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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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Advice needed: breastfeeding anxiety
By sonata85 » Posted 12 weeks ago - 269 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 sonata85 » Posted 9 weeks ago
Thanks for sharing your experience, Crystal. Every baby is different. I’m glad you had a good bonding experience through bf’ing. I never found out what my supply would be like with the baby instead of the pump controlling it, and so many ladies have said the baby gets them to produce way more. So we’ll see. I’m going to give it my best shot but try not to feel too bad if we end up with bottles and some formula again. Yup totally agree fed is best.

Comment from CrystalB88 » Posted 9 weeks ago
Also, when baby is first born, you're probably not going to produce as much until the more you feed, the more you'll make kicks in! It's like I had to train my boobs how much to make before they really kicked in, and newborn baby doesn't need a lot to eat in one sitting.
Also, exclusively breastfeeding my 2nd, he didn't take to a bottle when we finally tried to introduce them so DH and I could go out on a date when he was about 4-5 months old! So I wished sometimes I had given him a bottle a couple times. Breastfeeding is hard and demanding and sometimes painful, but I found the bonding experience worth it... and felt blessed that I was able to breastfeed when some women can't.
There are pros and cons to both, but as long as baby is fed, THAT is best :)

Comment from CrystalB88 » Posted 9 weeks ago
With my first, I exclusively breastfed him until I returned to work from maternity leave. Then, I just couldn't pump enough and Nana would have to supplement with formula. When we got home everyday and on weekends, I only breastfed him and it seemed to be plenty then! It was so confusing! With my 2nd, I was laid off work by then and was a SAHM and exclusively breastfed him with no issues. I sometimes wondered if he was getting enough to eat, so sometimes I would pump just to see how much I would make, and he always seemed satisfied. Both times, I loved the bonding I experienced with them while breastfeeding. But it isn't a walk in the park... at restaurants, if I forgot my cover, I'd go out to my car to breastfeed and I felt so excluded from everything sometimes. But, I loved being able to breastfeed my boys and plan on doing it again. I am also pro FED IS BEST!!!! :) good luck and don't put pressure on yourself! You could always try breastfeeding and go to bottles if worried...

Comment from sonata85 » Posted 10 weeks 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 11 weeks 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 11 weeks 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 11 weeks 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 11 weeks 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.

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