Sunday, June 23, 2013

Breast feeding Saga take 2

Well if you are a reader of my blog than you know the struggles I went through breastfeeding Jackson.  Since this was going to be a whole new birth and baby my dreams of breastfeeding were on overload...I knew things could be very different this time around.  Since I knew what was coming I was very proactive with my breastfeeding health.  One of my midwives is a certified lactation consultant, I asked her to read my medical report from the lactation consultant I saw with Jackson so we could get things started off right.  One thing that stood out to her was the information about inverted nipples, she said that wasn't that big of a deal since there were thing we could do to help that so I would be ready to pop my baby on the boob.

Before Elliot was born I wore supple cups every day for the two weeks before Elliot was born...I manually tried to get colostrum out of my breasts, which to my midwife's surprise was not easy and barely even showed.  I massaged, rubbed, applied heat, and pumped once to try and get my breasts ready. All that time I was barely seeing anything expel from my breast.  My midwife didn't seem worried but she did think it was a little strange that I wasn't getting anything out of my nipples so close to having my baby. 

Cut to Elliot being born, and putting him right on my breast...ahh, tears are forming in my eyes as I think about that moment.

This was what I had always bliss.  I was only in the hospital for about 22 hours before I left but I made sure to have that lactation consultant come in to me every time I was going to feed Elliot.  Elliot had a good latch and a lot of sucking breasts were sore, my nipples were sore, but I knew what I was getting into and I wanted it badly.

Below you will find my breastfeeding experience through text messages with my doula, these messages took place over about a 12 day period:

Me: Gail I fed Elliot at 3:00 and tried again at 6:50. He just doesn't want to wake up to eat. Should I let him sleep or wake him now and try again?

Gail: If he's sleeping , he's not hungry. You can put him skin to skin and see if he will dream feed, but, unless you feel he needs it, you do not have to wake him. Trust your instinct. :)
First 24 hrs he's quite sleepy. It's ok. :)

Me: Ok thanks. He's sleeping right on me.

Gail: Perfect!
You're amazing. I must tell you how honored I was to be in your presence today. You are an inspiration.

Me: Awww thanks Gail.

Gail: Can I share (no names) your successful natural VBAC on my page? I'm so proud, but will only share if its ok with u. If not, that's ok. :)

Me: Of course. I'd be honored!

Gail: Wonderful. Will do so later. .. As soon as I'm home. Was Jackson excited?
Did u rest?

Me: Got some sleep between feedings. Thanks

Gail: Glad to hear. :)

Gail:  Nursing going well?

Me:  It is. My nips hurt but it's way better than Jackson's nursing experience.

Gail:  Sore is ok. Pain is not. If it hurts throughout the feeding we need to readjust latch. Rub the colostrum/milk on them. It's liquid gold. :) let me know if u need any help. Can't wait to see you again soon. :)

Me:  I've had lactation in here several times. Elliot is latching well I think I'm just a baby. He may have shallow latched a couple times.  My right one hurts and it looks like I'm getting a blister.

Gail:  You are definitely not a baby!!!!!... I watched you navigate natural labor like a freakin rock star!! Have the lactation consultant look at the latch on the right side especially, .., a blister is usually an indication that an adjustment might need to be made on the latch. Usually an easy fix. Lets "nip" ( get it?) it now, to stop it from getting worse. :)

Me:  She said she wants to check his tongue and she showed me that I should try to scoop my boob into his mouth to help fix the latch.

Gail:  K. Just keep an eye. You're doing a great job!

Me:  Lactation specialist said he has a lip tie. It's not horrible but it may be wants causing the pain. She told me to talk to my pediatrician.

Gail:  Interesting. Could def b causing the pain. Not a huge deal and pretty common. Have ped verify it .. I have some great recs of ent's who will "snip" it. Very simple if that's what you decide he needs. No biggie. Many of babies have it, usually it's not identified and they have trouble Breastfeeding , at least u will know. :)

Me:  Great thanks!!

Me:  So I breast fed on both sides for almost 40 minutes. With in 5 mins he was crying and rooting and searching for Chris's nipple. I then breastfed again for another 15-20 mins and he is still acting like he is hungry and crying. He fell asleep hardcore during this third feeding and I know he wasn't eating at the end. I want to give him a pacifier my boobs really need a break. I have like a hickie mark on my aeriola. Help!!!

