I mentioned in a previous Motherhood Monday post that when my little man was born we were having some breast feeding issues. What I really meant was the first night we brought him home from the hospital he was miserable, up every hour crying constantly, trying to feed constantly, it was a hott mess. Flash forward 2 days later when we were at his first doctors appointment and he had dropped 13% of his body weight, anything over 10% is a red flag. So our pediatrician put us on a new schedule: feed him for 20 minutes, then the mister would supplement him with a bottle while I would pump for 15 minutes. It was exhausting doing this round the clock, but we managed to get his weight back up, yay! When asked how pumping was going, I responded it seemed like a lot of effort for just a couple of drops, so our pediatrician recommended we see a lactation consultant. I can't say enough good things about our lactation consultant, Jane, she was super supportive, and so sweet. After coming up with a plan: breast feeding, supplementing, and pumping plus adding fenugreek and blessed thistle supplements (3 pills/3 times a day of each), I began to see an improvement. I went from less than half an ounce to two and a half ounces, currently, when I pump, and the little man is steadily gaining weight. It's still nowhere near enough, as he's up to at least 3 ounces a feed, but I'll take what I can get. Other things she recommended to help with milk production included: keeping hydrated and adding oatmeal to your diet (I opted for the lactation cookies with oatmeal in them).
What I wish I knew: There is such a thing as primary lactation failure (granted it only happens in a small % of nursing mothers) but most importantly it's not your fault. I was racking my brain, blaming myself, getting tested for hypothyroidism etc, fretting over the fact that my boobs didn't grow during or after pregnancy, and just generally freaking out about not being able produce enough for the little man. So when I can across this article, I was so glad I wasn't alone Honestly, I think most doctors/lactation consultants don't mention it, primary lactation failure, because they want you to give it your all. Yes, we get it breast milk is best, but seriously I would have felt a lot better if someone had just mentioned this to me.
Stockpiling: With our "mini babymoon minus the baby" vacation approaching and of course my inevitable return to work, I started stockpiling my milk. This basically consisted of the "one boob" method of breastfeeding and pumping after. Don't forget to leave an inch in your breast milk bags, as milk expands when in freezes. Also if you lay your bags flat while freezing, they'll occupy less space in your freeze or storage container, when upright.
Pumping on vacation (it can be done). What you'll need: a hotel room with a fridge or mini bar; sharpie; milk storage bags; air tight container large enough to transport pumped milk back home (you'll have to check in your bag); alcohol strips; and your pump. -Plan your day accordingly/around your usual feeding schedule
-Plan on boozing right after you pump, to get the max out of your vaca without slipping a little something extra in your little one's food. This is where the alcohol strips come in handy. And remember the rule of thumb for every one drink you need at least 2 hours for it to clear your system. Realize that you might have to pump and dump.
-Don't forget those late night feeds. After the mister and I split a bottle of wine at dinner, I was sloshed (yes I'm a cheap date, and what does one expect after 9 months of not drinking). I went to sleep without setting an alarm. Not to worry, my rock hard, throbbing boobies woke me up. So yes those late night feeds are still going to happen. In other fun baby stuff, here's the little man at 2 months. The age where staring at his face is hours of fun, his pacifier has taken a back seat to his thumb, and tummy time is still a struggle. Happy Monday!