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Joined Oct. 21, 2016 3:48pm

sonata85's Pregnancy

My Due Date: May 1, 2020
I have given birth!
Age: 34 years old

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My Journal - Page 2

Advice needed: breastfeeding anxiety
By sonata85 » Posted 38 weeks ago - 424 views - 18 comments

Hi Ladies—Happy New Year! I’ll be 23 weeks tomorrow, and though baby is hopefully a good 14-17 weeks away from arriving, I’m already worried about breastfeeding. Before I had my 1st daughter, I thought breastfeeding would be the most natural thing ever. Whip out the boob, put one of those cute covers on in public, feed baby, and everyone’s happy. Though my 1st was born at 36 weeks, she was IUGR (3lbs 14 Oz), didn’t have much energy to suck, and I had to be on magnesium sulfate to control my blood pressure. Magnesium sulfate can really dehydrate you, my daughter was in the NICU, so I got all these pamphlets about how much milk I should be able to pump on a specific day after delivery. And I never had enough, but I pumped every 2-3 hours for months while supplementing with formula. My 2nd baby (34-weeker) was more average sized and probably could have breastfed. But for me it was like some sort of performance anxiety kicked in. We shared a nursery in the NICU with this woman who had an oversupply. I’d pump at the same time she would and get maybe 2 ounces while she was filling up 2 5 ounce Medela bottles every. Single. Time. This awful cycle of comparing my lack of milk to her over abundance was really eating at me. Sad thing is her baby boy was less premature than my daughter, but he had blood sugar issues and needed a blood transfusion/ my girl was just tiny and needed to learn how to eat. So at some point, maybe 2 weeks in. I told the lactation consultant that I would be pumping as much as I could, supplementing with formula whenever necessary, and giving my girl a bottle at every feeding. Boobs be damned. She was supportive. In the NICU there’s a push to breastfeed, do skin-to-skin, but there’s also a push for the baby to eat and demands from the drs for the baby to increase the amount she eats every day or 2. With babies who were healthy but small, the push became to get them to eat. Bottles are easily measurable, they’re easier for a baby with latching issues or not a lot of strength. So finally with both girls I ended up pumping and supplementing, always feeding with bottles. And they grew.

But with baby #3 on the way and the completely weird prospect that he might go to term and be 7 pounds has me wondering if I’ll be able to enter that supposedly wonderful, natural world of whipping my boob out and feeding him like it’s nothing.

I guess I’d like to hear some feedback from you ladies. The other part of this is that I have a diagnosed anxiety disorder. My relationship with bottle-feeding is definitely love-hate. I hated that I had to use bottles and felt like my body was garbage for quite awhile. But knowing that my 4 pound baby drank 2, 3, 4 ounces of a bottle made me feel like we were making progress. There was something wonderfully comforting about being able to see exactly how much my girls ate and being able to swaddle them and put them into their bassinet for what I knew would be about 2.5 hours of good sleep for them and possibly a shower for me.

Anyway, I’m wondering what it’s like with a full term baby and also wondering what you ladies who exclusively BF do in terms of pumping—do you need to, or does baby regulate everything? For bottle-feeding moms (whether pumping, formula, or a bit of both), what do you like about it? I’m definitely in the Fed is best camp, but I’m also a perfectionist and will always kind of wish my boobs could be magic milk machines. It’s complicated lol

Comments for this Journal Entry

Comment from dakotagurrl » Posted 37 weeks ago
Wow, glad to see I'm not the only one who writes long replies. Ok, I should elaborate slightly on something I said, becuz Angela definitely touched base on something that I didn't give u an explanation about. I built a freezer supply so I could bottle feed about 2 or 3 days a month. I do this becuz I get migraines that last that long and I take drugs that aren't safe for pregnancy and BF etc etc. What I failed to mention, and I really should've, is that I feed baby frozen milk and once the bottle is done, I pump/HE both sides to empty everything out so my supply isn't affected by lack of removal. I then dump the milk. I just wanted to add that becuz it is very important to make sure u keep ur breasts empty as much as possible, whether ur feeding or pumping. It's about supply and demand. U must demand or ur body will assume u don't need it. Obvs this isn't applicable to every woman, sometimes it's something else limiting supply entirely. But removal is important when bottle feeding.