Gail:  The mark definitely indicates not great latch. The priority is him eating. You can pump colostrum and feed him from a spoon or a small cup (like the ones from children's medicine bottles). He should be having 4 -6 wet dispersal in a 24 hr period. That's how u know he's eating enough. I would advise against paci at gnus time because it signals to his brain that he's full, when he actually may not be. Pump and cup or spoon feed. If he is lip tied, he may not be able to latch properly. When do u see ped?

Me:  Not until Tuesday. It was the earliest we could get in.
I took him off the boob and relatched because it hurt so bad. That is when I found the mark. It took me 3-4 times to get the latch manageable.
He just burped like 7 times and finally stopped crying.

Gail:  K. Check the wet diapers. He needs to be peeing 3-5 times and pooping 3-4 times in a 24 hr period. Try to feed him before he cries.. Watch for feeding cues.. Readjust the latch to make sure your areola is in his mouth, and not just nipple. But, if u feel he can't get on right , pump, and cup or even dropper feed him. The most impt thing is that he eats. Did the lactation consultant day the lip tie was interfering with latch?
It's totally a learning curve for both of you. Yes. Sometimes it can take 5-10 times of readjusting before you get the latch right.
Yay for burps.
If it hurts, take him off and readjust until it doesn't hurt.
It's a learning curve... For both of you.
Stay calm because he can sense your anxiety. Take a breath and keep trying. Also, when in doubt , get naked. Both of you. Skin to skin is like "rebooting" him.

Me:  Consultant said he had a good latch but when I told her how painful it is every time she looked and saw him tongue tie and said he may not be getting enough around the aereola. I'm very concerned about him not getting enough food especially with this storm. The docs also said at 2 days old he should have two pee diapers which he has had today. He's passed out right now. I'm starting to get nervous.

Gail:  Don't get nervous. He's fine. If he's not peeing then cup feed him. His belly is the size of a marble right now, so that the only amount you need. He's ok. Trust your intuition to do what u need to do.

Me:  Ok thanks

Gail:  Keep me posted. He will be fine. :)
Start keeping track of the wet diapers.... Remember it's in a 24 hour period your watching.

Me:  I pumped and was able to give him barely a teaspoon. I'm starting to get very worried.

Gail:  He didn't want more?

Me:  He didn't nuzzle for more but he was crying when Chris took him so I could get the pump off
No he's laying on Chris burping and farting trying to sleep

Gail:  Just keep offering him. Has he had a wet diaper since you've been home?

Me:  No he had one big wet diaper right before we left the hospital.

Gail:  K. That's good. Remember you're looking for the wet diapers in a 24 hr period. He's ok. Keep offering. Watch his behavior and the wet diapers. Just keep offering it to him.
Keep pumping too.
Is he acting any differently then when you guys were in the hosp?

Me:  He's acting fussier today than yesterday.  But he's sleeping now. I'm so anxious to offer boob because it hurts so bad when we try to breastfeed and then he just acts like it isn't satisfying. I got that half a teaspoon from my left breast only. Could salvage but a drop from my right.

Gail:  I don't want u to be in any pain. Try to pump every 2 hrs. For 15 min each, and see what u get. He will be fussier now then in hosp.... He's "waking up", but trust your intuition regarding if he's still hungry or not. You will know. Follow your gut feeling.
Keep offering in a cup, syringe or bottle frequently, and check for the wet diapers.
Take a deep breath, ... He will be ok. Trust your intuition.

Me:  Ok thank you. I gave it to him in a little spoon is that ok?

Gail:  That's perfect. As long as he gets it. :)

Me:  I just found my nipple shield. Should I try that?

Gail:  If it is indeed lip/tongue tie , that prob won't help. I'm not a huge shield fan because it can mask the problem, but if its the only way he will eat, you certainly can try, if you want to. Maybe try getting him more used to the spoon, cup and see how it goes before changing it on him again, I'm going to send u a video on cup feeding later so u can see it.

Me:  Ok thank you. I don't know  what I'd do right now if I couldn't ask you this stuff.

