Friday, April 9, 2010

nursing the baby blues

before i start talking about how hard it is to feed my baby, lets look at how cute she is! :) and fair warning, this post may be graffic. if you are a boy--don't read it, and if you read it, know its graffic.

so nursing is much harder (for me) than i ever expected it to be. my awesome sister has been nursing my neice for 8 months (and going strong) and has never even had a sore anything! i am so glad for her and for lylah that it has been such a smooth process, but that is not the case for everyone. i guess going into nursing, i had the mindset of "its been easy for my sister, we share a bloodline, so its bound to be easy for me!" wrong-o! in the hospital, the tube on lansinoh and i became very close friends.

but here is what has been giving me the most trouble. bella nurses great, sometimes. but then sometimes in the evenings, i'll get her to latch on, she'll do her thing for a minute, and then she will start screaming her head off. i know good and well that she is hungry! i can't understand why i can't get her to eat! just now, she nursed for 3 minutes on each side. 3 minutes! that is not enough. yet she stops to scream and won't go back to it.

so i have tried to pump. i have only been able to get about an ounce. now i know that one ounce is not enough, even if i feed her 12 times a day. 12 ounces a day isn't enough! so i tried getting larger breast shields for the pump (which may have actually helped a little). i got these little warm/cool packs that you can put on your breasts to increase milk flow and also sooth pain right after feeding. i'm taking my vitamins and drinking plenty of water.

i really just don't know what to do at this point. of course, i always come to these conclusions on a weekend so that i can't seek medical help for days!! so i'm looking for experienced momma help, please! :) i know lots of you have nursed your babies and i know that some of you have pumped exclusively. please please give me any and all advice that you have. and please tell me if you sweet babes ever did the latch on/scream 30 seconds later thing.

it is my hope and my intention to breastfeed/feed breast milk to bella joy for her first year of life. there have been lots of times in her 3 1/2 week life that i have wanted to give up. last night i was so frustrated that i told adam that i would go back to work so we could afford to buy formula. i don't want to do that! so please help!!!!


sarahe said...

well, i don't have advice, but i will be praying for you! and seriously, if you need any formula for supplementing let me know and i will get you some cans from work. *hugs*

Amanda said...

I clearly can't share any advice, but I do know that lactation consultants are helpful. I'm sure you know this too :). Also I read too many blogs and these two bloggers just had babies and are very detailed in all their information:
i think her name is Jessica at She says some potty words but she seems to share all kinds of info. Kind of TMI but that's probably what you're looking for lol
and Julia at
my life in transition dot blogspot maybe? Google it you'll find her.
Hope they help :)

Amanda said...

Oh I thought of another one
amber ulmer is her name and if you google her name you'll find her. She had some real crazy detailed posts about breastfeeding. As in I didn't read it all bc it was tmi.
Let me just clarify that I do not know these people!

Emily said...

Okay, lady. You knew I'd have a couple cents to share. ;) Abigail and I are just ending our one year relationship, as her big sisters and I did before. The BEST advice I have is to relax. That's it. Don't stress yourself out about how much water you've had to drink or how long she's nursed or any of that. Breathe. Let go. Let God. Focus on blessings and not trials. You're so good at that anyway!

Fenugreek (a natural herb supplement thing that may or may not be spelled like that) can help increase milk supply, too. Emily Jo did that in the beginning and could tell you more if you FB her. It's over the counter at the vitamin store.

And has a TON of breastfeeding advice.

LOVE. You're doing GREAT!

Emily said...

Abigail and I are ending our one year *nursing* relationship... not our entire relationship. LOL Silly me!

Julie said...

I know you've got great advice, but I just thought I'd echo Amanda--lactation consultants are wonderful! I would have stopped breastfeeding about three or four weeks in without them. I had no idea what was going wrong, and they were able to offer a few simple suggestions that made all the difference. Good luck with all of it!

Lucas Hughes said...

You know I have no experience, but I've talked to a few women who have breast fed and they all tell me not to give up, the first 2 weeks - the first few months are the hardest.
I'll be praying for you and your beautiful baby girl tho!
Amanda Hughes

Jessica said...

Emily, Please know that my intent in this post is not to be a downer...I just know that we are both PCOS, and I thought I might be of some help.

