I gave birth to my first child last Monday, 1/23. It wasn't without incident: I was induced with cervidil, then pitocin for about 24 hrs prior to getting an epidural and ending the run with a c-section. My son is a wonderful gift from God and I, of course, wouldn't trade him for a different experience. However, the breastfeeding challenges I've experienced since have just made me feel like I wasn't intended to be a mom at all .... even though I conceived very easily.
My son may not have eaten anything for his first 5 days of life! When we left the hospital, he had dropped nearly 1 lb from birth (a healthy 8.8lbs) and the next day lost another 5 oz. After supplementing with 1 oz of formula each feeding (every 2 hrs) over the course of about 20 hrs, he had gained another 7 oz and the docs were pleased. I never got any white milk until 6 days after his birth and currently I can pump about 1/4 oz every 2 hrs -- almost 1 full oz after 4 hrs of rest. We are still supplementing and it is clear that the baby needs more than he's getting. I WANT TO EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFEED AND LOSE THE SUPPLEMENT ASAP!
How can I increase my milk supply? I am currently massaging my breasts with clary sage and geranium essential oil. I know that fennel is reported to work well, but i don't have any of that here and can't get it locally. I haven't tried the herbs, fenugreek or blessed thistle, yet.
I know that the problem is NOT the latch because a lactation consultant has observed that and my son is a pro! Also, as I said above, when I pump, I barely pump enough to make it worth the time.
I have tried my best to come to terms with my terrible birth story -- I had practiced for 7 months of an all natural, hypnobirth and ended up with a failed induction. Now, I want to do the best thing possible for my child and feed at the breast exclusively and I don't have anything for him! I feel horrible and I realize that those emotions are probbaly not making the situation any better. That God may have not given me the abiity to best serve my children is a hard pill for me to swallow. :/
Have a beer and relax would be where I would start. Get in bed with the baby and nurse nurse nurse... the more you nurse the more milk you will get. It is normal for him to have not nursed in the first few days I thnk- especially with an induction- he may not have been ready to have been born- thats what happened with my first except for the c-section...
Hopefully you get lots of good replies... for now- I say cuddle up with no shirt on and nurse away.
I'm so sorry your birth did not go as you wanted. One of the best bits of wisdom I received from a friend regarding birth was that it's completely okay to celebrate the arrival of your beautiful new baby while also grieving the loss of the birth experience you wanted and prepared for. And the fact that you want so desperately to give your baby the best nourishment possible just proves that you are already a wonderful and loving mother. So be gentle with yourself and know that all the emotions you are feeling are completely normal (even more so because your body is going through major hormonal fluctuations and crazy changes after giving birth), but try not to beat yourself up. You are already doing a great job! :)
As far as supplements, I don't have a ton of experience with the supply issues you're dealing with, but I did have some fluctuations in my milk supply when my son was about 4 months old. I found the Fenugreek to be very effective in bringing the supply back up to where I wanted it. Mother's Milk tea is supposed to be pretty good. But I also went and bought the whole Fenugreek seeds from Whole Foods and ate them straight to get a more concentrated dose. Here's a good article about Fenugreek and milk supply. There aren't too many side effects to taking a good bit of it, except for smelling like Maple Syrup, but I rather liked smelling like a pancake house when I took it! ;) I've also heard that oatmeal can be good to eat to help milk supply. I'm not sure if that's proven as effective as Fenugreek, but if you like oatmeal, it can't hurt. I would make a big bowl of oatmeal and mix in a bunch of the Fenugreek seeds and enjoy a milk boosting feast.
Have you talked to a lactation consultant as well? An LC would probably know of some good things to try as well.
Hang in there and I hope it gets better soon!
- Hey LisaMarie 1081~
How is it going with you today? I am sorry I didn't have more time yesterday to write a more thoughtful/longer reply. Hope you are having an easier time with your little over the last 18 hours or so and I'm sorry you have been having such a tough time of it all! You are obviously a really caring, loving mom to your precious baby. Right now every detail of caring for your new son is really magnified, but over the next couple of weeks/months you will settle into a routine and things will get easier. Really, really-- it will! You are caring for your new son with love and devotion. If it takes some help and/or supplements just now, that's okay. You're his mom for the long haul
I already mentioned the Fenugreek, but I wanted to mention it again. It's a relatively easy/inexpensive thing to try and it should start to work fairly soon. It's also a handy thing to keep on hand even after things your milk is flowing better and your nursing is more established for those times when supply/demand aren't ideal ( ie.)baby growth spurts or Mom is under the weather). I'm wondering if massaging the essential oils on your breasts is maybe too strong of a scent? I know supplements can scent your milk/sweat too (Fenugreek will give you a mighty strong maple syrup smell!)--so maybe it's not a big deal.
