Hi, ladies. 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, baby #2 is due in December. 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. You're all amazing mamas I'm sure. Best wishes to each of you on your journey.
I can't pretend *exactly* to know what you are going through. I did experience unexpected and unexplained low supply with my son, which was devastating. We are not planning to have more children so it's hard for me to imagine how I would feel going through all of those struggles a second time.
But....if I imagine for a second...I think *I* would decide which things are most important to me and focus on those:
- If producing as much milk as you can is your first priority, then spend your time nursing and pumping and do bottles of formula - if that's easiest - the rest of the time.
- If the bonding is what is most important to you, try a Lact-Aid or SNS filled with formula so that your baby can spent as much time at the breast as possible and forgo the pumping.
- If getting as much breastmilk into your baby as possible is what's important to you, concentrate on pumping and finding donor breastmilk to supplement with and skip the pumping.
I never used a Lact-Aid or SNS - but I also got lucky in the fact that my son never had a problem going back and forth between bottle and breast and never became very attached to the bottle, even though we used one every day. But I did spend a lot of time tracking down donor breastmilk and that was very time consuming.
I would highly recommend the book "Defining Your Own Success - Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction Surgery." It was very helpful to me, even though I had not had surgery. It helped me reframe what my nursing relationship with my son would look like and what we would call "success."
4 years and 5 IVF cycles in the making, Elliott was born at home in water on 2/2/11.
Thanks for sharing your story. I have IGT/Hypoplasia and low/supply and have attempted to BF my 3 babies. Baby 3 went the most successfully, but still unable to EBF. I bumped the IGT and second time mama's thread to the top of this forum. There is a lot of good information in there from mamas who have been through difficult BFing experiences. It is long, but a good read.
For me - having a lactaid supplementing at the breast worked well. I hated the pump, so just made sure baby adequately emptied my breasts every 2 hours. I took Dom and herbs as well.
Mama of 3 little boys - DS1 4/08, DS2 4/09, DS3 12/11
I can SO relate! I got breast implants (through the nipple) at age 20. I did ask about nursing but it was such an abstract concept to me at that age. I so regret them now! My story is similar to yours, though I did manage to make at least 50% of DD's needs. I just remember that first month and the post partum hormones on top of being overwhelmed by this emotionally and physically (nursing, pumping, supplementing with finger or bottle).
I am 29 weeks with #2. I feel like it took me a long time to piece together everything that worked for me with DD. This time I am prepared and I know what works for me!
-I have purchased a scale to weigh baby so I don't freak out about baby losing too much and also to check milk transfer
-I plan to start taking Goat's Rue and Alfalfa at 36 weeks
-I have a huge box of goat's rue and fenugreek - enough to last me a few months so I don't have to think about running out
-I've ordered 3 months worth of domperidone
-I have my lactaids ready to go
-and I bought a deep freezer and already have a stash of donated breast milk, in case I need to supplement (last time the idea really bothered me in the beginning but I came around to it once DD was a little older)
-I also have lecithin to prevent clogged ducts. I am prone to it from my surgery and got mastitis twice early on and it really killed my supply on my right side
Last time I ended up supplementing with bottles. DD got nipple confusion and it was awful and made my already sore nipples ever worse. Thankfully I found Breastflow bottles and that fixed her latch! This time I plan to not use bottles, save for maybe 1/day once she is a few weeks old so that she can take a bottle while I go to a yoga class. I'll only use lactaids to supplement. I tried the SNS at 2 weeks in and HATED it! I didn't try the lactaid until DD was 5 mos old - it is WAY easier to use and very discreet for nursing in public. I also plan to start my herbs/dom right away after birth. I didn't start dom until DD was 2 months old. I did start taking herbs after about a week but my dose was too low - I know that now. I will probably pump after feeds in the beginning, but I'm not going to make myself miserable with it, like I did last time! I felt tied to that stupid thing.
I reccomend the book "making more milk". It is the same author as the book mentioned by PP. But it has chapters on preparing while pregnant and nursing subsequent babies. It also has a great chart showing max dosages for all the galactagogues.
I'm hoping I'll naturally have more milk this time. I'm also hoping that doing everything "right" from the get go will lead to a better supply. But I am also trying to mentally prepare myself for trouble. I'm hoping I won't be so emotional about it this time - though a friend of mine in the same boat who already had #2 told me she was still caught off guard by the emotion while her hormones were fluxing. She was much better after that though.
Mama to my veggie girl (1/09) and my sweet rainbow baby (9/12).
gemacita - What you said about deciding to focus on what's most important really, really resonated with me. Thank you. When you mentioned bonding and supplementing at the breast I just said "yes, yes, yes!" I felt a sense of relief to identify so clearly with that root desire, and I see how I can give myself permission to let go of other interventions if they become overwhelming or get in the way of that primary need, even if it means baby just gets formula. (And I'll add for the first time mamas who may be reading this as they struggle to BF, it is 100% possible to raise an awesome, intelligent, healthy, non-allergic kid on formula; my DS1 is proof of that.) Thank you also for the book rec. I read it after the fact when DS1 was a baby but should see if I can find a copy for a refresher. I like that website "BFAR", same idea.
fnpmama - Thanks for bumping the IGT thread. I'll check that out. So you like the lactaid? I've only tried the SNS before. Hopefully I can get my hands on both and see how they compare for me. IT's inspiring to know you've gone through this 3 times and have been able to have a BF relationship.
vegan princess - Our inventories look pretty similar :) A baby scale would be very handy, huh? FWIW, I'm taking a bit of alfalfa now as part of a pregnancy tonic tea (a formula from Aviva Jill Romm). What I've read about taking goats rue during pregnancy is so mixed that I'm doing like you and starting with the tincture at 36 weeks. Thanks for the book rec. Figuring out all the galactagogue dosages has been a bit confusing.
Thanks again ladies!