Gail:  I'm so happy to be here for you guys. :) ask anything , anytime. :)
So I just had him nurse for almost 30 mins on left side. I know he got stuff out. It was on my nipple. How long is too long to nurse on one side? Wasn't as painful for sure but he's crying now. But does not want other side. He just fell asleep next to my other boob. And we had a pee.

Me:  All sounds perfectly wonderfully normal. No set Amt of time for any one side. When he's done (which it seems like he is.., ie falling asleep). Switch sides for when he awakes.
Ok great
Yay for peepee!!! He's doing great! So are you. Just emailed you some videos. Hang in there! You are amazing!

Me:  We had a very very difficult night. At 4:00 he awoke drooling and was choking a little. He felt hot, i was concerned about dehydration. Took temp it was normal but I was scared because the feed before was not so great.  I got scared. Gave a teaspoon of formula then breast fed and pumped. Got a little milk so spoon fed him that. He woke about two hours later and we breastfed for 30 mins both sides. Manageable pain working hard to get a good latch. He seemed very satisfied. He fell back asleep with me and is still asleep. About to wake to feed again. Hour nursing sessions ok? I was nervous that he wasn't getting enough/any out of my breasts but at last feeding there was white on each nipple.

Gail:  It sounds like you are both doing great! Only wake to feed if you feel u need to. Otherwise he will wake when he's hungry. The pee output and his behavior is how u check for dehydration. He will feed more frequently sometimes and less others. He will also eat different amounts. Remember his belly is the size of a marble. But, his peeing and pooping is the main thing to watch. Trust your intuition. Try to take one moment at a time. :)

Me:  Is there a cue to know when to take him off a boob? Like he's been on my left boob since 10:07 and he's still nursing.

Gail:  Nope. He will either take himself off or fall asleep and loose the latch. It feels like all you do is have him on the boob. :) It's so soothing, they fall asleep, then, kinda arouse, them suck, them fall asleep, ... Nursing is not just about the intake but the comfort he gets too. :)
And the timing of feelings are from beginning to beginning.

Me:  Sorry one more ques. He just popped himself off put his fingers on his mouth. It's almost been an hour. Now he's crying. Should. Offer my other boob?

Gail:  Offer. If he's hungry he will take it. If not, then just burp him , and walk him.. Sooth him. :)
Totally normal to be nursing for over an hr. then nurse again soon after .

Gail:  How's it going?

Me:  Better my cousin came over to help me nurse. She made me feel much better.

Gail:  Awesome. Trust your body and yourself mama!

Me:  So early this morning I gave Elliot a bottle of formula in a breastfeeding bottle. My milk was coming in last night and he was not relieving me at all. My boobs and back were killing me. I pumped while Chris gave him the bottle he ate one ounce and then I pumped about .5 ounces and he ate that. I'm going to try to pump right before I feed him just for 5 mins so it will pull my nipple out for me and maybe it will hurt less when he latches on. What do you think? I can feel the milk coming in my boobs are very hot a very sore (a different sore than before) my nipples are killing me still. They are very raw and red but I really think he's getting as much aureola in his mouth as possible.

Gail:  I think that's a great idea. See if the pump gets the nipple out. They should not be feeling that bad. If he doesn't get much milk out, pump as much as you to relieve the fullness. You're doing a great job. Yay for milk coming in. :)

How's it going?

Me:  I've hit another bump. My nipples are scabby and in terrible pain. Elliot had an orange colored pee diaper that scared me. We called our pediatrician and he said that's common for breast fed babies. I made the decision to pump and bottle feed it. It's still not enough I get about .5 oz and he drinks about another 1oz of formula. That's when he's satisfied.

So this was a VERY scary moment for me...the orange pee threw me for a loop.  I started freaking out almost not able to breath myself.  My mind was racing and going everywhere from what if Elliot is dying to what am I doing wrong, my baby is starving.