Here is a recipe for some good yummy & healthy cookies to help with milk supply (they won't hurt anyway!). I found this recipe quick online, but it looks about like the one I have had success with. Give it to your guy or mom or neighbor to make for you, and eat them in bed while you are snuggling up nursing with the little one.
Oh--one last thing. Try not to think about how many ounces you are able to pump--or not pump. Pumping is a life saver for sure, but don't worry the amount you pump means that's what all your baby will get while nursing. Most babies are much more efficient than any pump could be.
Hope YOU have some good support and plenty of love and care at home in real life! Take care & congratulations on your new baby!!
1 cup butter
1Preheat oven to 350°.
2Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
3Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar well.
4Add eggs and mix well.
5Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.
6Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.
7Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
8Stir in oats and chips.
9Scoop onto baking sheet.
10Bake for 12 minutes.
11Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.
Thank you for all of the support and feedback!
I was at the herb store yesterday and passed on the fenugreek and blessed thistle. I was probably still in denial early yesterday -- believing that things would just clear up on their own very very soon. Maybe I am on my way?
After posting last night and scouring the internet about low milk supply, I learned that alot of people have problems or "symptoms" that aren't mentioned anywhere in books, magazines, or articles ... the fact that some women never get hard, painful engorgement or leaking was not something I knew. I have none of those things. So, part of this has been realizing that everyone is different and there isn't necessarily a "should" set of things to happen or look for. I should be focusing on my baby and his needs. Speaking of which ....
I nursed ALL NIGHT last night. (I was so focused on satisfying his nutritional needs that I completely missed the fact taht he had peed through his diaper by morning! argh!) Now that my belly is feeling better from my section, I was able to try out the cradle hold last night and boy oh boy do we both like that! He finds the nipple all on his own and latches well enough to keep me comfortable. He stays on about 20 min each side and lets go himself. I even triedc to lay in bed with him and that worked great for both of us, too! We fell asleep! :) What a great middle of the night solution!
Also, DH is being more supportive with regard to weaning from the formula -- it's now a "whatever you think" approach from him. That helps relieve a lot of pressure since there is instinct involved, I think. :)
Today, while trying to entice him, I expressed some milk with my hands and much more surfaced with less work and pressure from me. I haven't pumped since yesterday evening, so I don't know if that volume has increased, but my babe seems more satisfied after feeding ... for a few minutes anyway.
So, today's question is this: How do I tell the difference between baby's hunger and baby's fidgeting?
Until today, we were gauging hunger and need to eat by his chewing on his hands, his open mouth and quickly shaking head left to right. He still does that after finishing a feeding ... but I think he's getting plenty. I'm nervous about him being hungry as I try to wean him off of this formula supplement but I don't want that to be the go-to if he is just fidgeting. I just finished a feeding with 1 oz of formula supplement and he was still chewing his hands (even after waiting for him to get full after 10 min). So, I'm thinking that wasn't a hunger signal at all. Right now he's in the swing, quite content -- occassional hand chewing. I feel like I should be able to tell the difference between my baby's cues, but I'm at a loss with this one.... ALSO -- just concerned that since he's about 10 days old, he's going through a growth spurt and needs more already?
Thanks in advance for your insight and ideas!
So great to hear things are coming together for you and your little one! I don't think I could've managed such coherent written statements as a new mom--go you!
How do I tell the difference between baby's hunger and baby's fidgeting
In my humble opinion, nursing a brand new baby does it all-- satisfies hunger, soothes and calms and helps you bond and grow together. You're learning to read each other's needs and wants and nursing, cuddling and snoozing together are wonderful ways to do that. Especially when your little person is so new, my advice is to nurse anytime you are seeing signals that he is in discomfort or soothing is needed. Go with your instincts!