Friday, August 01, 2008

Tales from the Breast

It's World Breastfeeding Week.

I've been thinking about writing a post updating on my breastfeeding experience.

Sounds like this is the week to do it!

I'm hoping to talk Rich in to taking some picture of Kiel nursing. That may take some doing as he thinks letting anyone see us like that is obscene , horrifying, in extreme bad taste obscene. Well, maybe not obscene, but it does kind of freak him out if I do it in public and am not completely covered up. And even then I think he gets a little twitchy about it.

But I digress...

I've written before about how much I wanted to breastfeed and how I was going to do what ever I could to make it happen. I've been fortunate in that it has worked out for me.

Kiel latched on just fine from the very beginning. I needed to do a little work to get my milk to come in, and we supplemented with bottles while Kiel was back in the hospital because of his jaundice, but I woke up on day six and the milk was there.

I was actually lucky in a way that Kiel was readmitted to the hospital because I was able to spend more time with the lactation consultant, and the nurses were very helpful as well. It was also encouraging that they would weigh Kiel before and after I nursed him, so I had confirmation that he was getting milk from me.

I tried to pump while in the hospital, but was not very successful. The lactation consultant helped me with that too and gave me some different size breast shields. I've read since that it's not uncommon in the beginning to have difficulties pumping.

So my milk came in and Kiel was on my boobs All. The. Time. It was a bit overwhelming, and exhausting.

At his one week appointment he was back to his birth weight and had actually gained a bit. We were told we didn't need to bring him back until his one month appointment. And at his one month appointment he was still gaining just fine.

But he was still on my boobs All. The. Time! And it was exhausting.

I tried pumping again and was only able to pump an ounce or two at a time. It was somewhat disheartening.

Over Christmas, when Kiel was about six weeks old, we spent a week with my parents in Michigan. It was a twelve hour drive, each way. On the drive back I didn't drink much and Kiel didn't nurse as much as he usually did, plus I supplemented some with formula. The next day, I felt like I had no milk at all. And I realized just how important it was to drink enough water.

So I drank more water and Kiel seemed to be happier. I also started drinking Mother's Milk Tea. That also seemed to help.

When I started back to work and had to pump regularly I had some problems. I was never able to get more than 3 ounces at a time. Sometimes even less than that. And I would spend at least 45 minutes a session. And I was pumping three times during my eight hours at work. Plus at night before bed. And I still wasn't getting enough to keep up with Kiel while he was at daycare.

So I drank more water and I started taking herbs, lots and lots of herbs - fenugreek, blessed thistle and alfalfa. My milk turned green. And I was barely able to keep up, even if I gave him one bottle of formula before bed so I could pump then too. And I pumped when ever possible on my days off to try and stock up.

At six months we started feeding him solids (remind me to post about that some time as I'm making all his food). I was hoping I'd be able to slow down a bit on the pumping, but if anything, he's drinking even more.

So I ordered some domperidone. And after a couple weeks I could see my supply increasing. Not to astronomical proportions, but enough to keep up for the most part. I'm taking 30 mg's three times a day, with 4 caps of fenugreek three times a day.

I still don't have the supply I had hoped for, but I've come to terms with it. Kiel typically gets one bottle a day, usually before bed, of formula. I'm still a very slow pumper. Most pumping sessions last at least 45 minutes. I don't think this is typical.

I almost never leak and I've never sprayed like I hear some women do. I've actually been disappointed that I don't do that. It sounds kind of cool - in a porn star kind of way. Heh.

I'll be relieved when I don't need to pump any more, or can get down to perhaps once a day. I'm in no hurry to stop nursing though. My plan is to let Kiel decide when he's ready to stop, within reason. Dr. Sears recommends nursing for the first two years, so hopefully we will go at least that long.

And if nursing continues to keep my period from coming back, more power to the boob I say!

And on that note...I'm off to pump before bed.


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