Comment from Angela18 » Posted 37 weeks ago
I also understand the anxiety thing, you arent alone. Just remember to do the best you can and let go of the anxiety on what is out of your hands. Easier for me to say, I know, but I'm trying to tell myself that all of the time. Just remember that when building a supply while baby is here, supplementing with a bottle will slow down production and I've never had a pump that can get the milk out like a baby and I'd freak at times. Baby to breast gets more out. That's my experience with full term, though. I've breast for years now and pumps just dont work for me. So bizarre. I'm here if you ever need to PM on anything or feel anxious, I totally get it xo

Comment from Angela18 » Posted 37 weeks ago
Just my two cents, pumps hate me and I dont get much milk from them. Takes forever to get let down where as skin to skin is almost immediately. Unfortunately it varies for everyone but I always go by diapers and contentment. I did have to use a nipple guard for first who was a poor sucker because of lethargy but even that can start to diminish milk like the pump unless taking more drastic measures to bump up supply. I just quit with pumps for most part cause I start to lose supply. I feel like the guard did start to help though until he became better at nursing. I just dont have experience using a pump indefinitely although I have at times done what Sandy said and pumped one side and nursed the other. From that point i never really used my storage cause i wanted to build my supply by nursing on demand and supplementing bottle will throw that off so I didn't really use bottles often. Sorry, the other ladies are probably more helpful xo

Comment from sonata85 » Posted 37 weeks ago
Thanks so much for your comments, ericalee. I think I got so down on myself about not having a huge supply that I have up completely sooner than I could have. Glad you’ve made it to 9 months! I’m definitely going to talk to my dr about hand expression before baby gets here. Would be nice to have a little stash and know things are working.

Comment from ericalee2 » Posted 37 weeks ago
and if I could have had it my way I would have totally bought a Willow or Elvie pump to be 100% mobile while pumping. That would have been awesome!!! But not in my budget when I knew this was absolutely our last baby. :D

Comment from ericalee2 » Posted 37 weeks ago
but I pushed on and am now at 9 months and still breastfeeding. It does include supplement with donor milk. I am back at work so I breastfeed around 5a and 7a because I have the most at that time and it works best. Pump at noon, breastfeed him at 6p and then pump at 10p before bed. Right now it is a good balance for me. I think your approach will depend on your lifestyle too. I am home solo with 3 kids on the weekends or weeknights often due to my husband's schedule and sitting down to breastfeed took a lot of time, which was really hard. Pumping was almost easier some days because I could schedule it when it was more convenient for our day and then just feed him a bottle. Or our oldest could feed him a bottle in the car while we were driving. A mix works best for me. I think you just have to find what that mix is for you. If you have a full supply I would definitely wait to see if baby will regulate and don't go pumping crazy or you could run into problems!

Comment from ericalee2 » Posted 37 weeks ago
So I am a low supply mom. Diagnosed with IGT (insufficient glandular tissue) after my first. Not being able to BF my first was extremely stressful and put me in a bad place. I felt broken for not being able to do something that was "supposed to come so naturally", or so I thought. For #2 I was much more aware, saw an MD beforehand, tried supplements and such after... I produced more, but not full supply. I supplemented with donor milk and then formula at the end when I couldn't find donor breastmilk. Now onto #3... I did exactly what Sandy said and expressed prior to birth. I did not get nearly as much as she did (way to go!!) but I saved it in syringes in the freezer and brought it with me to the hospital. I was able to use that to supplement when his blood sugar was not optimal instead of them insisting on formula to supplement. Made me feel better while I waited for my milk to come in. Almost called it quits at 6wks because I felt inadequate again . . .

Comment from sonata85 » Posted 38 weeks ago
Thanks so much for sharing your stories, Sandy. I will talk to my dr about hand expression. I already am getting a little out when I squeeze—have been since about 15 weeks so that’s encouraging. Obviously not going to try it on a schedule until 37 weeks at least. I think the lack of confidence was huge for me. When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I had this fear in the back of my mind that I wouldn’t produce anything. The stress of the NICU both times affected my supply, and I’ve never made it past 36 weeks in a pregnancy or had a newborn over 4 pounds. Going to term might make a difference for production and for having a baby with a strong suck. I guess it’s a see what happens kind of thing. I’m with you on the exclusive pumping thing. It just got to be too much to the point that I wasn’t able to really enjoy feeding time with my baby.

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