Follow up on Breastfeeding II (5w5d)

The struggle continues…

My supply continues to dwindle. The herbal supplements don’t seem to help (neither the Mother’s Milk Plus nor the Fenugreek seeds) although I don’t know that I’m taking enough of the Fenugreek seeds because I don’t think I smell like maple syrup.

I’m averaging less and less with the pumping every day. Sometimes I’ll get over an ounce (30ml) combined, but like this morning, I got just over 10ml combined. That is SO frustrating, let me tell you. That’s a lot of time being tied to that pump for so little return. I’m working to increase the number of times I’m pumping though, in the hopes that I can bounce back.

Kieran is basically refusing the breast all the time now. Having to give him thickened feedings because of his acid reflux has necessitated using an even more open bottle nipple, which requires even less effort than a regular bottle nipple for Mr. Lazy Nurser. We give him the occasional un-thickened bottle with the tightest nipple we have just to remind Kieran what it should be like. We can tell that frustrates him. So when he’s offered the breast (even when I’m nearly engorged, so I know he could get a fair feeding outta me) he just fusses and squirms and cries and won’t nurse. We’ve tried giving him a half feeding with a bottle and then offering the breast when he’s not ‘starving’ – but Kieran is convinced that he’s starving until he’s full.

It’s disappointing on several levels.

  • I was SO INCREDIBLY looking forward to nursing Kieran. The bonding, the special time, the perfect nutrition that only I could provide, the easy-clean-up diapers.
  • The Cost. Even using some of the most inexpensive formula we can find (currently Target’s house brand “up & up” Partially Broken Down version) is gonna add around $60-75 a month to our budget that already doesn’t quite cover everything. And as he grows, that figure will only increase. (I can’t imagine if we had to stay on one of the name brands. The Target stuff runs ~$.46/oz whereas the cheapest you’ll find Simalac is ~$.89/oz at Costco or Amazon.)
  • Formula diapers are not as pleasant as BF diapers were. Just sayin’.

On the bright side though, Kieran is gaining weight like a champ. He’s still right at the very bottom of the growth percentage charts – but that mostly has to do with the fact that he was 3 weeks early and such a tiny peanut to start with. ~8lb is teeny for a nearly 6 week old baby. But then again, ~8lb for a nearly three week old baby is still small too. He’s gaining ~1oz a day, which is a very healthy growth rate – so his pediatrician is happy with that.

Truth be told, we’re a little concerned about him gaining weight too fast with the thickened formula – but we’re carefully watching Kieran’s signals and feeding him when he actually tells us he’s hungry, feeding him a set amount (currently 3oz + 1T of oatmeal cereal) and waiting to see if he asks for more 10 minutes later. Sometimes he does (and gets another 1-1.5oz + cereal) and sometimes he doesn’t. The oatmeal cereal added to his formula adds the nutrition/calories equivalent to another ounce of formula. So he’s getting what he needs to grow at the rate that works for him.

I’m bummed that Exclusive breast feeding hasn’t worked out. (Not devastated though, which is a VAST improvement over my mental status for the first 2-3 weeks of this adventure.) But I’ll keep trying with the pump, which we have rented through September and see how it goes. I’m comforted by knowing that any breastmilk Kieran gets is better than none, but that regardless he’s growing well and thriving.

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