How can I be a good mom if I can’t even make enough milk for my baby? I’m failing already and we are just getting started! (commence tears pouring down my face).
This is how I felt that first week home from the hospital, even longer I’m sure, but those first two weeks really stand out in my mind. But I was so determined to make this happen.
To start with, my milk didn’t come in for 5-6 days. We had to go back to the doctor every day or every other because they wanted to keep checking her weight. The doctor said, well, for now, give her some formula after she nurses. WHAT????? In case you haven’t heard doc….that’s not part of our plan! I was so devastated!!! I felt like the world was falling apart. She said, nurse her, pump, feed her what you get, then offer her formula. How exhausting…she is already nursing all the time, because that’s what new babies do…right?
She seemed to be nursing fine, and she would nurse herself right to sleep. The doctor said, don’t let her nurse more than x amount of minutes (I forget now), she will end up burning more calories than she is eating. Really? So we tried following her advice. As soon as I unlatched her, she would scream. After all, I was just her pacifier and she was trying to sleep!
So, we nursed. I laid down the screaming baby and pumped….and pumped ……and pumped. I was lucky to get 2 full ounces after at least 10 minutes of pumping. This can’t be right. But I did it anyway and gave it to her. Sometimes she would take it, sometimes not. Then I’d offer her formula, she almost always turned it down. So we started pumping (Okay, I started pumping) after every time I fed her. And by the end of the day, I might have 2 ounces to put in the fridge. Which I gave to her before bed at night…so we could do it all over again the next day.
I found help, advice and support at our local La Leche League. I’m so glad I did, I don’t think I could have handled this on my own. Within a few months, she wasn’t even taking the breastmilk I had in the fridge / freezer anymore. I actually got to store up a tiny bit. It never lasted long, but it was nice to once in awhile open the freezer and see some milk.
I got tired of people saying things like, Oh, really, I had a freezer full in a week. Gee…after listening to me and hearing me cry, that’s really helpful! Get out of my house!
We made it through however, but I never left her because she ate very often….like every hour, or maybe two. Now, she’s a very happy, active 17 month old who still likes to nurse even though I have nothing for her right now because of the pregnancy. She doesn’t care much, just likes the comfort.
To every other mom out there struggling…stay strong! Get the support you need and deserve.
Did you have low milk supply? Want to link up and share your story?