Gail:  Yes. The orange pee is common. Can u get him in tomorrow to assess for the tongue tie. If indeed that us what he has, he won't be able to latch properly and it will cause pain for you. I don't want u in pain. I could also see if I could find a Lactation Consultant to come tomorrow if u want, because I could not get there until later in the week. Are your nipples hurting when u pump? Can u try sending Chrus to babies r us to get larger size flanges for the pump? Sometimes that is the problem? The standard size flange is med, and mist nipples are bigger than that. If nipples are smushed in the flange while pumping, you won't get as much milk. Maybe that is why. Thoughts?

Me:  I have all the size flanges here from last time. I've been reading about the lip tie watching those latch videos, I feel like he isn't getting his mouth wide enough open? I'm trying to get to a lac specialist on Tuesday but I won't know until Monday if I can get in. I'm starting to lose hope and feeling like I'm going to have to pump and bottle feed all over again. Is scabbed nipples a sign of bad latch?
The first 4-8 sucks are toe curling and then after that they just hurt (tolerable somewhat) but I just keep going. I've relatched 1000 times tried different positions. The thought of brining him to my boob makes me cry. I procrastinate at his feeding and have bowed out of trying this last feed because it hurts too much. I also feel like he isn't getting the amt he needs from me as I pump .5 oz and he then needs to drink another ounce of formula to feel satisfied.
I do need help and if you can get anyone to come here ASAP I don't care the cost I would appreciate it

Gail:  I'm going to see if I can get someone there tomorrow.

Me:  Thank you. I don't want to give up but all I do is cry thinking about it. I can't even enjoy my son because I worry about his feedings

Gail:  How are you doing mama? When is Deirdre coming? You're amazing! Hang in there. (Hugs)

Me:  Deirdre is coming at 11:30. I breast fed this morning twice once was totally pain free on one side.
Gail:  Great! Hang in there! Remember to breathe. You and Elliot are both doing great! :) Please keep me posted.                                                                                                                                                        
Gail:  How did it go?                                                                                                                                             

Me:  Deirdre was great. Thanks for helping me.

Gail:  I'm so happy. Keep me posted.

Gail:  Can I come by next week sometime? We can plan it later in the week. Would love to see you.

Me:  Sure

Gail:  Keep me posted with how musing is going. :)
Lol.. Nursing.

Gail:  What did Deirdre say?

Me:  She said anatomically he looks fine, good latch, my milk hasn't come in yet, breastfeed every 3 hours to get supply. Seeing her again at Zatz's office and a weight check later this week.

Gail:  All wonderful! :)

Me:  My breasts feel like there is nothing left in them. Elliot fed at 1am and then again at 2:30-4am. Then at 6 and then at 8:40 (very difficult feed, latching unlatching). I want to try again but this morning feeds seem to end with him still hungry and my breasts burning. My supply still hasn't "come" in. I'm getting frustrated. One step forward one step back?

Gail:  I don't think it's a step back. Not every feed will be "perfect". Just keep doing what you're doing. There will be some feeds he will need every hour, some longer. Your milk is coming. Hang on there. You are doing great. Don't get discouraged. Sounds normal. :)

Me:  Ok I'm sorry to bother you. I know your SIL just had a baby. I felt so encouraged yesterday and feel so confused and discouraged today. I don't know if he's tired or lathargic, still hungry or fussy, if I let him sleep or wake. I'm so confused.

Gail:  No bother at all. I think trying to figure it out always is an exercise in futility and frustration for you. You can still be encouraged. No reason not to be. Hills and valleys... But, you are doing a great job. Every feeding may be slightly different. That's ok. He's ok. Trust yourself and your body. It's ok to feel like all u do is feed him. Breastfeeding a newborn is a 24 hr a day job. You are really doing a great job. Just keep doing what you're doing and try not to dissect each feeding. If he still seems hungry , try again. :)

Gail:  How are you doing?

Me:  I wish I could say well. I gave a bottle and pumped. I can't get past the pain again. It's a vicious cycle. I put off feeding him bc it hurts so bad. I feel guilty and terrible and sad for Jackson bc he practically has lost his mom all so I can breastfeed which I'm starting to feel like I just don't want to do anymore. I know it's best for baby but everybody is suffering at this point.

Gail:  You have to be ok. That is the bottom line. Do u need to contact Deirdre re: pain.?

Me:  I'm going to see her tomorrow at dr. Zatz.

