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#1 of 22 Old 04-19-2005, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I'm just having a tough morning. I'm going back to my OB today for some mysterious and very severe pelvic pain that's been making life difficult,
including inhibiting my letdown. But, seriously, I feel like giving up. And things are better than I could have imagined two months ago.

Two months ago I was in SEVERE pain from thrush and DD's bad latch, and I had almost no supply left. I was lucky to pump a 1/2 oz total. This morning I pumped almost 6oz. Right now I'm making about 50-60% of her needs and am pain-free in the nursing department. My first goal was to make it to 6 weeks, then 3 months. DD is 3 months, 2 weeks and we're going strong! My supply has improved, her latch has improved, life in general has improved. I should be happy! I thought, if I can make it to 3 months, I can make it to a year. Instead I feel overwhelmed and inadequate and am thinking of quitting all over again.

It seems like my life revolves around increasing my supply. Pumping, drugs, herbs, tincture, massage, compressions... did I mention pumping? Where does nurturing my baby fit in?

This morning I was engorged again, which should have been encouraging, but it was just depressing because it meant I couldn't nurse Helen without her seriously hurting me (yes, even with reverse pressure softening).

She was SO hungry... so I had to take my tiny babe and bottle-prop her while I pumped. Never in a million years did I think I would bottle-prop, and yet here I am.

What am I doing? Is this really what's best for her, or is it just my stubbornness?

So, low supply mamas, can you tell me - where do we draw the line? When does it all get to be too much?

Thanks for reading, and sorry to be such a downer!
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#2 of 22 Old 04-19-2005, 03:14 PM
 
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All I can say is take it a day at a time. Don't pressure yourself with a month, a year etc. You are doing such a wonderful unbelievable job. Don't beat yourself up for not being perfect, look at all you have accomplished and give yourself credit for that.

 
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#3 of 22 Old 04-19-2005, 03:23 PM
 
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I can't help with the low supply issues, but I wanted to say that you are doing a great job! You *are* nurturing your baby, and even though she can't tell you in words, I am sure she appreciates it.

You know that you've come a long way, "better than I could have imagined," you said.

Yes, at times it can be overwhelming. I think we've all been there. Know that you are strong. Just keep loving that baby as best you can.

Congratulations - you're doing an awesome job, mama.
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#4 of 22 Old 04-19-2005, 03:30 PM
 
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I hope you know how wonderful of a momma you are. You are doing a great thing for your baby. It says alot about your strength, that you are persevering!
Go Momma!!! Your baby girl is lucky to have been born into your family.

HUGS!!!!!!
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#5 of 22 Old 04-19-2005, 03:31 PM
 
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I can't help with the low supply issues, as I seem to have the opposite problem. :

You are doing a great job though... look at how much you're doing to give your baby the best you can. I'm sorry you're having a rough day.

Jennifer
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#6 of 22 Old 04-21-2005, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your sweet replies, Mamas. I wish I could report that I'm feeling better, but I'd be lying. I'm still really discouraged and down. The pain I'm in is pretty intense, which is bringing back some awful memories from my post-c-section nightmare, which is intensifying my negative feelings.

I did a before/after weigh-in at the Lac center and Helen got 30cc's. Her latch and endurance just aren't there. So if I want to feed her mm, it's gotta be with pumping. And I just don't know if I can do that.

I still just keep wondering, where does the importance of nurturing your baby supercede the importance of mother's milk?
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#7 of 22 Old 04-21-2005, 07:49 PM
 
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Hang in there sweetie! You are doing sooo much for your sweet baby! My Noah and I had a pretty rough start to breastfeeding--and now he's 10 months and I don't ever want to stop!

Keep persevering! Keep thinkin' about all the great stuff your milk gives her--and how she would say "Thank you mom!" if she could. Take it day to day, and give yourself a reasonable deadline--when you're feeling better. If you still are having mega-troubles at that time, maybe you should consider changing directions. . .you need to be a happy momma! Your baby will be ok!

Just a thought. . .

