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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all--<br><br>
I'm pregnant with my second child and looking for IDEAS and SOLUTIONS to help me prepare for nursing my second child with fewer challenges than I experienced with DS#1.<br><br>
While I did, in the end, manage to nurse my DS until he weaned (95% himself, 5% my idea) at age 2 yrs 9 months, I am now confronting my ugly, scary demons from the early months of our breastfeeding relationship. Nursing became wonderful, but it started out the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, and generally I would describe the first few months of the feeding relationship as HORRIBLE, bordering at times on UNBEARABLE. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
First, let me say that I think my environment was pretty supportive: doctor supports bf strongly. DH believes it is best but somewhat doubts the reliability of the delivery system he can't see (my interpretation, not his words.) Mother and mother-in-law, both around a lot, totally supportive former nursing mothers. I saw 3 different lactation specialists (2 in hospital, 1 private practice lactation group.) I knew about La Leche League, attended some meetings, and called a LLL leader a few times, too. I'd read several books on breastfeeding before DS's birth.<br><br>
So what went wrong?<br><br>
1) I've got incredibly sensitive breasts. I don't enjoy having my nipples touched for any reason--it is painful, not sexual to me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
2) DS became jaundiced about a week after birth and had to go back to the hospital for 2.5 days between 9-11 days old. I stayed at the hospital with him and was allowed to take him out of the lightbox to nurse every 3 hours, but that was enormously stressful. Both my brother and I were similarly jaundiced at birth, so I expect to experience the jaundice again this time, though I'd be happy to skip it!<br><br>
3) DS hadn't regained his birth weight by age 2 weeks, which is when the doctor sent us to the private lactation specialists group (Lactation Care, Inc. of Newton MA). They watched us nurse, checked on his latch (always seemed fine to others, too), and fitted me with one of those nursing supplementers (SNS?) you use alongside the nipple, and sent us home with a rented scale to keep track of DS's weight gain and a hospital grade breast pump for me. They thought two days of using the supplementer and pumping in addition to feeds would fix the problem, but I kept it up for the next two months and the low supply issue we were trying to resolve never did get fixed.<br><br>
4) I also drank Mother's Milk Tea religiously and took an herb that was supposed to help (I've forgotten now what it was.) I cut out dairy from my diet. I even drank beer for a week. My mother-in-law is a professional homeopath/nutritionist and natural healer--I took some homeopathy, etc. from her, too, although, again, I've forgotten the details.<br><br>
5) Because I had so much pain, we got APNO (all purpose nipple ointment) in case there was an infection or something. It actually felt better than the Lansinoh I'd used previously, but I think only because it was creamy instead of sticky.<br><br>
6) I let my nipples air dry. I never washed them with soap. I used silk/wool bra pads instead of irritating disposables or even cotton that seemed to stick to my skin, plus I'd read the Scandanavian idea about keeping the boobs warm.<br><br>
Somewhere around the 2.5 month mark, I gave up on the supplementer and pumping. Pumping always felt somewhere between uncomfortable and awful, and I never got more than 2 ounces from BOTH breasts. I was sick of washing the stupid supplementer after every feeding (further limiting my sleep), plus it irritated my already angry nipples. First I would only let DH use the supplementer tube on his finger, but by 3 months I gave in (he was really afraid DS was starving to death by this point, though he'd started to gain appropriately once we added some supplementation of formula via the SNS) and we would use a bottle to supplement with formula. (I'd say we maxed out and stayed at 4 to 6 oz per day of supplemental formula.)<br><br>
I consider this whole experience a victory, but one with heavy casualties. DH and I fought viciously as I was trying to incredibly hard to nurse my child, but he was honestly afraid his son was being deprived of food. I was constantly in pain and, especially at night, very, very sad. (Nothing else about the early weeks felt like post-partum depression, but I was a wreck every night, crying and completely overwhelmed. I would fantasize about being in a car crash or getting sick so I could have a legitimate excuse to quit trying to breastfeed.)<br><br>
Possibly another factor in all this is that I am a carrier for a genetic trait (beta Thalassemia) that means I am always anemic. My top iron levels are at the very low end of normal. I don't know if anemia is linked to supply issues, but I have wondered if it could be a factor. It makes me a bit lower energy than most people, so it is also possible that I was more exhausted than is "standard" for a new mom.<br><br>
I have a couple of ideas for this time around:<br>
1) Try to stay in bed for the first week and do nothing but nurse. My mother will be here, and she is helpful, but I may also hire a post-partum doula in spite of the cost just to try to make this more successful.<br><br>
2) Try to pre-arrange with the pediatrician how to get the light-blankets you can use at home in case this baby has jaundice, too. If our doctor can't get these, try to find a new pediatrician who can, though we otherwise really love our doctor.<br><br>
Now, if anyone has any more suggestions, I would love to hear them. I realized writing this that I'm actually sweating because I'm that afraid of repeating those early months again.<br><br>
Actually, before he was willing to try for another child, I had to promise DH that we would NOT go so far this time. I promised him that, if there are issues after the baby is two to three weeks old and we try a few days of pumping/supplementing with the tube, I will agree to supplementing with a bottle without the argument. I don't want DH to sound like the bad guy. I think this agreement actually eases my anxiety level, too, because, if it comes down to it, I won't have to be the "bad mother" who gives in. I'll just be honoring my agreement. Still, I really hope that nursing is just easier this time. I hope DS was just bad at nursing!<br><br>
The happy ending part of DS's nursing story is that, once he started on solid foods at 6 months, nursing became a purely positive thing for us. When he had another source of nutrition and I didn't have to nurse him quite so often, the pain went away (I would still say the sensation, at least at the beginning of every nursing session, was mild discomfort), as did the stress of fearing he was still hungry.<br><br>
Thanks for reading this long story, and I really do appreciate any ideas and suggestions people can offer here.<br><br>
--willo
 

