Two significant things have happened in the past 48 hours:
1. Suddenly, the little one is a fan of righty
2. My husband saved my sleep life
As far as #1 goes, there’s kind of a back story to it.
I thought things were going well, but then for the past 5 nights or so leading up to yesterday, I haven’t been able to produce enough at night to feed Livi. During the day we’re fine, but at night I wouldn’t have anything left and she’d start crying because she’d still hungry. It would break my heart. We’d give her the pumped milk we had in the fridge, but eventually started supplementing at night with formula.
The first bottle we gave her, I cried. Not because I have a problem with formula –I’d give her anything to make sure she’s satisfied and thriving- but because I felt like my body had failed me. It was so easy to sustain her and give her the nourishment she needed while she was in my belly, and it was like as soon as she came out, I was having such a difficult time despite the resources and tools I have access to. It made me loathe the tumor even more that caused me to have surgery, and also made me dread breastfeeding and pumping. Breastfeeding is already very, very challenging (there’s quite a learning curve) and throw in a supply issue, and it makes it exponentially harder. Many times I would pump the right side, and nothing would come out- by the end of the night, I’d be lucky to have an ounce or two in the fridge.
Breastfeeding was something I really wanted to be successful at because in the grand scheme of things, if you can get it to work, it’s brilliant. You don’t have to worry about bottles or sanitizing pump parts- you have free food, readily accessible wherever you go. This week was a challenging week to see if it was something we’d be able to do exclusively, or if we’d have to continue supplementing from now on.
The past couple of days, she’s been cluster feeding and eating even more often, and had an upset stomach from the formula. We’ve been giving her one bottle at night before bed, but apparently it was enough to upset her stomach. She hadn’t done her diaper business in a few days (lots of wet diapers but nothing else), and I could tell she didn’t feel well. Yesterday, I nursed her basically all day from both sides to comfort her- I was the human pacifier. We were upstairs and she started grunting and crying from the stomach pain, so I picked her up and tried a new position on the right side. She immediately latched on, instead of punching it and shaking her head, and to my total surprise… it worked. After over two weeks of being a punk, righty is doing its job and the other ducts are making up for the lost one.
Since then, she’s been nursing from both sides like a pro. She also took care of her diaper business as soon as we got to the pediatrician’s office yesterday. I guess all we had to do was make an appointment to get her to go 😉 We knew something was up because she was sitting in her car seat, eyeballs rolling in the back of her head with a big, goofy smile on her face.
For #2, Livi and I both fell asleep around 11 last night, while Tom stayed up to prep for his flights this week. I heard Livi whimper, started to get up to get her, and Tom was still awake and said that he got it. Then, I woke up at 3:30, thinking it was midnight and time to feed her and she was still sleeping. I nudged Tom because I was so confused and he said “I gave her a bottle of the pumped milk that was in the fridge, changed her diaper and put her back to sleep around 1:30.”
After my first solid stretch of sleep in the past 2 1/2 weeks, I actually felt energized today. The fact that she’s eating well –and I already have 3 oz pumped in the fridge from today- make me feel like the whole breastfeeding thing might work out ok. But if for any reason that this was all a fluke, it’s great to know that that there are other options out there to make sure she gets the nutrition she needs.
Here are some of the things I’ve been doing to help with my breastfeeding woes: (of course, check with your doctor, lactation consultant or midwife if you’re having a similar situation)
-Pumping the right side after every feeding (now I do both sides 3-4 times a day)
-Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek
-Mother’s Milk and Fenugreek tea
–Heather’s oaties she sent me 🙂
-In-home lactation consultant visit from Mama’s Latte
-Talking and texting friends who have newborns or young children
-Follow-up chats with the consultants at the hospital
-lots of healthy fats: 7-8 T hemp seeds, 2 eggs, almond butter, 1/2 avocado each day