I have not been able to exclusively breastfeed either of my sweet babies....even though i wanted to REALLY BAD. AND I tried SO HARD for weeks and actually months! I know what it is like to be so upset when you realize things are not working out the way you wanted them to as far as this goes....I have tried Fenugreek, Goats Rue (another herb) pumping, feeding 12 plus times a day, and even prescription meds proven to increase milk supply.

I learned from a lactation consultant we hired after having JJ, and have since read more literature ....that those who suffer from PCOS are much more likely to suffer from low milk supply. I guess it kind of makes since that both things relate to hormones, etc. I am not saying this is the case for you, but I'm just throwing this out becuase I HAD NO idea that this was the case, and kept thinking something was wrong with me. Like you, I wanted soooooo bad to nurse my babies until they were one year, but I couldn't do it. I just couldn't make enough milk. With all the pumping, I know that I consistently pumped about 16 ounces per day, give or take.

For both of them, after they were not gaining the weight they needed in the first month, I pumped until about 3 months and was able to get them about half-two thirds of what they needed. And then, it just got to be too much and we went entirely to formula. Again, I'm not saying that any of this is true for you, but I felt compelled to share since we both share this thing called PCOS :)

I know you are a great mom!

I also know how hard it is for breastfeeding to not go like you want it to. I'm pretty stubborn myself, and when I have a plan and can't follow through, I feel I have failed. If we are ever blessed with another sweet angel, I will try yet again, but also accept that God has different plans for each of us. Even though my babes have had mostly formula during their first year, they are beautiful, healthy and the loves of my life.

I'm sorry this is so long :)

Brittany said...

Advice - every baby is different, and every mommy is different. Do what's best for you and Bella. :)

I love Emily's advice - Let Go and Let God! It's all in His hands anyway. And know you have tons of support from so many people!!!!!

My experience:
I have had good nursing experiences with both boys. Layton nursed for 14 months and Luke - so far so good. However, unlike your sister, I had some SERIOUS nipple pain with both boys. I had to count to 10 and breath in and out when they would latch on. I almost had mastitis with Layton, but I used cabbage leaves to relive the pain (it works, strangely!) However, besides that, it's been fine.

Pumping is something that I have never done regularly. Layton would not even take a bottle until 10 months, so no advice in this department. But I do know of girls that pump exclusively. And as long as they are getting Mama's milk, I say do whatever works for Ms. Bella!

So, Here are some of the things that helped me:

1. Football hold - it is GREAT for babies learning how to latch on- properly. I never use the cradle method until they are about a month old and have learned to latch.

2. Boppy - it is my best friend. It elevates the baby to "boob" level and it helps them nurse better.

3. Relax - hard to do, but I always TRY to take deep breaths, sing a song or pray. Stress is not your friend while nursing.

4. Drink lots of water - I know you know this, but it is so true. I can tell my milk supply is lower when I haven't drank enough - especially in the beginning. The "Medical Center" mug was my friend!!

5. Lactation Consultant - when I had Layton I met with her and she helped me so much. My problem was I was trying to bring my breast to him, when I should have been bringing his head to my breast.

Breast - stationary
Baby's head - movable (especially in the football hold where your hand is holding the back of her head can be manipulated more)

I don't know if this makes any sense. But it is what made things easier for me.

My niece would sometimes cry at the beginning of a feeding and not nurse for more than 3 minutes. Her lac. const. said that it is normal and sometimes babies would a "meal" and sometimes they want a "snack". She said not to stress when they don't nurse for the entire time :)

Side note:
I noticed a comment about PCOS and problems nursing. I have low progesterone and had to be on suppositories until 12 weeks with Luke. I was afraid that it would hinder my ability to nurse. I asked Dr. Davis is that would effect my milk supply and he said, "No." So, I am hoping the same is true for you. :)

Love you - and if there is anything I can do, please email or call.

I still want to bring you and Bella lunch one day!

Jenny Borders said...

I speak as a woman who exclusively pumped. I also had a ton of trouble nursing Kate in the early days and the stress that I was putting on myself was only making it harder. If you are trying to up your supply, try nursing and pumping afterwards - if you're not already doing so. And I did everything I could to up my supply and there just reached a point where I couldn't make any more milk. I took Fenugreek 3 times a day, ate oatmeal every morning, and even tried the prescription meds, too. (Which I don't recommend - and Dr. F won't eiither - they have some ugly side effects) And what type of pump are you using? I tried 2 kinds and got significantly less milk out of one than the other.

Emily, you are doing great. You are doing what you can. That is the mark of a good mom.

Love you, girl!