My Journey as a Mother: Breastfeeding (Part Three)

If you’ve read my other posts about breastfeeding my kids (here and here) you’ll know that breastfeeding has looked different – with varying levels of difficulty – each time. My youngest sweetie, Davis, is three weeks old now, and I can honestly say it’s been another less-than-I-hoped-for sort of journey so far. 

 When D was born, I already had enough experience to know that I needed a nipple shield, so I was armed with it in the delivery room for the first time he nursed. During our hospital stay, he nursed fairly well, despite being pretty sleepy and exhausted – it’s work to be born!

When we got home, he was increasingly difficult to wake up and keep awake to eat well. Therefore, he wasn’t getting enough each time, but would wake often to eat. It wasn’t exactly cluster feeding; it was more that I couldn’t get him to stay awake through a feeding. This was, looking back on it from my spot at three weeks, already making my supply decrease even before he was a week old.

When we went to the pediatrician for his two-week check up, I knew what was going to happen as soon as he got on the scale. He was still 5oz short of his birth weight, and I could see the rest of the visit playing out in my mind. My eyes welled up with tears of fear and guilt before we made it back to our exam room. How could I not be giving my child what he needed? Why was it that my body couldn’t manage to nourish my babies after it had done so well for nine months?

At his two week check up, he was still not back up to his birth weight, and so my pediatrician suggested supplementing with a little formula (or expressed breast milk, of which I had little) after every feeding. She gave me some samples – some ready-to-use and some cans of powdered – so that I wouldn’t have to buy any if I didn’t end up needing it for very long. When we got home that afternoon, we tried our first bottle with a couple of ounces of formula. He was very wary of it, and took some convincing to start eating it. He didn’t have much before we stopped for a burp, and when he sat up straight, he immediately puked up most of what he’d eaten. You can imagine how excited I was for that to happen. So we cleaned him (and everything else) up, and I mixed in a little breast milk with the rest of the formula, thinking it might improve the taste and also be easier on his stomach. He took it a little more readily, but still threw up the majority of what he’d taken.

You can imagine I was getting a little worried now. If he can’t keep formula down, and my milk supply is low, how am I gonna beef the kid up? Well, we switched the brand of formula and started off with very little formula in the breast milk, and he’s gotten more and more used to it. He still nurses a little, and it’s still not terribly efficient, but I think it’s helping keep my supply from dropping more than it might if I was exclusively pumping. But he’s gaining! And I’m taking my fenugreek (gross, by the way), drinking TONS of water, and eating my oats. It’s work, especially with a couple more little ones, but I’m doing everything I can to help him be healthy and growing. I don’t know how long I can keep up the pumping (honestly, it’s tough to find time to sit down and not have to get up while I’m doing it) but my goal is to at least get him to six weeks with having mostly breast milk with only a little bit of formula supplement. It’s what’s working for us right now, and when it doesn’t work anymore, we will change it. You can only do what works, right? Whatever is the best thing you can manage is what you do.

7 thoughts on “My Journey as a Mother: Breastfeeding (Part Three)”

  1. What is it with the fenugreek that is so gross?!? I’m right there with you. I never have trouble taking pills but the fenugreek sits in my throat for hours! Milkin’ Cookies lactation cookies are delicious and I swear they worked for me. You order them online and they ship the same day they bake them. Oatmeal and chocolate chip. I love any excuse to eat a cookie…or two. 🙂 D is adorable by the way!

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  2. Oh most definitely! You have to do what works for you. With Avery I wasn’t able to breastfeed due to chemo. She was on a very high calorie formula because she was so early but she spit-up constantly. I argued with just about everyone including her pediatrician about switching. When we switched to a new formula she spit-up less and ate more. It was wonderful 🙂

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  3. Sounds so much like our breastfeeding experience in the beginning! Praying that it gets easier quickly for you and that sweet boy. I know you’re not asking for advice, so feel free to ignore this. However, I found this resource recently and really wished I had known about it when I was struggling. I had an awesome lactation consultant but she insisted on cross-cradle and football positions, which I always felt my baby resisting. This approach seems like good common sense to me, so I hope it helps! 🙂

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  4. Oh dear, if I knew what I know now about breastfeeding….. I wish I wouldn’t have been so afraid of formula especially in those early days. I was sick, C was constantly feeding and I was destructing. Yes, I’m glad I made it through (and now am having to face the prospect of weaning since I’m going back to work, and pumping isn’t sustainable for me), but I didn’t believe the nurse (and then my husband when he repeated what she said) when she said: “a little bit of formula won’t hurt”. Sometimes what’s best for our children is to do what is best for their mother!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! It’s been interesting for me to balance being the best mama to my newborn, and the best mama of three kids. Looks a little different than my last two experiences with newborns haha.


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