10:31 AM Posted by Erin
I always knew I was going to breastfeed. I went to a breastfeeding class, learned all about it, and planned on it from the start. I really didn’t have that many problems with getting my daughter to latch on. It took a few tries to get comfortable doing it, but she was on and she was eating. I remember when the lactation consultant finally came in to see us (2 days AFTER she was born) to see if I needed any help. I told her no, I think we were doing just fine. She seemed skeptical since this was our first, and I must not know how to do it right. I showed her our charts of how long she ate and when, and she said OK and left.
I remember stressing so much about those stupid charts. I had to try to remember when I started to feed her, and then remember to look at the clock when I stopped. AND remember to write it all down. After doing this for a week I decided I was done. She would eat when she was hungry and who cared if it was only for 10 minutes? Every kid is different right? Some are snackers and take 30 minutes or so to eat. Not my daughter. She got in there ate and was done.
I was sore when I first started, but I never cracked or bled. I used my Lansinoh every time and it seemed to work.
We continued to breastfeed, and I finally decided to try a pump probably when she was 5 month old or so. This was so I could run to the store by myself and not have to worry about missing one feeding. I probably should have started pumping sooner, but I was afraid if I pumped that she would get nipple confusion and not breastfeed anymore. Um yeah. She was fine. She had no problem taking a bottle occasionally, which was nice for me to get a small break.
I still continued to primarily breastfeed her.
Then came her 6 month visit. She had dropped from the 50th percentile in her weight to the 10th percentile. She had only gained a few oz since her 4 month visit. The doctor was a little concerned, but said she still had gained some, so we were fine. I started her on cereal at 4 months and baby food at 6 months, but I still breastfed her often.
Then came her 9 month visit. She actually lost 5 1/2 oz from her 6 month visit. This time the doctor was really concerned. He had me keep a chart of everything she ate. He also told me to go from feeding her 2 containers of baby food a day to 3. He also wanted me to add 36 oz of formula a day, and continue to breastfeed her. I was feeding that girl every half an hour, and most of it was spit back up. I never was able to get up to that full 36 oz of formula, but I did give her a couple of bottles a day.
We had to go in for weekly weigh ins, and she still was not gaining a lot. We thought maybe it was because she spit up a ton that she just was not keeping the nutrients down long enough. We tried acid reflux medicine and it didn’t do a thing. He suggested stopping breastfeeding all together and just doing formula.
I could not give it up. I was determined to continue to breastfeed until she was a year. I started pumping in between feedings to get more breast milk. This is when I realized that my supply had dwindled so much that I really didn’t have much left. I was lucky to be able to pump at least 1 oz total. Often it was only 1/2 an oz. When before I was able to pump much more. I knew I needed to do something, so I went to the health food store and got the mother milk droplet which tasted terrible! I pumped every half an hour trying to get my supply back. Nothing was working. After doing this for over a month, I decided that maybe I did need to give up breastfeeding and switch to formula and baby food exclusively. This was my child’s health we were talking about.
I cried and cried about being a failure. I could not produce enough milk to keep my daughter healthy. I had enough milk in the freezer to continue to give her at least one bottle until she was 11 months old. Then we were done. I never went through any physical pain weaning her, because my body had been done long before I was.
At her 12 month visit she had finally gained plenty of weight and actually weighed 17 lbs. Much better than the 13 lbs she had been at at her 9 month visit. We started her on whole milk when she turned 1 and did away with the formula. She has been healthy and back up to the 50-60th percentile for her weight ever since.
I realize now that my milk had probably be drying up for a while now, and that is part of what caused her weight loss. She was so tiny you could see all of her ribs. I felt so bad that it was my fault for this. I could always squeeze a little milk out after she ate so I figured I was good. At least she had started on solids at that point in time so she was getting some nutrition, just not enough.
I learned a lot from this, and I plan on trying to breastfeed my next baby. Hopefully I can take what I learned and not repeat my same mistakes twice.