April 01, 2009



I would include a REAL photo with this post, but it would not be a pretty one. Just me in my cotton pajamas, bags under my eyes, pasty skin, looking like a sleep deprived mother of a cluster-feeding, breastfed infant that isn't on any sort of schedule yet. [Thank God for church friends bringing meals and homeschooling which allows for naps.] However, I don't think a photo of me at this juncture would win me any additional blog traffic, nor do I want anyone using it to blackmail me one day. Wouldn't want my little dude to feel guilty for torturing his mama one day, either... in case he happened in here to read my blog.

So instead, I'm sharing this calf that I photographed last October... and the story of how I'm feeling quite a lot like a cow lately.

I managed to get the baby to take the breast again after we had to supplement formula due to late milk arrival and his being a large baby that was getting jaundice and dehydrating in the first week. He was preferring the bottle (lazy little bugger), but the nipple shields that Medela makes sufficiently tricked him back to breastfeeding. Now that he's breastfeeding, though, he seems to want a Jersey Cow rather than me. I just don't have five boobs, and that is about how many he needs for one feeding.

I'm taking milk-making herbs... drinking water... eating good... but I just can't seem to keep up. Either that, or he's using me as a living pacifier?

I do know this... he isn't up to birth-weight yet (originally 9 lbs, 4 oz). His pediatrician told me yesterday that he's at 8 lbs and 9 oz. Up just a few ounces since last week. He left the hospital at 8 lbs, 7 oz. You would have thought that he would have gained a pound by the amount of milk he "seems" to be getting from his 'mama cow'.

I was curious to know how much milk I am producing now that I haven't been pumping. I was told to not pump so that he could "regulate me". So tonight, I popped the booby that he doesn't prefer in to the pump and filled a bottle with 1.5 ounces in about 12 minutes. Hmmm. So does that mean that he's getting 1.5 ounces each time he drinks from one side? If so, the boy should be ALL KINDS OF FAT. Shoot - after dinner he must have had the equivalent of six boobs before he went to bed.

Either breast milk is the leanest and meanest food on planet earth (allowing you to gorge on a whim without any caloric consequences whatsoever), or something is amiss.

Any of you milk mamas out there want to give me some lactation advice?

This mama heifer is plum wore out.

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Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Admittedly, I am NO expert. I nursed my baby girls for a combined 26 months, but it went smoothly for the most part. However, when you pumped had he nursed that breast recently? I only pumped a lot of milk if I hadn't nursed that breast in a while. I'm guessing that if he nursed that breast the last time he nursed (before you pumped), that might be an accurate guess at how much he's getting when he nurses. If he didn't though, you probably pumped more than he would normally get if you're alternating breasts. Does that make sense? It's probably something you already thought of, but I wanted to throw it out there anyway. (((HUGS))) and prayers for some nursing success for you and your little one!

Traci Best said...

Heather I can imagine how you must feel. I would worry and fret and be trying to do the math too! BUT there is all kinds of 'normal' out there. I wouldn't stress about it. (Stress = Less Milk!) :) At this point I think he is still moving in the normal direction as long has he isn't losing weight...and maybe even if he did lose a little.

If you get really worried call your pediatritians office or a lactation expert. (And don't worry about 'bothering' them. That is what they are there for!) They can put your mind at ease!

Above all give it to God. He cares about ALL things in our lives. Pray over the little mister as he is feeding and ask God to reveal anything that could be amiss...and relieve your anxiety if there is nothing wrong. Tell those worry-wart'in demon friends of the uncapitalized enemy to STEP OFF (!) and leave you alone. You would be amazed how speaking out against them outloud zaps their power over us. LOL

I'll be praying...Give the little cheeks and rolls a pinch for me! ;) -Trace

Maria Miller said...

Try to go through these links and check if any of those things apply to you:

Hidden hindrances to milk supply

Increasing low milk supply

Hope something helps.

Leslie M. said...

I say he is doing fine and if you pumped 1 1/2 oz AFTER he nursed and that was from 1 breast that is GREAT. 12 min on the pump hahhah.. you are too much! Breast milk from what I understand is esp. in the early stages of nursing is very high in fat. So it is NOT a slim Jim Food other wise JR. would not double his weight in 6 months and Triple his Birth weight by a year.
Your Baby might not only cause he was so big to start with!

I bet you really are tired! But I think you are doing GREAT!!!!

Your in my prayers Mamma!!

Michele said...

Boy do I remember those days! But really, everything sounds fine to me. I think you are blessed to be able to get back to nursing. He just wants his mama. You guys are still bonding right now. My last three were all that way, wanted to nurse all the time. And I had problems with one breast delivering less milk and then getting rejected by the baby. Still I nursed all three for 2, then 3, then 3 1/2 years. They nurse less often after that all important early bonding period. You can then regulate their nursing more. I wouldn't worry about his weight gain at this point. He's doing fine with that. I remember thinking, "Well, now I know what a handicapped person feels like - that's what I felt like - like I couldn't do everything (hardly anything) I wanted to do. But cherish the time. You are already blessed with older children to help and MEALS?! What is that? My dh didn't cook for us either....

OT Your writing style is beautiful and attractive. You must be a True writer at heart, to keep writing through everything.

