A virtual friend of mine penned this quote on a post about the frustrations of breastfeeding yesterday: “Never give up on a bad day.”
I’ve had a few of those, with our good days being far & between.
In the beginning, little man could latch like a rockstar but couldn’t maintain it. The lactation consultants at the hospital told me I may need a nipple shield & deemed him a, “lazy eater.” He almost lost too much weight in the hospital so we started supplementing with formula. My milk also took practically a week to come in, which didn’t help matters. A friend of mine suggested I start pumping to speed it up a little so I did, getting tiny bits of colostrum in those first days. Once my milk finally came in, things went great for a few days. We laid around the house & did skin to skin all day in his first days while he ate off & on.
I’m not sure where things turned but this blissful state of nursing didn’t last for us. When we tried breastfeeding, not too long after we’d started, he got really frustrated & started to cry, working himself up & making it impossible for him to feed. Along with that, even when he does nurse now, he doesn’t eat long enough to fill himself up via nursing alone. He’ll go 5-10 minutes tops & want nothing else to do with it.
When we saw a lactation consultant for these reasons, she didn’t think he had a tongue or lip tie but did feel like he needed suck training-something I’d never heard of before that moment. She noticed, on both the breast & bottle, he didn’t use his tongue correctly & sucked with his lips instead. In doing so, he was exerting more energy, burning more calories, &, likely, wearing himself out in the process-in addition to losing a lot of milk either way. The lactation consultant also said she didn’t think I needed the nipple shield & hoped we could work toward getting rid of it.
She referred us to suck training with a speech therapist, who also agreed he definitely needed it & he is already doing better with the exercises she gave us to do with him at home.
Fast forward to now: since it has been more difficult for E to nurse than eat a bottle until his suck training is complete, I’ve been pretty much exclusively pumping. Six times a day, without fail. For about the past week, for whatever reason, my milk supply has dropped. It was never fully there, I produced about half of what he needed I think the lactation consultant had said. I was averaging 17 ounces a day & now I’m down to averaging 13. I eat the lactation cookies, drink Mother’s Milk Tea, drink water, eat oatmeal as often as possible, & this is still is happening. It is beyond frustrating to say the least. I feel like I’m trying to do everything right to up the supply & spending a good amount of my time strapped to a machine for absolutely nothing. Not to mention I spend a great amount of time doing this:
I want to quit.
But I don’t want to do it on a bad day either & then be full of regret later. A friend of mine suggested, before I’d even started breastfeeding, to make small goals. I.E. don’t go into it saying we’ll do it a year, or two. Start with I’ll do it a week, a month, etc, etc. Against all odds, we’re coming up on the two month mark in 11 days. My game plan is to give it until at least then to see if things turn around. In addition to everything else I’m doing, I ordered some nursing supplements so we’ll see if those help.
Have you ran into bumps in the road with nursing?? How did you overcome then?? What advice would you give someone who is struggling with breastfeeding?