Thursday, February 25, 2010


Whoever said parents know everything... they lied!

When I became pregnant with my son, I was pretty damned determined to breastfeed him till he was a year old. Regardless of what people said, I just had a *feeling* that he would be a good latch'er and that we'd make it through. I knew we could do it. Not only did I know, but my husband had faith in us. From the moment that our son was born, he would get up, get THE MONKEY, change him and bring him to me, ready to nurse. All through the night (in the hospital - not now.... *sad face*) and everything. He loved it.

Every time anyone asks if our son is breastfed, Senior raves about how healthy he is compared to his other four daughters who were formula fed. He talks about how much he loves that we do it and how proud he is of us. It's great to hear.

After 3 great and dare I say... easy months of breastfeeding... things seemed to be going downhill. THE MONKEY was refusing to nurse. He would scream and cry and have a general bad time, overall. I couldn't find the culprit. I tried everything from teething tabs, to motrin, to pumping and giving expressed milk. After about 4 days of it not helping I finally had to resort to formula due to my supply depleting. How it could diminish that much in that short of time, I have no idea... but it did. I was devastated. I wanted, so bad, to nurse. I missed the closeness, I missed the feeling of being needed. I wanted him to have the best and it may sound weird but I missed the sweet smell of his breath and the un-stinkiness of his diapers. I missed him having MY milk.

After spending the day bawling my eyes out and laying THE MONKEY down for the night (*NOTE: HE SLEPT IN BED WITHOUT ME!!!!!*) I went online and started searching for answers. After coming across a cool little site and posting my story, I think I've gotten the answers that I needed and better yet, they fit. Here's what I was told:

If you give him a bottle, you've taught him that all he has to do is fuss and you'll give him a bottle.
a bottle is MUCH MUCH easier to suck down milk from, and honestly babies are as lazy as the rest of us, and look forward to the easiest way to do thing.

If he didn't want to nurse at the breast, he wouldn't latch at all. Sucking one or two times means he's looking for the immediate flow of milk that happens with a bottle, and the breast just doesn't work that way. On the breast, he must work to get the milk out, the milk doesn't just flow as soon as he latches on and starts sucking.

I sincerely doubt it's pain enough that he won't nurse. Sure it's uncomfortable, but baby will be teething for the next year, so it's not a pull out all stops on pain medication type emergency. All babies teeth, and all babies get thru it continuing to nurse enough to grow and thrive. If they don't get the bottle, they will nurse.

To try to mitigate the bottle if you are going to give bottles while t work or other necessary times,

Milk is supply and demand. If you don't empty the breast, milk remaining in the breast signals the breast to make less milk. Unfortunately, while pumping is helpful at emptying the breast, it is not as good as a baby, so most women when pumping will find that their milk supply slowly dwindles unless they do something to make it work out like pumping more often than baby feeds, switch pumping, back and forth from one side to the other like a hungry baby, pumping longer, or using a different pump. It will be work to increase your supply in any manner using only a pump.

It also common after the 3 month growth spurt for milk supply to begin to more exactly match baby's requests for milk, as the hormones have settled down and supply is not as much hormone driven as it was right after birth and you made enough milk to feed the whole neighborhood

Also, it's actually NOT normal to pump 9 ounces or even 6 ounces at a pumping session. Breastfed babies only take in about 25 ounces of breastmilk a day, on average 2-3 ounces at a time, depending on how often they eat of course. So most women can pump about 3 ounces at a pumping session and that's normal and expected.

I honestly think you need to put the bottles and pump away and nurse your baby. If he complains, explain to him that mommy knows best and let him take a break and then try again.

Your milk supply is highest in the morning when your prolactin levels are highest. Milk supply drops over the course of the day, so yes, your milk is lowest at night, but is still sufficient for baby. Now if you are drinking EXCESS water, that can have the opposite result of what you expect, your body will retain the water and your milk supply will often drop. Drink only enough water to satisfy your thirst. If you are making 25 ounces of milk a day, then maybe you need 25 ounces of water over your normal intake, but that is again about 3 ounces 8 times a day, which is not a lot of water.

I think I hit most of your questions.

the biggest thing is put away the bottles and nurse.
And that's exactly what I did. I've nursed him about 6 times today and I'm loving it. He's fussed a few times but given up and latched on without much effort on my part.

Can anyone say, I'm in love?!? Yes. I can.
I'm in love all over again.

I didn't realize that 1: your supply will deminish when you're on your period... check. 2: I didn't realize that at 3ish months my body will regulate itself and my milk supply... check. ALL of which will make me FEEL like I have less milk. Not only that but I didn't realize that babies only *need* 2-3 ounces of milk per feeding up until 6 months of age... again this is approximate but made me realize that pumping 3 ounces is AWESOME and exactly what he needs.

I've since put the bottles and the pump away and have nursed exclusively. YAY me.

Stephanie M.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you Steph! I am very proud of you. A lot of mom's, especially first time moms, would have hung it up to frustration and resorted in just giving up... "the bottle wins again"! Instead, you did your homework and you were very determined to find your solution to your baby! I am so proud of you. Your right about nursing, it just makes you cherish your baby that much more and the bonding experience you gain from nursing is unexplainable, it's just so amazing! Thinking back on those days, I do remember the time I stopped becoming engorged and "soft" and I freaked out because I too thought I was losing my milk supply, but just like you, my lactation nurse told me the complete opposite. Good luck and I am glad that you hung in there and didn't give up. Nursing is an amazing gift a mom can give their baby. So throw those bottles away and put that pump in a closet. LOL I'd prolly tell you to throw that one away too if it weren't the fact that you spent 300 dollars on the thing. LOL One thing I learned... Your baby is not going to starve, so no matter what... when he/she learns that the breast is the only source of "food" then in due time they will give up and feed. Keep up the good work girly! Luv you guys.


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