Breastfeeding Bumps (Brien's Eyes Might Burn ;)) | Giftie Etcetera: Breastfeeding Bumps (Brien's Eyes Might Burn ;))

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Breastfeeding Bumps (Brien's Eyes Might Burn ;))

Breastfeeding is going much better than I ever expected. Much, much better. Still, it has it's problems and I am having some issues.

The hospital staff was TERRIFIC about supporting breastfeeding. I'd heard so many people talk about how breastfeeding is discouraged in the hospital, but I saw just the opposite. Even when I struggled, every single person encouraged breastfeeding, no matter what. The nurses were all willing to help. They would wake me to pump. I gave birth at almost 10 p.m., my baby (expected in my room all night) was moved to the NICU at 2 a.m., and by 9 a.m., thye had me pumping every three hours. I saw lactation consultants every single day I was in the hospital. The only free formula I received was at checkout and it was a laughable amount compared to the huge bag of pumped breastmilk I took home. I was asked if I wanted it before receiving it. It was packed separately. The nurse took it out of the bag it came from and showed me how the bag was great for keeping breastmilk cool. I was amazed at the support.

Of course, at first, my baby was very jaundiced and on IV fluids because of a bowel issue, so he received formula via his nose or nothing at all. But the formula was poured into the drops of colostrum I had pumped, so that he would get that. One nurse, one time, accidently made a formula bottle. When I pointed it out, she looked horrified, apologized, immediately poured out the formula, and put up a bigger sign on the crib saying breastmilk only, so that no one would repeat her mistake. You could tell it really was an innocent mistake, which was understandable considering that Loki had had formula at first because of his problems, then been off all food when my milk came in. The formula was already in his crib, specifically because of his earlier problems. I was encouraged to use kangaroo care, too, so Loki would be used to me.

Once Loki held down 3 small breastmilk bottles, he was able to breastfeed exclusively. Because he was still struggling with jaundice and because the usual breastfeeding solution of feeding more often was just not possible (because mommy was suffering side-effects of delivery and had to drive in for an hour each time to feed him), we opted to supplement half his feedings with breastmilk bottles. Our little buglet had no problem going back and forth between bottle and breast. It was our decision, though. The doctors were clear that I could breastfeed 24/7, on demand if I wanted. What mattered to them was two-fold: use only breastmilk and use a ton.

But I have two major problems. One is overproduction. Once, Loki took both breasts. It was awesome. I didn't have to pump. I fed him and went to sleep. Awe-some. But, mostly, he takes only one breast. Since my production is so high, I make about 5-6 ounces (for a baby who drinks 1-2 ounces). Whatever breast he doesn't feed in gets sore, inflammed, and paiinful. Therefore, the lactation consultants and the doctors (who consulted together on this) have decided I must pump any undrained breasts at least every three hours. Of course, this increases production! But otherwise, I get infections, so that's how it has to be until he can feed from both breasts.

The other problem is that, despite phototherapy, Loki is still jaundiced. We even started to breastfeed and then offer a small breastmilk bottle - and to use natural sunlight - but to no avail. We've been to the hospital twice since getting discharged for testing. Levels are going up and are almost at 20, which means a phototherapy bed at home (if one is available) or the NICU again (since they run out of phototherapy lights). My pediatrician is checking levels again tomorrow and Loki is getting his checkup early. The pediatrician asked if we would be willing to use formula for 24 hours and just pump in the meantime. They think I have breastmilk jaundice. If so, it should go away after 24 hours of formula, and then I can breastfeed again regularly. If, however, he has breastfeeding jaundice instead of breastmilk jaundice, we'll have to breastfeed more than we are doing. Either one of thise, though, is not serious. The more serious problem would be if the jaundice is not related to breastfeeding at all. Given that he was 37 weeks and had a conehead (even though he eventually came out via c-section), that is possible, though not probable. It's also more likely to cause problems than breast-related jaundice. If Lochlan was having issues with going from bottle to breast, I would have said no, but he does fine, so I'm giving them 24 hours. I have noticed that he throws up every formula bottle. Gre-ate. I don't plan to breastfeed for a full year, so eventually (when my freezer finally runs out), he'll need to tolerate formula. Hopefully, he'll outgrow that problem.

I hate going in the other room to pump when people are visiting, but I can't pump (gross, yuck, hate it!) in front of others, even fully covered up.

And while I'm complaining, Loki has only latched on once without a nipple shield. Not a huge deal, but something else to carry around.

In none breastfeeding news, I'm having nosebleeds, my incision and abs are killing me, my feet and ankles are double their usual size, my blood pressure is creeping up, my pulse is creeping down, and my massive headache (which started last night) will not go away, even with the 600 mg motrin I am taking for the surgical pain. I might move my doctor's appointment up to tomorrow. I'm getting nervous that I'm having the same problem with my heart as last time.



Anonymous said...

I am worried about you, Kristy. Please, please, please let me know how I can best help you. I am available for whatever you need and love to do it! - Doris.

Frog said...

I wish I were closer so I could help more too!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristy,

I am also worried about you. Unfortunately, the standard operating procedure for all lactation support these days centers around pumping. Pumping has its place, but is done longer and more often than is truly necessary.

I have a live, call-in radio show Tuesdays at 11 AM EST. "The Breastfeeding Salon Show". You can find me through my page on my website

Advice that is generic is never truly helpful. As a former NICU nurse and lactation consultant for more than 22 years, I am distressed by your post.

My entire practice centers around making each mom become empowered around their personal experience of breastfeeding. You need to have advice tailored to your immediate issues and concerns.

You can reach me in a variety of ways. I know you are not alone and your issues would benefit many moms if you were to call into the show.

Derwinicus said...

I'm so glad that breastfeeding is going better than you expected, but I'm sorry that there are still some bumps in the road. I'm hoping that things will get easier in the next few days. Thank goodness you're home with your little bundle of joy and can enjoy him there with Alan and Ander.