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I do think you'll have an easier time this time around, as you now have nursing experience under your belt.<br><br>
Your plan sounds good. Staying in bed and nursing a lot (almost constantly) the first week should help establish your best possible supply. You may find that your nipples "toughen up" faster this time too. Keep up with the ointment right from the start rather than waiting until irritation/chapping/pain kicks in.<br><br>
Have you looked at the low supply tribe - they probably have some good suggestions for you too.
 

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Willo... first, sending you a <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> You are an incredible mom, and your children are blessed to have you! Your dedication is absolutely inspiring. I hope your husband tells you how amazing and fantastic you are to have nursed his child for so long successfully and worked so hard at it, because it is the truth!!!!<br><br>
OK... First of all, you are NOT a bad mom if you need to use formula. Period.<br><br>
I'm currently working hard on upping my own supply myself, so I hope it's ok if I share some of what my IBCLC has told me and some of what I've read on the 'net.<br><br>
For one thing, Mother's Milk Tea may be delicious and relaxing and that is great, but it is not going to give you enough of the herbs to make a difference, unless you mainline it via IV. Here's an article by Jack Newman about herbal supplements. The standard herbal regimen is fenugreek with blessed thistle.<br><a href="http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/24pdf.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/24pdf.pdf</a><br><br>
I'm so sorry that having your nipples touched is so unpleasant for you. Is it at all possible for you to sort of prepare them by touching them *more* frequently in the months leading up to your new baby's arrival? Maybe get them used to being touched a little bit? I don't know if that would help or not, but it may be worth a try...<br><br>
I never heard of a fore/hind milk imbalance until I had one, but now I swear it sounds like I am hearing about them all over.. at least it sounds like that may have been what you had. I really believed that feeding on demand would make everything happen perfectly... however, my baby demanded boobs 24/7 which resulted in her getting only hindmilk, thus not gaining weight. (While in every other way being perfectly healthy.) I'm working on this problem now, by limiting her to feeding once an hour and pumping for five min, before and after every feeding... then I syringe feed her what I've pumped. I really hope to see a difference when I take her in for her first weight check, but I did see a good seedy poop for the first time. (Seediness in breastmilk poop is fat, and means baby is getting more fat than she needs, which is what you want.) Anyways, that is something to keep in mind if your baby winds up wanting to stay attached to your boob 24/7. I think if I had slowed her down I could've prevented this from happening at all. (Although I think my supply would've needed some help regardless.)<br><br>
Did you always have nipple pain, for the duration of your nursing relationship? Or did it finally go away at some point?<br><br>
Finally, if you wind up needing LC help again... and honestly, it might not hurt to just have one come and observe your latch, make sure all is well, and offer any pointers they may have... you may try calling LLL and asking for a more personal recommendation, vs. going to a group. Just a thought.. but I have a feeling you might have a better experience with someone other moms also work well with. I *love* my LC. And anyone touching your boobs like that should be someone you are VERY comfy with! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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PS... Beer is not good for supply. I had heard that too, and had a beer, and THEN looked it up. Why do I never look these things up first?!?! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: No major harm done, but...<br><br>
From Kellymom...<br>
"A common folk remedy for low milk supply is to drink a glass of ale or beer (both contain hops) to increase supply. However, current studies indicate that alcoholic beverages do not increase milk production and, in fact, can lead to baby getting less milk. "<br><a href="http://www.kellymom.com/herbal/milksupply/herbal-rem_f.html#hops" target="_blank">http://www.kellymom.com/herbal/milks...em_f.html#hops</a>
 