Gail:  K, good. I'm sorry it's been so difficult for you. Morgan, the bottom line is for you to be ok. If you are not, nobody is. Take deep breaths. One thing at a time. One moment at a time.

Me:  I don't know. Anytime I try to talk I just cry and cry and cry.

Gail:  Are there other things going on too? Or is the sadness all related to the nursing challenges?
All- 90% nursing and 10% guilt about Jackson not being able to spend time with me.
Because all I'm doing is trying to nurse.
 Jackson will be absolutely find. We will always have "sibling guilt".. No matter what u do. Siblings are a gift. He will be fine. What changed with the nursing from the time Deirdre left? Nursing is a 24 hr a day job, but it does get easier. All a newborn basically does is nurse. You're doing it right. When you're nursing you can just put a show on and just sit next to Jackson. Set him up with his cars and nurse next to him. I guarantee you, he is fine. :)
You are a great mom, and finding the balance with 2 is hard.
Someone will get more of the attention sometimes... Soon it will be Jackson and Elliott will be the accessory. It's a balance, you're doing a great job.

Me:  I slept through my alarm twice and didn't feed Elliot for 4 hours instead of 3. He was asleep too, then it all spirals from there. I start to think My supply isn't going to increase, he hasn't pooped in two days, he's not getting enough milk from me, and then add the initial pain of the latch on ( I can't emotionally get myself past the pain) then he nurses for an hour and I have to start all over again in two hours that go so quickly and then the cycle begins again. Pain...guilt.

Gail:  You really have to use some if that great self talk and power I saw in labor to literally stop the negative thoughts and counteract them. Push them out! Don't let yourself go into this spiral.
You are so strong Morgan. . Recognize how wonderful you are. You are doing a great job and when neg thought come , tell them , "f you!". ;)
This is hard , but , you will get through it. Look at what you did. You are a great mommy! You are doing the best you can , which is pretty damn good. One moment at a time. Everyone is ok. But, you have to b ok. (Hugs)

Gail:  You ok?

Me:  Trying. I just gave him another bottle and plan on pumping in a bit. I'm fighting feelings of guilt. I tried to put him on my boob but I just couldn't do it. The pain overwhelms me.
Have you contacted Deirdre re: the increase in amt of pain today?

Gail:  Morgan, you need to b ok. You need to do what u need to do.
I emailed her but I'm feeling like I disappointed her she came all the way here yesterday helping me and there I go and give formula in a bottle.
It's about helping you meet your goals, not hers. You are not disappointing anyone. It's not about anyone else except you! :)

The fact of the matter was that I was NOT okay at all.  I was in a very dark time and I saw no light at the end of the tunnel.  Everything was going downhill fast and I couldn't stop it.  I sat all day in my bed naked from the belly up crying and struggling with getting Elliot to breastfeed, to be satisfied.  If you can imagine a whirlpool in movies in an ocean?  I was at the center sinking very quickly...a rope would come and pull me up a foot and a couple moments later I would sink 3 more feet.  I was sinking and I didn't know how to get myself out.
Gail:  How are you?

Me:  Went to doc today. Elliot's good, lost ALOT of weight.  We all talked and I'm switching to organic formula my sadness is too much and too overwhelming...I am depressed and it's just getting worse.

Gail:  I think that is a wise choice. Like I was saying yesterday, You have to be ok. If u are not ok, nothing else matters. It's a hard decision, I know. You are an amazingly strong woman... I hope u know that. Lets set a plan for my visit.

Me:  THANK you. Chris and I had a long heart to heart yesterday when he came home from work. When I decided this it was as if the sun was finally starting to peak out of a cloud.

Gail:  Then that is what you need to do. I'm very happy to hear that. Very proud of you.
I'm trying to take the baby to the chiro Friday. Thurs circumcision at 2:15. What day is good for you to get together?

Gail:  Next week , right?

Me:  Next week is good for me.

Gail:  Great! How about Tues. ... 11ish?

Gail:  Sure! Tuesday 11ish is great

Thank goodness Gail was there to help me and answer my questions and support me in any decision I needed to make.

Gail was not the only one who I continued to text and receive help support from on a daily basis...Danielle and Rebecca cheered me on and gave me recommendations as did my cousins Kathy and Kristin. 

