Monday, April 15, 2013

My Breastfeeding Experience

As a new mom the most difficult or challenging part has been feeling adequate in my ability to feed my baby with the best she can get, breast milk.

After my experience in the hospital the first week, waiting for my milk supply to come in, I now have a standard present to new mom's in the hospital: Mother's milk tea and lactation cookies. In addition, I let them know about Fenugreek. However, once out of the hospital it is best to see a lactation consultant to discuss milk supply.

First the issue of my having a c-section slowed the production of my milk, with the first week being the most challenging as the baby was hungry almost every hour, was losing more than 10% body weight, and needed more milk. I had the standard items I mentioned above (and maybe ate too many cookies), was eating and drinking at every feeding to produce good quality milk, and pumping and hand expressing after each feeding to get whatever was in there out, plus increasing my milk supply by demanding more production. Baby gained her weight back drinking only breast milk and was gaining weight steadily - no issue clinically with milk supply. 

Then came issues with latch. From day one, baby found the boob easily and knew what to do on the boob. Trouble came though when the swallows became farther and farther apart, more than 4 sucks per swallow, which indicated that milk supply could be low. It was time to troubleshoot why my milk could be low. First, it could be poor latch, so I had help with that through lactation consultant and breast feeding support group. Had the suggestion to make sure baby was awake by tickling her cheek and tapping the upper boob (not at the nipple so as to not break the latch). I learned baby had tension in jaw and shoulders and potential tongue-tied so I was referred to a craniosacral therapy to find out more. After a few appointments the tongue appeared to be able to go up and extend out without a tongue tie, however there were many appointments follow (9 to be exact) to get her jaw to go up and down rather than side to side - which resulted in chomping and very sore, cracked nipples. To this day her jaw is better, but not good. After two months of purple and cracked nipples I started pumping exclusively, well I suppose it was the results of the feeding evaluation at Children's hospital that really solidified the decision to exclusively bottle-fed breast milk. 

As a result of the poor latch issues, my supply would fluctuate. In reaction to I went on prescription medicine called domperidone. It is to treat motion related sickness with the side-effect of causing lactation. Perfect! It really worked. It is not covered by insurance. I don't remember if FSA covered the cost. I went to a pharmacy in the USA and got a 3 week supply for the same price as I did 2 months on an online site.

We switched to bottles, after going to a feeding evaluation at Seattle Children's Hospital. The jaw exercises were consistent and made the bottle feeding awkward for both parents. In terms of feeding and bonding, having the baby eat comfortably was my preference. And so, my journey into a breast-pumping mom began; a story for another time.

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