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About that jaundice...<br><br>
I've heard over and over the fastest way out of jaundice is to breastfeed more often than the 'norm'. Your story of keeping ds under the lights for 3 hours really made me wonde what would have happened if he had no lights and breastfed every two hours?<br>
I just had a bout of jaundice with my boys. The highest level they registered at was 12.7. I just fed fed fed, kept an eye, along with my midwife, on their color, and informed my ped over the phone that they were cured. And they were.<br><br>
Can't help much on the rest. You sure did a great job persevering, mama! I truly hope this time your btdt experience wil make it so easy for you.<br><br>
oh, here's a great site of breastfeeding videos that i just was given today.<br><a href="http://www.thebirthden.com/Newman.html#Video%20Clips" target="_blank">http://www.thebirthden.com/Newman.html#Video%20Clips</a>
 

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I think you are headed in the right direction. I just had a couple things to suggest...<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">2) Try to pre-arrange with the pediatrician how to get the light-blankets you can use at home in case this baby has jaundice, too. If our doctor can't get these, try to find a new pediatrician who can, though we otherwise really love our doctor</td>
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It sounds like your ped was very supportive of breastfeeding. I think I would try to stick w/ them. You could request that the baby's bilirubin levels are checked before discharge and possibly in the following days until they are high enough to require lights. That way 1.) you aren't using them if you don't need them and 2.) insurance will cover the Wallaby lights for home use and 3.) you catch the bilirubin levels before they become so high that you are required to use the higher grade level lights in the hospital. If you have a child who previously had high bilirubin issues, this puts future children predisposed to having issues. (That doesn't mean that they will, but it is listed as a risk factor.) Therefore, you shouldn't have issues getting the peds to cooperate. If you catch it early, and are intervening earlier, it sounds like you and your dh will have a lot less stress.<br><br>
With my experience those patients who have hemmorhaged following birth and/or had a large amount of estimated blood loss, have a delay in their milk coming in. I'm sure there is probably some research out there supporting this, I just haven't researched the research yet. Knowing this, I would think that anemia does play a role in milk supply. And would discuss things to do regarding getting and keeping your H&H up all through pregnancy and following w/ your health provider. Especially since you are predisposed to have anemia to begin w/ and the fact that pregnant woman tend to have lower H&H's in general.<br><br>
Lastly, and I know this is easier to say than do, I find that those who have had a difficult time previously breastfeeding, come in pre-stressed out regarding breastfeeding and this stress creates more issues regarding breastfeeding. YK I would suggest getting everything situated and ready regarding this a few months before you are due, and then not stress on it (if you can) the last few months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the replies so far. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
As for my anemia, the problem is that my red blood cells are 60% normal sized, meaning my cells get maxed out at a level equal to a slightly anemic/low normal woman. I'm taking the best forms of iron possible now in doctor-recommended dosages, but nothing can physically put more Hematocrit and Hemoglobin in because there is nowhere else for it to go. The excess goes to my liver and can stress my body, but it is worth that risk for 9 months of pregnancy. (My opportunity to birth in the birth center instead of the hospital depends upon whether I can keep my levels maxed out, so I have a double reason to try here.) If anemia affects supply, it may simply be that I will ALWAYS have low supply. Honestly, I would be so relieved to know if this were the case because I worked SO FLIPPIN' HARD to raise my supply last time, and never felt "successful"!<br><br>
We nursed pretty much every two hours until DS started on solids. He always liked to eat frequently and he would stay on for 45 minutes of those two hour cycles, but he generally rested the hour and fifteen minutes between feeds.<br><br>
