After nearly 8 years of infertility, I was ecstatic to be told I was expecting. As I went through my pregnancy I knew I would "try" and breastfeed.
"Try and breastfeed" How many moms say this? Why don't we just say "I will breastfeed." For me it was because I had PCOS and I had read a comment on a blog somewhere that this effects supply. That got me worried. I began researching it. Reports on this varied- some claiming as many as 1/3 of moms with PCOS "reported" having low supply (not verified by a doctor or LC).
So, I decided that just in case, I would have some formula in the house. Lucky for me (not of sarcasm here) I was sent some by the formula companies who got my name off some mailing list from a pregnancy site, maternity store, or something.
During my pregnancy I went to the breastfeeding class offered by the hospital. I bought a boppy, did some online reading and thought I was ready.
My son was born after an induction (8 days past his estimated due date) that resulted in an emergency c/s- not because of the usual "failure to progress" but due to his heart rate dropping to 33 bpm.
Nursing seemed to come pretty naturally for us in the hospital. However, when we were discharged I was told he had lost more that the "acceptable" amount of weight. I later learned that induction and c/s babies will often lose more because the mother receives more fluids during labor and delivery. Had I known this I may not have done the next thing.
So, we began to supplement. I remember going home the first night and suddenly, my son, who had been attached to my breast for 3 days, wouldn't latch on. It was so easy to just give him the bottle at that point. However, being stubborn, I knew I wanted to make breastfeeding work. I called the LC first thing in the morning and got in.
I continued supplementing as my milk took longer to come in (5 days) due to the c/s. I had the misconception that I needed to feel engorged when it came in if I had a well established supply. So, I still supplemented. When we took my son in to the doctor at 2 weeks, he had not only reached his birth weight- but had an extra pound on there. I was told I could stop supplementing.
As the next two weeks went by, my son, alert from day one, didn't seem to have an interest in comfort nursing. He also was not a fan of eating in general (really, he still would rather do something else than eat). I felt like my supply was low and also I felt like Lil Man was not gaining weight.
I went to the LC who said it appeared I did have a low supply. Also, it was found that Lil Man had lost weight. Back to supplementing.
It was a long struggle. I tried everything, reglan, fenugreek, shatavari, more milk plus, tons of water, lactation cookies, and more. I finally thought at 3 months that my supply was up enough that I could stop supplementing. I had purchased an infant scale so I was able to monitor my sons weight (back after he had lost all the weight). About a month in, Lil Man was losing weight again- so now, I supplement. My son has a few days where he doesn't get any formula- those are joyous and keep me going. He also has days where he eats constantly and ends up getting 6-10 oz of formula. I try and keep the perspective that some breast milk is better than none, and that more than half of his nutrition is yummy mommy milk.
Looking back- I feel I did not get enough education or support. I feel I was given bad advice. I never should have been told to supplement as we left the hospital. I should have just been told to put him to the breast more often and had it explained why his weight loss was only a few ounces over the acceptable amount. I was not taught at all about comfort nursing or cluster feeding in the class I took. I was never told a newborn can nurse every hour for 30-45 minutes each hour. I felt like I educated myself as I went along. Maybe with my next child I will be able to exclusively breastfeed....for now though- I will give Lil Man what I can.