Saturday, February 18, 2012

Breastfeeding Story

I've spoke on here before about my PCOS issues.  I still feel there is an underlying issue causing PCOS that I haven't addressed but as my doctor is not interested in investigating this - its hard to prove that and treat it properly....but that's not the point here.  Very possibly thyroid as taking kelp seems to be helping a lot.   I have learned a lot about BFing and PCOS since having Carlee, and am saddened that with the right help we could have been more successful - but also feel encouraged that I am now more educated to work towards a better BFing relationship with out future children.   Well, anyways - this is a bit of my story. 

I worked my very hard to ensure I was able to get pregnant (lost weight, better diet, stabilizing hormones) and then have a very healthy weight and diet throughout my pregnancy.  I had very little PG symptoms which I thought was great, including no breast tenderness and little growth.   After asking my midwife if the PCOS was reason for any further concern, and being told no - I went into my pregnancy assuming I would have the normal problems of learning to latch, etc...but fully  prepared to BF my daughter for as long as we both felt beneficial. 

My daughter was born, a pretty easy labour and delivery - no drugs and afterwards I didn't even really feel tired....maybe that was the adrenalin:)  Carlee latched on like a pro - the midwife and nurses were all impressed and left us feeling certain everything would go great.  After 2 days she was down to 7lb 2oz, 4 days 7 lb 4 oz, 6 days 7 lb 4 oz - and we were absolutely shocked.  Thank goodness my mom was with me because I was inconsolable.   I went home and we thought maybe we weren't giving her enough time to finish eating...we spent two days just feeding her like mad, with no success.   

My midwife advised I go on Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek and start pumping every two hours, following each feed and supplementing her in between,  I did not know about HM4HB at the time so she got formula.  That killed me a little.  I couldn't even comprehend what was happening.  After 2 weeks of this and no noticeable difference we moved on to domperidone, again with no results.  I finally started my own research, knowing there had to be more to this - the only known issue is my PCOS and a quick google search brought up a multitude of information that this was most likely the culprit.   At that point I knew that a galactologue would not give me the tissue that did not grow so I quit the pumping and DOM, which I found out later was what was behind me gaining 20 lbs in 3 weeks.   I didn't know where to turn - my midwife did not offer any other alternatives or provide me with a reference for someone who would...I felt like I was stuck with having to supplement her and had no support to tell me otherwise.  With my mom having gone home, and no local family, - I felt very alone.  We moved on to enjoying each other finally. 

I was blessed though - my daughter kept up our breastfeeding relationship til 8 months so I knew she was at least getting some BM every day, and when she quit I found local donors so she had milk at least on a semi regular basis.  At that point I still felt like a failure and had immense guilt for the formula that I had to give to Carlee.   But God knows what He is doing - He gave me the desire to start a business with pre and postnatal women, leading me to network with local women who also specialize in this area.  What a surprising twist.   I met so many women who taught me to forgive myself and to be proud of the effort I did make in the situation I was put in.  And these women led to me to a huge online network of women dealing with the same issues, and a wealth of information.  

I still don't know the root of my issues but work with my naturopath to heal my body as much as possible, and now understand that I was one of a very small percentage that has not a low milk issue but a low tissue issue - most likely my progesterone levels did not increase as they should in pregnancy to stimulate an increase in mammary tissue.  I now have a list of things I can do in pregnancy and after birth to encourage growth and alternatives to domperidone with less side effects (the last thing a post natal woman wants is to take a drug that will cause crazy weight gain!!)   Maybe it won't work with our future children, maybe I'll still have to deal with uneducated women who believe 'anyone can BF'(mostly true, but not completely!) and judge me and the bottle feeding my baby, but I choose to think of the women I can now help and the support I can now be to other women based on my experiences, and finally to enjoy my children knowing I'm doing the best I can possibly do in the situation.  And I'll be happy with that:) 

And my plan for the next baby is as follows:
Tea of goat's rue/alfalfa/nettle/red raspberry daily during and after pregnancy
Regularly take: fish oil, B Complex, Kelp
Placenta Encapsulation after birth
Progesterone cream up until delivery starting as soon as pregnancy is known
Leptaden pills after birth

Thanks for listening to my Bfing rant!  Its healing to put pen to paper of our struggle and success of breastfeeding:) 

All you Canadians, have a great Family day!   I'll spend it thinking of way to make Carlee's birthday very fun as she turns the big 1 on Thursday! We can't wait:) 

PS - check out for some great breastfeeding stories of igt and a whole lot more!


Mandi@TidbitsfromtheTremaynes said...

So, the BF topic might be thee most sensitive of topics for me (I can think of maybe one other) -- so I'll keep it brief,

but I was one of those women (BEFORE I had children) who judged moms who chose not to BF. I thought everyone could do it and it was easy.

I think karma bit me in the A on that one, because this has been my own personal hell as a mother. Super, duper hard, lots of guilt, I'm very sensitive about it, etc. None of it was easy for me. My kids are largely bottlefed, and I had to work that guilt feeling out for myself.

I love the crap out of my kids, but I also wanted my kids to eat and not starve and I didn't want to be screaming every time the latched on, etc. I have stories, girl. ;) Now I don't judge any mom for their decisions, period. At least I hope I don't. ;)

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