You will get through this!!!

Hugs,

Sarah
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#8 of 22 Old 04-21-2005, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, I just wanted to add... the pelvic pain is either 1) a fibroid that's degenerating or 2) inflammation and infection from placental materials accidentally left behind after the delivery. I'm having an ultrasound next week to find out which... basically my whole uterus feels swollen and tender, and I have severe vagniosis (yuck!).

Neither option is too appealing, but if it's the latter it could explain my low supply despite all my efforts. It would be nice to have a concrete explanation.
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#9 of 22 Old 04-21-2005, 08:49 PM
 
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Do you have a local LLL meeting you can visit? I've found them to be really encouraging. Not only do you get tons of help from moms who've had similar problems, it's nice to meet people who hav made it through something like that. You can find your local chapter at LaLecheLeague.org if you don't already know where it is. Keep it up - you're doing great!
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#10 of 22 Old 04-21-2005, 09:32 PM
 
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Do you have any post-partum doulas in your area? It really sounds like you need someone to mother you for a few days. Can a friend spend a couple days caring for you or your mother?

Also, are you getting sleep? It is hard to do if you have pain and nursing issues. Please try to get a little more rest, it can make the world look brighter.

Keep us updated about how you are doing and we will cheer you on!!

Courtney wife to geek.gif and mom to 4 boys: chicken3.gif   . I need caffix.gif !
They're not typos. . . I can't spell!
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#11 of 22 Old 04-22-2005, 10:43 AM
 
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Wow, I was going to suggest that it might well be a retained placenta piece issue. Imagine if that's it, and you can get it treated and problem solved!

Kudos for all you've done and continue to do for your babe.
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#12 of 22 Old 04-22-2005, 11:09 AM
 
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Hopefully today is a better day for you
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#13 of 22 Old 04-22-2005, 12:26 PM
 
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Liz how are things going??? Anyway to get that ultrasound faster???

Hang in there! Remember BF is not all or nothing, every little bit is better than none! If you have to occasionally use a bottle to supplement it is ok. Have to have a sane Mommie. I 2nd finding a LLL group for you. You need the Mommie support right now. (That is so cool you were engorged!!!)

Keep on treking. One feeding at a time. One day at a time. Hold Strong, YOU ARE DOING IT!

Cristina - "If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded." Maya Angelou
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#14 of 22 Old 04-22-2005, 03:39 PM
 
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I'm not fully understanding the supply issue if you're pumping 6 oz. at a time.

But I second the idea to call a local LLL Leader. She'll be able to give you some direct support if not help problem solve what's going on with the nursing situation.

You can find a group/Leader in your area by clicking on this link:
http://members.aol.com/lllpeninsula/

or you can call 1-800-LALECHE or (847) 519-7730. The second number provides access to an automated system for finding LLL Leaders in the US by entering a local zip code.

--Kari
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#15 of 22 Old 04-22-2005, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Kari - my supply issues are real. Almost 6oz is my record pump, after 8 hrs of sleep. This morning I got 3oz, which is more typical. Throughout the day, pumping every 2-3 hrs, I get about an oz (a little less) on each side. In a full days pumping (8-10 times) I make approximately 60% of what Helen needs. On a good day. If I nurse instead of pump I produce considerably less since Helen can't effectively empty my breast.

I attend a breastfeeding support group moderated by an IBCLC. They know what I've been through and in fact have expressed that I may need to slow down the pumping for my own mental health. I don't "do" LLL after a local LLL leader accosted me for bottlefeeding in public. I don't need situations where I feel the need to defend myself.

It looks like my U/S will be even more delayed... the req form won't be available til Monday, and so I can't schedule until then. I don't know how long it'll take to get in, but probably til the end of the week. I am praying that it is a retained placenta and I can someday establish a full supply.

Thanks everyone for your support and ideas!
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#16 of 22 Old 04-22-2005, 08:23 PM
 
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GRRRRRRR!!!! At that LLL leader!

