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Joined Oct. 21, 2016 3:48pm

sonata85's Pregnancy

My Due Date: May 1, 2020
I am 25 weeks and 0 days pregnant » 105 days to go
Age: 34 years old

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Advice needed: breastfeeding anxiety
By sonata85 » Posted 2 weeks ago - 124 views - 15 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 sonata85 » Posted 4 days ago
Thanjs for sharing your story, AGamersWife. Surgery so early on must have been very stressful. Both my girls had NG tubes for several weeks. It sounds like you did all you could to pump and provide the breastmilk. From my experience and that of others with stressful deliveries, health scares, and NICU stays it seems like all of that affects supply. I will probably be doing breastfeeding and formula too.

Comment from AGamersWife27 » Posted 6 days ago
My first I was like breastfeeding all the way. Born at 40.5 and he was 5lbs 12lbs He didn't latch they took him to the NICU and did so much test and that was when they fold out he had a heart defect, the I didn't know my whole pregnancy about his defect. That was at 3 days old when they found out. He wasn't feeding formula or breast milk so they put in a feeding tube so I pumped and then he need heart surgery 7 days old he had surgery. transferred an hour away I still traveled pumping and it was just so stressful I continued to pump then at like 6 weeks of age I wasn't able to breastfeed him as my milk supply wasn't enough. Now I'm 22 weeks with another son and I'm leaning toward formula feeding along with Breastfeeding

Comment from sonata85 » Posted 1 week ago
Thanks, calvingirl! Doing the best we can is all we can do—and being happy means so much too. My MIL and sisters in law all exclusively BF’ed until their kids were at least 18 months. They knew I had supply issues and trouble feeding due to having preemies, but one SIL always loved rubbing it in whenever we visited that formula never touched her kids lips. Like who cares and why rub that in someone’s face?? Ugh. Anyway, since I do have some colostrum, I hand-expressed 3mls this morning and put it in a syringe I had from the last NICU stay. Maybe this tiny freezer stash will help. No cramps or contractions so will double-check with OB this week but it felt like a step in the right direction. Can’t believe your LO is 13 months already!!

Comment from calvingirl » Posted 1 week ago
First off, I totally understand the anxiety. It's hard. Don't let anyone tell you it's not - it's hard but it's worth it. Now that Phoebe is 13months old and we're still bfing, I'm glad I kept with it. She's so healthy and the bond of nursing is invaluable. I am low supply too, and I'd have been jealous of your 2ozs. I pump at noon and at 4pm at work and get about 1.5ozs each time. This makes ONE bottle for daycare for the next day. She loves it, so I keep at it. Rest of the time, we supplement with formula. At home, we nurse and only if she's acting really hungry, I'll give her a formula bottle to fill her stomach. We've gotten a good mix down and although I come from a HUGE bf'ing family with a mom who was a La Leche League Leader, and 4 sisters who exclusively bf'd all their kids, I had to find peace that I was feeding her the best I could. You'll find your way. Whipping out a boob, whether it's filled with milk or just has a little, is awesome and your baby will love

Comment from sonata85 » Posted 1 week ago
Thanks, Angela and Sandy. I really appreciate the detailed responses. For me I never really got to see how my supply would be with the baby doing all the work. My girls went straight to the NICU, and I didn’t even get to try to have them latch until the day after they were born. It was just me and the pump, plus they would only tolerate about 5-10 ml at each feeding for at least a week. The most either of them would take from the breast in the NICU was 20ml. Not even an ounce. It was a cause for celebration then, but Dr Browns preemie bottles were basically our ticket out of the NICU. That’s great advice to express everything even when baby takes a bottle of stored milk. We’ll see how this little guy does—hopefully full term and hopefully able to stay in the hospital room with me.

Comment from dakotagurrl » Posted 1 week 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 1 week 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 1 week 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

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