Monday, March 21, 2011

Signing off...

    After much thought, I have decided to end my attempt at relactation.  Other than soreness, I never developed any more signs of progress and the time it consumed was taking away from my family and my home.  Luckily, I feel that I did grow and heal with this journey and have learned a lot.  I have no more guilt and I am comfortable with our current circumstances.  In the end, I have a healthy and happy baby whose mommy is just as happy and healthy.

    Thank you, everyone, for the support.  I would not have been able to stick it out this long without all of the encouraging words.  Hopefully I can avoid all this the next time around and get it right the first time :)

Thank you,

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Checking in

    So, I just realized that its been a week since I've updated this... oops :)
    This past week has been interesting.  I've kept up with pumping pretty regularly except for the last two days.  I was a little distracted with Mr. D actually being home from work, LC was a fussy butt, and I felt the need to cook and clean.  Today it becomes a priority again though.
    Along with pumping, we're still keeping up with the skin-to-skin, fenugreek, oatmeal, and Mother's Milk Tea.  Skin-to-skin (s2s) with LC is proving to be not that enjoyable.  Between her spitting up and sweating, its actually pretty gross!  We might have to start spending most of our s2s time in the bath.  The fenugreek has me feeling like Aunt Jemima, I reek of maple syrup!  Last night I experienced another side effect of the herb, a drop in blood sugar.  That was no fun.  Today I am going to try taking two pills per dose instead of three.  As long as I still make everyone crave pancakes, the dose should be effective.
    Last week I began looking into a supplemental nursing system (SNS).  Basically, its a bottle with narrow plastic tubing attached to it.  You hang the bottle upside down on a string around your neck and the tubing is taped to your breast, with the end placed at the tip of the nipple.  This allows baby to actually "breastfeed" before breastmilk is being produced.  Not only is this good bonding and comfort for mom and baby, the suckling helps stimulate breastmilk production.
    I called the pharmacy to see if they carried these but they were out.  The pharmacist recommended I call the lactation office of the local hospital.  The lactation consultant I spoke to told me to come on over, she had plenty.  When I asked how much she would charge, she said it was on the house!  (In case I haven't said it before, lactation consultants are awesome!)  She sat with me and told me how to use it, gave me some great tips for relactation, and told me to call or stop by if I ever needed anything.  (I'll say it again, awesome!)
    Setting up the SNS was a little more difficult than it should have been.  At first, the milk kept leaking from the bottle.  I had to have a towel in my lap to catch it all.  After a little investigation, I realized a valve cover was assembled upside down.  Easy fix!  After I figured that out, we were dry.  My anatomy is still a little flat and LC has no idea what to do with it, so I've been using the nipple shield with the SNS.  This seems to help with nipple confusion from the bottle but we're still going through some trial and error.  At first, I filled the shield with milk prior to latching her on.  This turned out to be bad, she took almost all the milk out in one suck and choked... which immediately ticked her off.  When the shield is empty, she takes a couple sucks and then loses interest.  We are trying with just a small amount of milk but she still gets upset after a few sucks.  I know I need to keep offering it to her, but its a little frustrating for both of us right now.  I'm wondering if it wouldn't be better to wait until I was producing even a little bit of milk.
    Even though I'm not producing any milk yet, I feel that there is progress.  My breasts are pretty sore, like when I was pregnant.  At first I attributed this to PMS, but I've already started my next cycle and I still have the soreness.  Yah for pain!
    Thats all I have to report from this past week.  We've only taken baby steps but thats ok.  I know its not going to happen overnight and am trying to be patient and stay motivated.  So for now I'll celebrate the baby steps we have achieved... sore boobs =)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ready, Set...

As of this morning, I haven't fully implemented my game plan. Mr. D and I had to make a trip out of town. We have family coming over this evening but I'd like to at least get started pumping today. Tomorrow we can really get going on the skin-to-skin and offering of the breast since we'll have the house to ourselves. I want to get started on the right foot, and I think that will need to include time, patience, and a calm environment. On a good note, when I have offered her the breast she seems interested. She's obviously used to the bottle, she can't figure out how to latch on. My lactation consultant says that my anatomy may require us to use a nipple shield initially. Hopefully this will help the bottle-to-breast transition be a little easier for her as well.

A pumping station will be set up in the bedroom today. We already have a glider by the window and Mr. D is donating a small table from his man cave. I'll be able to have my water/tea, book, notepad and pen within easy reach while I pump. I figure if I'm going to be strapped to a machine multiple times a day, I might as well make it a little retreat. Maybe I'll add some candles and soft music too :) Do you have any suggestions for my "oasis"?

I've been trying to find other women that have been or are currently in my situation. Luckily, I found a forum that looks rather promising. I've also found these articles to be very encouraging:
As family and friends are learning of our new journey, amongst the well-wishes I've been also been asked "Why would you want to do that?" and "Are you sure?" The articles above help replenish my confidence. I've also found that sharing information on breastfeeding vs. formula also helps them to understand everything. These have been really great resources for me:

Hopefully those naysayers will come around with a little education.

I must cut this entry short. I have a smiling baby that needs raspberries blown on her belly. Thank you everyone for the support and suggestions! Keep 'em coming :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

And so it begins... again.

First a little about myself:

I am a first-time mom to the most beautiful and happy 14-week old baby girl. (Let's call her LC)
I am married to a handsome, supportive, hard-working, and intelligent man. (We will call him Mr. D)
I am a paramedic and home-birth assistant turned stay-at-home mom. When I grow up, I want to be a nurse-midwife. :)

I am writing this blog as a way to share my experiences regarding a new journey- relactation. My hope is that this will not only serve as an outlet for myself but as a way to connect with and support other women going through the same situation.

How we got to this point is a long story, I'll give you the short version. After six weeks of constant struggles with poor latch, nipple shields, low supply, labial frenectomy, and eventually LC's weight loss, we began supplementing with formula. Within a week, she completely refused the breast and has been on formula exclusively ever since.

So here we are, eight weeks later. LC is gaining weight and developing well. Yet, I'm aware of the multiple downfalls of formula and the countless benefits of breastfeeding. This has caused me to struggle with doubt, guilt, and even shame with the loss of our breastfeeding relationship. It wasn't until recently that I thought a way to resolve all of this and get that relationship back. I know women that have breastfed their adoptive children, so I should be able to relactate, right? Right! So, with tons of research, a lactation consultant, and Mr. D's support, I'm ready to start my journey.

Here's the game plan:

  • Pumping every 3hrs (and once at night) for 15-20min each breast
  • Skin-to-skin, as much as possible (I feel sorry for any surprise visitors!)
  • Offering her the breast as a source of comfort and not allow it to frustrate her
  • Fenugreek, 3 pills with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Side effects include body odor similar to maple syrup and excessive sweating. Feel sorry for my family, I do!)
  • Mother's Milk Tea, 3-4 cups each day
  • Oatmeal will become my new favorite breakfast and I'll be drinking water like its going out of style.
The lactation consultant that is advising me says it could take up to two weeks for my milk to come in. I've also been told the time you've spent not breastfeeding is generally how long it will take to get it back. I'm hoping my consultant is right :)

I hope to publish entries on a regular basis... My time with the breast pump should give me enough time to write! I'd love to hear all your thoughts, suggestions, and questions throughout this journey. I just ask that you keep it positive, please. This won't always be easy and negative vibes will only hinder progress.

Thanks for your support!