i thought i'd posted my story here months ago, but i guess i didn't! i had a c-birth but my doula latched Willow on for me a few minutes after they brought me back to my room, and we did really well. my milk came in before i even left the hospital. the whole time i nursed, my supply only ran low for 2 days, due to stress and no sleep. the insomnia was the issue, that's why i couldn't continue breastfeeding. for 5 months, i had only slept 3-4 hours per night during the pregnancy since weaning off klonopin in the 5th month ... i'd been on klonopin for 11 years at that point, i have CFIDS and fibromyalgia and it helps tremendously with restful sleep, more energy during the day, and much less pain. for some reason, after birth, i DID NOT sleep - for *3 weeks!* as in: 1 hour sleep or less per day. and that sleep was pretty much just me passing out, not even restful. we went through some mild thrush, some latching issues, i had nipple pain ... basically typical problems. but nothing i would have given up BFing for! i was on here a LOT, asking questions, many mamas helped me tremendously, they also looked up info for me and my drs. i had an LCs help as well as Willow's ped who was a former LC.
klonopin is safe by Dr. Hale's book, but he states only if it doesn't adversely affect the baby. when Willow was 3 weeks old, i took 1mg of klonopin and slept for 3 whole blessed hours!! but she showed signs of sedation. 3 days later, she was also showing signs of agitation after the sedation, and wouldn't eat during either of those periods
she had GERD, and not eating was making the reflux pain worse for her. so we'd go through 7 hours of: not being able to wake her up for 3 hours, her waking up screaming and shaking with hand tremors and looking side to side wildly for 3 hours, then crying from reflux pain for about an hour
i went down to .5mg klonopin. i didn't sleep. at 3.5 weeks with only those 3 days of 3-hour sleep, i was dizzy, i had double-vision, my speech was slurred, and i was bedridden with pain and weakness, i couldn't even hold my baby. my husband and a friend took care of Willow, they had to latch her on for me and hold her to my breasts. i don't even remember most of the first three weeks of her life
i started using formula. i started taking 2mg klonopin. i started sleeping. i cried every time i gave her a bottle, but she stopped having the sedation/agitation and while she still had reflux, i was able to hold her, rock her, carry her around and soothe her. i went back on effexor as well, something i'd stopped when i found out i was pregnant, because it works fantastic on fibromyalgia pain, and also i felt PPD looming, bigtime. finally at 1 month old, i was able to take care of Willow by myself.
after a few weeks of restful sleep and stronger days, i weaned myself back down to 1mg klonopin, pumped and discarded for 12 hours post-dose (both meds were at bedtime) and i still had enough supply, no problem. Willow was sedated, lethargic, within an hour after my nursing her! i also went back down to 3 hours sleep. i stopped taking the effexor and went down to .5mg klonopin, i stopped sleeping, but thought i could do it for at least another week or two, just to get that "liquid gold" into her as much as possible! but i hadn't bounced back as well as i thought i had. things were crazy, i don't remember that week very well but at least i had started journaling. i started back on the regular doses, slept again, pumped and discarded for *16* hours post-dose ... she was still lethargic and couldn't eat at her next feeding. her reflux worsened. she was just super-sensitive to the klonopin. (i had tried a LOT of other meds and natural remedies, and none of them had worked.)
i stopped pumping, but expressed milk every time i had a hot shower, just to keep some supply going. i kept having "magical thinking" that i could get off the meds somehow. i re-lactated twice, at 3 months and 5 months, hoping Willow now weighed enough to handle the dosage she was getting. her reflux was pretty bad by then, she refused the breast as often as she refused the bottle. i pumped and gave her whatever i could, even if i had to cup-feed her like a preemie, she got about 6 oz. a day on a good day. it dwindled down to 1 oz. but i still kept trying. the last day she nursed for comfort was when she was 5 months, 4 days old. she screamed and refused the breast, although to this day i still offer it occasionally.
we lay skin-to-skin a lot. she'll playfully mouth my nipple, poke or pat my breasts, sometimes bite down on my nipple (OW! *lol*) but no suckling. i tried dripping the formula from the bottle down to the nipple, so she could learn to nurse for comfort, but no luck.
anyway, that's how the bottle-nursing came along. way back when i first started to bottle-feed her, i had a strong instinct to mimic breastfeeding. i held the bottle nipple next to mine, i held her in the same positions, i watched her latch carefully. i rock, i sing to her, sometimes i prop her on a pillow so i can use my other hand to stroke her. she thrives on the attention, the comfort, the closeness of bottle-nursing. i taught her daddy how to bottle-nurse, and it's not the same for her, but she'll tug at his beard and she's able to relax deeply. she's never held her bottle, i always redirect her hands back to my skin or my clothing. i made a nursing necklace recently, when she started getting wiggly. she will NEVER hold her own bottle! she'll go straight to a cup when she's ready, just as she would if i had nursed her. i'm not sure if she'll need formula past 1 year (depends on her reflux) but she will still get bottle-nursed, especially at night, or naptime ... i can see myself nursing her to sleep, formula or goat's milk or cow's milk, until she's 2 or beyond, if she needs it. i trust her to let me know