To make this short, I have done everything humanly possible to be able to breastfeed my nearly 7 month old daughter. From the beginning I had issues with milk supply, possibly due to a very long labor with lots of IV fluids and pitocin but more than likely from having IGT. I did round-the-clock pumping, on demand feeding, fenugreek, milk teas, mother's milk special blend tinctures, even domperidone. I was finally at the place of being able to exclusively breastfeed her only to find out at this month's check up that she has not gained ANY weight since the last check up. We were previously going to weigh ins bi-weekly up until she was at her 4 month check up when everything seemed right on target and I felt I could let down the guards a bit. You can imagine my shock and horror that she was not gaining and so I immediately began supplementing her and she gained over a pound in a week!!
Right around this time we both got colds, she started sleeping longer stretches at night, started in on some solids, my period returned & my anxiety was at an all-time high. Subsequently my milk supply has utterly tanked. My daughter gets really frustrated nursing and will only do so for a couple of minutes before pulling off. I can tell my milk supply is down because the let-down is really slow and I don't leak milk from the other breast as she is nursing. I am back to pumping again a few times a day to see if I can get any results.
I am so sad to have come this far and put so much effort into this only to realize I am more than likely on the fast track to weaning. I was so proud to have made it 6 months and then got the big weight gain blow and now this.
My problem is I cannot just keep putting her to the breast to build the milk supply because she is in clear need of supplementing. I don't know what else to do. Should I just grieve the loss, be happy I made it 6 months and move on or try some more interventions? I have to say, this has been such a self-esteem blow and has meant so much to me to come this far.
I know I had gotten to where I was producing enough to meet most of her needs because she did not lose weight, so it was probably just under. At this point I am fine with her not being exclusively breastfed but I would love to nurse then top-off with formula for the next 5 months so I can breastfeed her a full year.
It makes me really sad and envious seeing how many people can breastfeed and even more sad how many people can but choose not to. I'd give anything to have had a completely normal breastfeeding experience.
I guess somehow I am wanting to hear I have done a good job and its not all been in vain or all a lost cause.
I don't have any advice, but I would celebrate getting to seven months. I think it's also okay to grieve if you need to. As long as you feel you can keep trying, it's good to keep trying, but you have already given your daughter a beautiful gift by getting this far. There's no shame in wanting your daughter to be well fed.
edit: I wish I could find it, but somewhere around here there is a list of benefits your baby gets after breastfeeding just once, for one day, one week, three months, six months, etc.
Are you sure that your supply is lower now? That sounds exactly like my 7 month old. Nursing is frustrating right now - and I have plenty of milk (I know this because we are breastmilk and minimal solids only and he is pooping and peeing fine, and gaining well.)
I'm posting to say hang int here - this may be just a phase! Keep nursing as much as you can and it may pass :)
Thanks for replying. Yes, I am sure the supply is low because she was not gaining weight for 2 months. Thankfully she did not lose weight, but seeing how she gained so much in just a week of being supplemented really hurt me, although she never showed signs of being fussy after nursing---so weird. Right now I am still pumping and seeing if she will eventually return to the breast, but she has zero interest right now, especially after being supplemented by bottle (no choice in that matter, unfortunately!).
Thanks for the encouragement.
No answers for you, but I logged on today to post pretty much the same thing. My daughter is 5 months. I feel so depressed, but have just enough perspective to sense that my emotions are probably disproportionate to the reality. DD has had nothing but breast for 5 months, then we both got sick and my milk dropped off (I know this because I pump at work and went from 14 oz. a workday to 9). Today I got my first period. I am supplementing with Earth's Best formula because she is crying after nursing. I feel everything that you are; you're not alone!
@ QuirkyMama: Have you had issues with low supply in the past? Are you thinking of doing any marathon pumping to see if you can boost things back up? For me its tricky because she apparently was not getting enough on breastmilk alone so I am not sure if I can pump and get my supply back up to where I would just be topping her off with formula....as it is, she is reluctant to nurse anyhow so I would hate to go through another pumping round the clock lifestyle only for her to still not return to the breast. So sad!