Your children are all beautiful and your husband is blessed (he knows this).


JodyJ said...

I had some issues when I was breastfeeding as well. Up here in Canada there is a world class doctor who specializes in breastfeeding.
I actually found some information videos on You Tube.

And his webiste is: http://www.drjacknewman.com/

I hope this helps a little.

Mama Kautz said...

I nursed our youngest for 30 months..yes I guess I was making up for NOT nursing the other three lol
Soooo on that note Jesse(8lbs 14oz at birth) never took a bottle and never took a pacifier and I never pumped..
Cluster feeding may mean he is just going through a growing spurt...maybe trying to gain back what he lost. He very well could be using you as a pacifier. With my large baby I did just feed on demand until we got "our groove"
so probably 6-8 weeks...try La Leche League...they were a wonderful resource! meetings or have a lactation consultant come to the house

aka KateyinIdaho on twitter

Jennifer said...

I'm am definitely praying for you. My first born son used me as a pacifier. He would drink volumes and then throw it all up which would leave me depressed. I nursed on demand every 2 to 2 1/2 hours which by the time I had my second son, I discovered was great for the first six or eight weeks but not after that. Each child is different. I think you're doing awesome. Keep up the good work and remember to eat, eat, eat and pray, pray, pray!!

Anonymous said...

Keep with it in due time it will all even out. I have breastfeed five kids, currently nursing with number five she will be a year next week. It takes time. Your doing good.

Elena LaVictoire said...

Heather, all my babies were big and that includes two 10 pound+ sized babies.

What you are writing sounds about right, and he is probably using you for a pacifier sometimes too, but that's okay.

I did find when one of my big babies hit 4 months old that I could start apple sauce with rice in the evenings AFTER they had nursed and that seemed to satisfy them.

Enjoy this time, it goes so quickly!

Mousetower said...

My guy used me as a binky and nursed pretty much exclusively for over a year. We didn't stop nursing until 17 months when baby sister started growing and my milk dried up.
Some kids are slower growers than others, the double birth weight and triple by a year thing are just the "average" child.
Call and talk to the DR. if you are worried but unless he hasn't gotten back to birth weight by 2 weeks or even a month old they won't really do much other than pat your hand.
Personally I think Viking is just getting use to life outside the belly and it is taking him a little time.

Amy B. said...

Hooray for you! It can be so easy to throw in the towel at the beginning. Way to stick it out and not give up! I remember thinking, "if this is so natural, why is so hard?" You're doing great and getting some great advice, too. Eat, sleep (as much as possible) and spend some time with "Daddy." He knows what ya need. I remember how I used my nursing time to talk to the Lord. What a beautiful intimate time it is. Once you get past those first 4-6 weeks, it's a piece of cake.
Cheering you on!

jennifer said...

eat lots of iron rich foods!!!! You are doing great! I have been praying for you bunches, my time online has been at a bare minimum due to our impending move... but you have been in my thoughts! Your little guys must have a high metabolism is all. breastfed babies DO nurse alot. Its not as simple as throwing the formula in the bottle and then, bam, a baby that sleeps for a few hours. Nursing for me- has always been a sacrifice- of my time- but those moments..are so very precious. I always take 6 weeks off of hsing with the other kiddos when the baby arrives just so i don't get completely overwhelmed (which isn't hard to do) I also used supplements like mothers milk tea and all that jazz just to be certain the little ones were getting enough. God know what He is doing- he made you so you could provide for that little guy. it gets easier! ANd feeding will "normalize" in a while (after all the massive growth spurts. We often rent science videos and history videos the first few weeks back to a more normal routine just so I don't panic if we dont get enough done (according to my standards). Enjoy these days. Far too soon you will be weaning him and look back and cherish the moments you have with him today.

Tell Me Thursday said...

That's a quite a story and a cute photo! You might like our meme at Tell Me Thursday - you can make your WW really wordless and STILL tell the story! Please join us. =)

Anonymous said...

First I must say I did not read the comments, and I know I'm after a long line of helpful advice. :)
First, let me give you some background so you know where I am coming from. I induced lactation and successfully breastfed an adopted baby, 8 years after I had weaned my youngest biological child. I started with no milk and worked up to a full supply over the course of many tiring months. It was difficult and sometimes frustrating, but one of the most worthwhile things I have done as a mom. Your hard work on this WILL pay off! You have biology on your side... The Lord created your body to respond to your baby.

Keep taking your herbs (fenugreek & blessed thistle?) and nurse, nurse, nurse! Let him use you as a pacifier for a while. It will not hurt you, or him. The key to milk production is stimulation, fluid intake (drink your water), and skin to skin contact can also help. As long as your baby isn't LOSING weight, and IS gaining weight, keep doing what you are doing. If you MUST supplement, you can get a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) to supplement AT the breast, rather than with a bottle. You already learned the difficulty with that. If you are concerned about the need for a larger supply, you could spend a week or two doing after-feed pumping. Just spend 5 minutes per side, pumping after you feed the baby. You can freeze that milk too, if you get much, and save it to supplement with.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. You're doing fine! Just keep it up. Your baby will thank you. ;)



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