital grade pump, an SNS, and showed me how to do breast massage. That first week we finger fed DS after he had a go at the boob, and I pumped like crazy round-the-clock. (DH likes to tell his friends he breastfed, and I wholly endorse that assertion. He was amazing.) After a week, my milk still hadn't come in in any meaningful way. The baby scale showed zero transfer. The most I pumped in a sitting was like 1 cc. I felt defeated and hopeless, on top of all the normal hormonal fluctuations. I was crying all the time, like hysterically. We changed tactics (I hesitate to say "quit") and switched to formula and bottles on the basis that a happy mommy was better for DS' health than any minute amount of breastmilk. And then I grieved. It was quite a process to work though the feelings of failure and loss. Baby wearing and infant massage were great but I ached for the closeness of having my baby at the breast. And I researched. If only I'd known what I know now before DS was born. Ah, but I'm pregnant again and have that knowledge today.
Now, 5 years later, I've let go of the expectation...if not the desire...to EBF. Interestingly enough, I have more sensation in my breasts now ever before. (Not having much sensation in my breasts normally, to my shock it was sensitive nipples that alerted me to this pregnancy before I missed a period.) But at 19 weeks I again, as with DS, have very little change in the size/shape/color of my breasts. One of my implants ruptured a year ago, and my surgeon and I agreed not to mess with it until after I'm done having kids. Not sure if/how having a softer breast might come into play. Anyway, I plan to give BFing a go for 12 weeks and seeing how far we get, with the goals being 1) a happy mom and 2) some degree of combo feeding. I'm making a lot of preparations that I didn't know to do last time. I've found an LC (yet to meet with her), looked into some local BF support groups, arranged for family/friends to help care for DS1 in the weeks following baby's birth, stocked up on various teas and tinctures; and plan to rent a pump, get an SNS and formula, and secure some Dom (OTC here, yay!). What else would you do to prepare? If you have any specific protocols to share that would be awesome too.
Thank you in advance for the support :)