Try a different group? Is there another within an easy distance?
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#17 of 22 Old 04-23-2005, 01:01 AM
 
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Just to let you know...I exclusively bfed my dd until she was 11 mo old...nothing else...no cereal, no juice nothing.
Having said that, I couldn't then and I still can't now pump more than an ounce in a 30 min period...adn that is total of both breasts!
If you were to just bf--no pumping and feeding bottles, how would her diaper output be? Are you really sure she isn't getting enough from your breast?

You mentioned that she doesn't empty your breast...I could tell the difference between full and empty that first 2 months or so, but after that they just felt kinda the same.
Is she falling asleep at the breast? With all of the pumping you may be 'over producing'...meaning she is getting milk while nursing, but then you get engorged later adn you pump...what about just pumping a little off the top and then offering the breast to your dd?

Sorry so many questions...I had a LOT of problems with supply in the first 2 months...to where they wanted to hospitalize my dd for 'failure to thrive'... I feel your pain and I know how awful it is for you. You are doing a wonderful job just trying to make it happen. I agree with the other momma...check out a different LLL. That leader may have had some of her own 'issues' to deal with and shouldn't have put them on you!
Let us know how it goes!
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#18 of 22 Old 04-23-2005, 01:09 AM
 
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PS...I forgot to add this!
One reason I had a hard time in the beginning was some placental material causing me to have supply issues ...I passed a raquetball sized clot and the problem got better...this happened in the first month or so...I hope they can find whatever it is that may be giving you these issues!
ALSO...
Your baby is still so young! It takes some of us about 3-4 months to get this bfing thing going smoothly...I didn't get it really smooth until about 5 mo!! I didn't want to nurse in public until we got 'good at it' so it was around 5 mo that I felt like a pro! But, my friend, I promise you one thing...once you guys get on track--there is nothing easier! You go to Walmart...baby is hungry, you nurse...you are in the car and she is hungry, you nurse...you are tired and lay down for a nap, she is hungry, you nurse. There is no getting up to get the bottle...washing out the bottles, forgetting your 'good' water and having to stop and buy some to make an extra bottle on the road...etc.
AND when they are more active...crawling or such...and they bump their little heads, you nurse...they bite a toy wrong with a new tooth, you nurse, they get their feelings hurt because daddy had to leave for work, you nurse...

Ok...guess ya get the point!
I can't wait until you finally get to the other side of the rainbow!
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#19 of 22 Old 04-23-2005, 02:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Bobbi - I actually have measured Helen's intake on 4 different occasions. The maximum she has taken from both breasts combined is 58cc (less than 2oz). The other 3 occasions she took less than 35. She has a latching difficulty where she "pinches" my nipple cutting off the flow. My nipples look like lipstick tubes after she nurses, although this has gotten slightly better as she gets bigger. One of the reasons I ended up with such drastically low supply in the 1st place was this pinching... she never emptyed my breast and therefore never signaled my body that she needed to get more. At my lowest point I could only pump 1/4 oz and Helen refused to nurse altogether.

I also don't think I'm a person who doesn't respond to the pump... I often get 2, even 3, letdowns while pumping. The output just isn't enough.

I know I have to stick this out. I don't want to, but I have to. That is as much as I can muster right now. Enthusiasm for it will have to come later. I know I couldn't stand the guilt and grieving if I were to quit now.

I talked to my Mom and she told me I couldn't make this decision while I'm in pain. She's absolutely right.

I may go visit my LC again for some new ideas. Still not ready for LLL though!
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#20 of 22 Old 04-23-2005, 08:07 AM
 
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Are you sure she's not tongue-tied??? Pinching the nipple like that can also be a sign of nipple confusion causing a poor latch; she's not opening up wide enough. That happening when she does nurse is certainly likely to affect your supply, as if her latch is shallow like that, she's not stimulating your breast tissue where it needs to be stimulated for milk production.

Have you tried "walking" your finger on her tongue before nursing to get her to open wide? Have you tried nursing in a football hold? Sometimes that position will use gravity to get them to open up more. How about massaging her jaw before nursing, so she relaxes it more?

