August 10, 2011

on breastfeeding


when i was pregnant with cayden, i was looking forward to breastfeeding him. i bought the pump, knowing i would need it when i went back to work. i read all sorts of books and asked questions on message boards. i felt like i was as prepared as i could be. cayden arrived and latched on perfectly. when we left the hospital, he was down some weight... just as every newborn is. the bad news came two days later when we went in for a weight check at the pediatrician's office. his weight had dropped even lower and when the words "supplement with formula" were uttered, i was devastated. i cried the whole way home.

the doctor we saw suggested pumping just to try and get my supply up. so i did. anything to be able to enjoy that time with my little guy. i'd pump for half an hour and come up with one ounce of milk – that's only half an ounce per breast. after two weeks, and that was still all i was getting, we moved on to formula. cayden was healthy, and in the end, that's all that mattered to us.

so, while pregnant with sawyer, my anxiety about breastfeeding was slightly raised i suppose. people would ask if we were going to breastfeed. and i'd say, "yes!" with my fingers crossed, hoping for luck in that department this time 'round. i'd kept my pump from my days with cayden. after all, it was practically brand new.

sawyer arrived and again, latched on easily. then the second day in the hospital, he was a sleepyhead. wouldn't wake up for anything. and went five hours without nursing. the nurse we had that day "encouraged" us to try formula. and by encouraged, i mean she pretty much told us that if we didn't get him to eat and soon, that she'd have to call in the pediatrician. we got sawyer awake enough and he choked (quite literally) down some formula. enough for the nurse to be satisfied at least. about thirty minutes later, the lactation consultant came back in and asked how things were going. we told her about the formula situation and you could see that even she was irritated. she told me that sawyer would've most likely been fine and to still try to nurse him. and yay! he nursed perfectly at his next feeding.

anyway, sawyer dropped the normal amount of weight while in the hospital, but we still had to go for the two-day check for his bilirubin levels. while there, they weighed him and he'd dropped even more weight. and i saw our problems starting all over again. born at 8 pounds, 12 ounces, he weighed 7 pounds, 14 ounces at that check-up. almost a full pound lost. the pediatrician we saw that day (not ours, it was a sunday so our regular guy wasn't there), encouraged me to keep trying with the breastfeeding. that my milk was probably still trying to establish itself. no mention of formula at all.

and i. was. relieved.

at sawyer's two-week check-up, he was back up to 8 pounds, 4 ounces. which wasn't exactly where he should be; he was supposed to be back up to birth weight. after talking things over with our pediatrician (and formula still not mentioned), he just wanted us to keep an eye on his weight over the next week or so and make sure that sawyer was putting weight on.

i kept an eye on it (and am still weighing him every few days). and guess what? he currently weighs around 11.5 pounds and is gaining every day! and by the grace of god, it's all been through breastfeeding! i mean, my body has been able to work properly this time and i've been able to feed him only breast milk (save for that one time in the hospital; grr!) for the last six weeks. i'm so, so, so happy that i'm able to experience this with one of my children. my first goal is to hopefully make it until at least six months. i go back to work in two weeks, so i'm sure pumping every day will get old fast... but i'm just so proud and excited. and i just want other mamas to know that if it didn't work the first time for you guys, it CAN work the next time!

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