That is the short version of my story this time around.  No one ever said breastfeeding is easy...and I KNOW that...hello, read my story about breastfeeding Jackson.  And YES, I know breast is is engrained in my brain...but I couldn't get out of that dark place for almost two weeks.

When I went to see my midwife for my two week check up, the one who is also a lactation consultant.   I told her every thing that went on for me...she looked me straight in the eyes and said...Morgan, listen, we knew you had issues with supply with Jackson and even with all the teas, vitamins, and prescription you took to help your supply.  All of that minimally assisted, you still had to supplement with Jackson.  Your body just doesn't produce the amount of milk your babies need, you are physically lacking the amount of mammary glands (I am paraphrasing this because I cannot remember the exact wording).  You need to take it easy of yourself.

All through my milking days with Jackson I kept thinking there has to be something medically wrong with is it possible with all I am doing I still do not have enough milk.  BUT people do not talk about always just hear, "You are not pumping enough, the baby needs to be on your breast ALL the time, drink mother's milk, take Fenugreek, eat lactation cookies, drink beer, try different latch positions, use warm rice bags, cool compresses, nipple cream, massage your breasts, and  RELAX that is the funniest one to me.  YOU see if all you dreamed about was breastfeeding your baby and it isn't working out for you, how are you supposed to relax?  I DID all of the above and nothing, nothing helped to increase my supply. No one ever tells you that there could actually be something physically wrong with you that you cannot make the milk that you need for your babies.  Instead you just feel inadequate because they keep telling you the same thing and nothing works...that is and was how I felt.

I do not know if my midwife was just saying the above to make me feel better about switching to formula but it was what I needed to hear to help myself begin to heal from this trauma.   

I still envy people who breastfeed and I mourn that loss about once a week...a friend of mine told me recently that she wanted to offer me her excess breastmilk but didn't know how to ask me if I wanted it at the time...I cried.  That is the most unselfish thing I have been offered...feelings of "maybe I didn't do enough started to rise in my head."  And so I wrote this blog is my baby...formula fed and healthy...formula fed and NOT over weight, formula fed and at 4 months wants to stand, formula fed and is teething, formula fed filled with joy...formula fed and LOVED with a Mama who can love him back and his brother because she climbed her way out of that black hole.

Breastfeeding moms have no idea that one of the most hurtful things to say to me,  a non breastfeeding desperately wanting to breastfeed mom are, "I know it would just be easier for me to give a bottle..."  You know what?  It isn't easier to just give a bottle!  It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made and I think about it all the time. 


I am not going to apologize for my formula fed baby...I may mourn the loss of breastfeeding him once in a blue moon but I will NOT apologize for doing what I needed to do to be there as a whole person for my family. 


  1. Your baby is so sweet and cute. I like your video. I also have 1 year old child. He is very naughty.

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  2. In the journey of life, we will all have to face heart wrenching situations, of which we will need to let go of cherished goals and take on what may at first seem to be less desirable outcomes.

    No matter the reason(s) that drives us to make certain choices, we all reach for and make choices that seem most fitting (or right) for our unique situations.

    Still, no one should have to feel that he/she is being placed under social pressure, or scrutiny, and must disclose to another the why's behind their personal choices.

    It's a terrible thing that the covert and overt child feeding wars have continued for so long. It shows how pathetic a condition many are in when it has common practice to seek to force one's personal views upon others (and I'm not guilt free of this, but have learned it's a detrimental practice to self and others). While there is nothing wrong with offering advice and sharing experiences, timing and manner do make a difference.

    All are free to choose what is believed to be most beneficial, and meaningful, after all is said and done. We seek, we experience, and we learn, and we move forward wiser and wiser as the cycle continues.

    I'm thankful for you sharing how you have come to terms with the reality of your situation, and have made it through the sorrow and guilt of needing to let go of a most cherished goal and embrace a new outlook. I've had to make hard decisions also regarding breastfeeding, and in other ways! So glad we are on the other side of those perplexing situations now :). No need to fuel the hate wars in either direction- my goal is to let compassion meet with hearts in need.

    (((Hugs)))..., for the journey ahead!