Hi there! I'm Marcy. I have 3 kids - Matt is 7, Jessica is 6 (they are a year and 3 days apart). Megan is 13 months.
I didn't breastfeed Matt. I wasn't familiar with breastfeeding since no one I knew breastfed and the only "lactivists" I knew were pretty strong. Not supportive and understanding, more overbearing know-it-alls who continually put me down, kwim? So I did bottle feed Matt, but I bottle-nursed. I didn't KNOW I was bottle-nursing, I just did. Several years later I was telling someone how I bottlefed Matt and she said, "oh, you bottle-nursed." Um...okay...sure. So I came home and googled bottle-nursing and sure enough, that's what I did. Okay...
Jessica was born a year and 3 days later and I had decided to breastfeed. Not just "give it a try". But definitely, 100%, breastfeed. No bottles, no pacis. Well, I ended up having full-blown toxemia with her, had to be induced. I didn't have an epidural, but I had to have magnesium which made me really sick. I breastfed her within minutes after birth and things seemed okay, but I really felt awful. This particular hospital had (supposedly) the BEST LC's around. All the LLL people were telling me that this hospital was the best as far as breastfeeding. So on our second night there when a very nice nurse suggested she take the baby for the night and bottle-feed, I was confused. I had heard/read about nipple confusion. Nonsense, the nurse said. A baby this young CANNOT get nipple confusion (aka PREFERENCE). And it can do wonders for a new mom's milk supply to get a full night of sleep. *****WRONG***** That was the begininng of the end for us. Her billirubin levels went sky high (low-to-mid twenties). The more I supplemented, the less she was interested in nursing. Finally, in desperation, I called LLL and the leader suggested an SNS. So I ordered an SNS, it took 10 days to arrive, and by that time my attempts at BF'ing were futile. I tried for 4 months, but she just never was happy...even with the SNS. I was tired, and in hindsight I'm sure I had PPD, but it was undiagnosed so I was a wreck, to say the least. I gave up BF'ing and totally regretted it, but settled into a good routine with bottles. At least SHE was happy even if I wasn't.
So I have baby #3, 5 years later. I am NOT going to make the same mistakes. I co-slept, BF'd on demand. Let her stay latched on for hours and hours and hours upon end. I ate lactogenic foods, took herbs from the beginning, drank Mother's Milk Tea...and let her nurse nurse nurse nurse nurse. Despite all that, she kept losing weight, and losing and losing and losing. Her billirubin levels went down...that was a good sign...but she kept losing weight. On our worst day, I took her to a LLL meeting and 3 leaders and a doula said they strongly suggested supplementing. At first I supplemented with bottles (what was I thinking?) and I pumped. I got super tired of that routine...Nurse, bottle, pump and then 1 1/2 - 2 hours do it all over again, plus I was homeschooling the older two.
So I dug out that SNS and it literally saved our nursing relationship. Unfortunately we were never able to get rid of the SNS. I tried a few times, but she was never satisfied with breast alone (even when we started solids). Finally now that's over a year we seem to be weaning from the SNS.
I've taken herbs, domperidone (seems to help a lot). I also was fortunate this time around to have an OB/GYN knowledgeable about BF'ing. They did bloodwork and found that I have higher than normal estrogen levels. Estrogen suppresses prolactin. I also have symptoms of PCOS (although I don't have any cysts), but I do have facial hair and weight gain around the middle. I also have widely spaced breasts that are small in proportion to the rest of my body (possibly a sign of IGT or hypoplasia). All those factors together make BF'ing difficult, but not impossible.