Whatever the reason for the shallow latch, there are things to be done for it. If you've tried all of this and it hasn't helped and the LC can't come up with anything new you might get a referral for an occupational therapist.

I've had babies that had this shallow latch problem, from nipple confusion, and I know how painful it is. You having worked through it and dealt with it this far is incredible! But there's no reason why it can't be fixed.

Personally, I would doubt the cred of the LC who wasn't able to help you find ways to correct it, unless it is caused by a tongue-tie, in which case I doubt her cred for not discovering it. Is she an IBCLC, or a nurse who's taken a breastfeeding course?

You just need some qualified help, is all. I wish I was in a better place to help you get it.
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#21 of 22 Old 04-23-2005, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She is an IBCLC, and a very competent one (she's the 2nd one I went to... the first was horrible). No tongue-tie, just plain ol' tight jaw with a dash of nipple confusion.

We have been seeing a pediatric chiropractor for 3 weeks - I would also ask about OT but frankly we've run out of money to spend on this! The chiro has been interesting. I'm not sure if it helped or not, but he found some terrible muscle spasm along her right side (she also always "slouches" in her carseat and holds her head one way) and some displaced cervical vertebrae. I'm not suprised as she was both c-sec and forcibly vaccuum extracted around a large fibroid. What the chiro has seemed to help with is her chronic congestion that the ped was stumped by!

Since we were separated for a week at her birth she was formula-fed in bottles with fast flow nipples by the NICU. : If only I'd known then what I know now!

We've done the finger-walk exercizes and latch-deepening techniques, jaw massage, plus I'm trying to re-train her to use a wide-neck bottle. It's difficult for her, with any wide neck bottle she keeps trying to suck on the tip only and dribbles everywhere. My most recent acquisition is the Second Nature bottle... if she doesn't latch on it deeply, the milk won't come out... so that's what I'll be trying next. If she could get to the point where she was properly stimulating my breasts then I would give the SNS a good go. As it is the SNS is messy and frustrating.

All and all, her latch is TONS better than it was. Maybe from chiro, maybe from the other stuff or just her mouth getting bigger... who knows? It's gone from the classic liptick-tube shape to just small indentations on either side of the nipple. That's why I was so disheartened that she only got 30cc at our last weigh-in... I was sure it was going to be better.

I hadn't thought to do the football hold. Haven't tried it in a long time. At first, it was the only hold she would nurse in. Maybe I should try it again?

I can go for free to the LCs center and weigh her before/after eating, so perhaps I could see how much she gets w/ the football hold. That'd be interesting.

Hey, it's a pretty good sign that I'm thinking about these problems and wanting to solve them instead of wanting to cry about them!
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#22 of 22 Old 04-25-2005, 04:08 AM
 
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Yes, try the football hold!

My DD had a bad latch . . .caused by her own habits as well as my inexperience. I was told, by an IBLC, to pump-- a lot. It was awful. After the 1st few weeks, it took me forever to pump. I was so exhausted from nursing/pumping, and I am sure feeding her EBM with a bittle made her latch worse. DD was gaining weight, but my PAIN was excruciating. My ped told me to stop pumping, and this helped (not with the pain but the exhaustion). At 8 weeks, nursing was finally pain-free. It was one of the most stressful situations I've ever been in, but we nursed for over 2 yrs.

Now with DD2, things are MUCH better. I had pain the first few days, and wondered if I'd be doomed for 2 months of pain again (and not just for the initial latch but the whole session). But, it went away! I cannot believe how much easier life w/a newborn is since BF is going well (albeit still exhausting since it's constant).

I just wanted to share because I know how absolutely traumatic this whole experience can be-- sometimes isolating when you wonder why you have problems that (you think) no one else has. I see you have a support group, which is wonderful-- you know you aren't alone, and you WILL get through it.

ETA: LLL told me mouth size could be a factor, and I'm sure it was. Also, I know I'm more sensitive than others in the nipple area, which could be true for you, too.

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