He was nursing that often before the jaundice. His bilirubin was very high--I want to say 28 (definitely 20-something, but not a number I put in his baby book) though we had been nursing every two hours or so since day 3 (I think.) They encouraged me to pump in between feedings, and, though I wasn't good at it (usually got 1 oz at a time TOTAL), he was never given supplemental formula in the hospital. I suppose they got me to nurse him more often because he certainly wasn't left to wail hungrily in the incubator. I was never admonished for taking him from the lights to nurse, only encouraged to nurse him.<br><br>
DS was always so into a 2-hour interval that, even when he was much bigger and didn't "require" such frequent feedings, he kept up the 2-hour interval all night. Grr. (He didn't sleep 5-6 hours straight per night until age 15 months or so.) He was fairly predictable (schedule-wise) from an age of a few weeks old.<br><br>
And I'd read before I tried it that beer didn't seem to be supported by modern research, but, by that point (2 months in?), I figured it was a pretty safe way to test another old-time remedy. I don't really like beer, but I don't hate it, and it was something else to try. I made sure to get an organic microbrew type, just in case they "old ways" made a different kind of beer that might somehow be more effective. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Both fenugreek and blessed thistle sound familiar. I now recall that I got capsules (fenugreek) recommended by the lactation specialists, then added a tincture (blessed thistle) my mother-in-law suggested. So I was doing that in addition to the tea.<br><br>
I really like the idea of lining up the LC person ahead of time, and seeing if they can come to me. The whole process felt like such a personal FAILURE at the time, though that group was great. I was hung up on, "first my baby went back to the hospital and I didn't see ANY of the signs that should've been present to tell me he needed help; second, he's STARVING."<br><br>
I honestly think I will be less stressed out this time, in spite of my issues about this, because I'm giving myself so much more flexibility. I went into natural childbirth with a lovely birth plan but having already given myself permission to do whatever I felt I needed to in the moment, no matter how "medical" those choices might be. In retrospect, I was more rigid about breastfeeding, feeling like only one way was "the right way" and I hope that by being more open to needing help this time that I will receive any needed help without all the emotional baggage I added to it before. (Does that make sense?)<br><br>
I certainly expect to feel less incompetent as a second-time mom. I know I can raise a child. DS is amazing (thank God!)--healthy, happy, smart, etc. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I've already experienced the paradigm shift of new motherhood.<br><br>
So I hope--I pray!--that I can set things up as well as possible, and then be at peace with whatever my situation turns out to be this summer. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Are there IBCLC who come to the home? Are there post-partum doulas who are IBCLC? I guess that's my next bit of research. DH will just love it when I tell him we need *TWO* kinds of doulas this time. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> (Although he thought hiring a birth doula was crazy last time, after the birth, he was SO GLAD we did it. I think he'll go for any form of help this time.)<br><br>
--willo
 

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Well I can't relate to absolutely everything in your post. I have had a couple of the same problems you had the first go round that where nonexistent the second time around. DS1 had juandice and the billy blanket; DS2 had just the tiniest bit of yellowing. The difference between a late fall baby and a summer baby may be the difference between jaundice and not. I also have very sore nipples and would just dread the thought of ds1 needing to eat again. I really had no issue with nipple the second time. I think in part because I knew the difference between a really good latch and a functional, but less than optimal latch.<br><br>
Good luck and congrats on the new baby.
 

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There are some doulas that call themselves LC's but they are not IBCLC, usually a IBCLC doesn't work as anything else then what they are. They can make more money as a IBCLC then a doula. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> You'll have to search and see what is in your area, some IBCLC make house calls, other's have a office and wantyou to come there, it depends. Good luck.
 
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