Friday, January 21, 2011

Welcome to the island

I have so many ideas for posts floating around in my head, but so little time to actually sit down and write them. I barely have time to bathe. Since my last post, things have changed a lot in the breastfeeding department. Andrew went from nursing every three hours to every two and now it seems we're down to one and a half. For those of you who aren't familiar with how this works, it means that from the time a feeding starts until the next one begins is an hour and a half, which might sound like enough time to pound out a brief post or take a shower, but believe me it's not. When a feeding takes 30 minutes at least and then another few minutes to settle Andrew down in his bed for a cat nap, well, I find myself looking at the clock and wanting to cry.
We went back to the pediatrician yesterday. I was hopeful, since Andrew has been in this feeding frenzy mode since last weekend, that he would show a remarkable weight gain. I undressed him and placed him on that scale and waited for my reward -- the weight gain that would show that all my hard work and sleepless nights were paying off. My heart sank when I saw that he still weighed 8 pounds. That means he had not gained even one ounce over the past week.
While last week if Dr. S had told me to start giving Andrew a bottle, I would have probably cried my eyeballs out -- yesterday, her advice to add two bottles a day came as somewhat of a relief. It doesn't get me out of any feedings, mind you. We give him the bottles after a regular feeding. But, it does mean that my baby will finally be satisfied and perhaps he will begin to "thrive."
It's more heartbreaking for me to think that he has been suffering from hunger all this time than it is for me to think of the possibility that I may not be able to continue breastfeeding. I just want him to be full and content and to grow.
Dr. S thinks I have a supply problem. And contrary to all the books I've read, this problem is not related to demand. We have plenty of demand. But, it seems I'm just not making enough milk to meet the demand -- despite my best efforts to guzzle lots of water and eat healthy.
So, she sent me to the health foods store for some herbal supplements which have been known to increase milk supply and told me that if those don't work, Dr. Carter could call in a script for Reglan. But I wanted to try the natural route first.
So after Andrew settled in for a nap yesterday, I left him with my parents and ventured out into the world for the very first time without him.
I was only gone a few minutes -- the health foods store is just outside of our subdivision. And, when I got back home he was sleeping like a rock. But, I felt so lonely out there without him -- like I'd left part of my body at home.
Later, my mother presented Andrew with a bottle of formula and my son guzzled the milk down like a little pig -- a pig who didn't care that the nipple was different. My mother was possibly the happiest grandma on earth at that moment. I, on the other hand, had to leave the room. Last night, Greg fed him another bottle and once again, I couldn't bear to watch. Dad and baby seemed to both enjoy their time together, though, and I know it's a blessing that Andrew took so readily to those Medela bottles. Welcome to the island, Daddy and Granny.
I want to write another post about my outing -- to tell you about the breakdown I had at Walgreens in the greeting cards. But that will have to wait, because the clock is ticking and I need to try to shower at some point today.
If anyone has any advice for how to increase milk supply, I'm all ears.


  1. Oh, Krista...I feel you. I really, really do. On so much of this post! Nick is off today, so I was able to take a leisurely shower! And put on lotion afterwards! And brush my teeth! One afternoon I thought I was able to squeeze in a brief 5min shower while Arlo was napping, but by the time I got out of the shower he was wailing in his I threw on my robe, nursed him and then spent the next hour naked in my robe trying to settle him. I was only able to get dressed when Nick got home from work that evening. I learned that it's probably easier for me to take my fast-as-lightening shower when there are a second pair of hands in the house. :/ I have been known to still be in my spit-up covered and breastmilk soaked pajamas when Nick gets home from work. Sigh.

    About supplementing...I'm so glad that you're still able to have some private time on the island with Andrew. I can understand how formula feels like a compromise of some variety, BUT you are doing the very best you can! And that's all you can do! Feel good about all of the love and effort and motivation you're putting into this--what committment. ;) I'm proud of you! You're doing a beautiful job, really. Hang in there, Mama.(I have been using the Traditional Medicinal Healthy Lactation tea, drinking about three cups or so a day. Have you tried that?)

    "But, I felt so lonely out there without him -- like I'd left part of my body at home." This statement really sang out to me...I feel this even when I'm in a different room from Arlo...

    Keep us posted! Thinking of you and sending you lots of good mama vibes! :)

  2. ***just adding that i DON'T think formula is a compromise AT ALL. hope that came through in my other comment. but i understand that sometimes we put a lot pressure on ourselves...and there are BFing purists out there that contribute to these feelings. thinking of you!

  3. Tinity -- I just bought some tea yesterday, it's called Organic Milkmaid Tea. I hope it will help. Thanks for all your kind comments. If only we could combine your milk supply with my nipples! Then this breastfeeding stuff would be a piece of cake!