I’m Lactating, Now What?

Peanut was born May 7th.  Healthy, beautiful, and by C- Section (not planned).  She’s my fifth child, to say I feel confident breastfeeding is an understatement.  My older daughter nursed for two years, sure she was seven at this time, but it’s like riding a bike, right?

In the hospital before we left I talked with an LC to make sure everything looked good.  She latched fairly well, I had good positioning, I knew how to take it from there.  A couple of days later she started getting pretty yellow. So I took her to her pediatrician even though I know it’s common for breast-fed babies to get jaundice, especially since my milk was just starting to come in.  The pediatrician was concerned so we went to the ER so they could test her blood to see where she’s at.  I’m not going to tell you how many times over the next several days they had to draw blood, let’s just say it was traumatic for her and me and not something I ever want to experience again.  Our first ER couldn’t treat her.  They said she needed to be under the lights for a couple of hours and sent us to the children’s ER.  There they explained to me that it could take a week or more as they were admitting her to the hospital.

But I’m breastfeeding.  “Oh” they explained, “You can stay here with her and nurse her whenever you’d like.”

That would totally work if I wasn’t a single mom of 5 children who were all in school, 3 of which we lived outside that school’s district so I had to drop them off and pick them up…

Did I mention the hospital isn’t close to my home at all?…

Ok, ok, I can do this.  It’s very important to me to nurse my baby so I’ll go home in the morning to get my kids ready, take them to school, stay all day with Peanut and nurse her, go back when my kids get out of school, help them with their homework, get them settled with dinner, get them ready for bed, and then go back to spend the night in the hospital.  My oldest was 15, he has watched the kids before.  This will work.  The hospital had a pump I could use so she could get breast milk from a bottle while I was gone.  It would only be a couple feedings a day…

My first pumping only yielded less than half an ounce after twenty minutes of pumping on both sides.  I wasn’t surprised.  I have never successfully pumped with any of my kids.

I was able to see an Lactation Consultant who said that Peanut was a lazy sucker.  She just wasn’t being aggressive enough with it to really stimulate the milk to flow.

This is about the time that the nurses started pushing me to supplement with formula.  I was so hesitant but I knew it would help clear up her jaundice quicker and I had four other children who needed me home and a newborn who needed me at the hospital.  I needed this to be over and chose to nurse first and then give her some formula.

Yes, I understood that this would make it harder for me to keep my supply up.  It’s not an ideal decision but it was the one I made and I don’t regret it.

Three crazy, sleep deprived, emotional roller coaster days later I was able to leave the hospital with her. (It might have been 5 days, I forget now)

It took a while longer to realize that the pain meds I was on from my C-Section were also sabotaging our nursing success (and causing my feet to swell bigger than they’ve ever been!).  In the three weeks I was home before I was pain-free enough to go back to work (financially I couldn’t stay home) I wasn’t able to build my supply to match her demand.  Since we’ve come home from her having jaundice she’s had two to three bottles.  Originally it was 2 ounce bottles but had to bump up to four-ounce bottles around two months.

Why all this back story?  I’m so over formula.  I’m done with not producing enough milk to keep her satisfied.  I am ready to be successful at solely breast-feeding.

Today starts my journey on so many levels.  I’ve been working hard at being healthy and shrinking my body back down (not very successful at the shrinking part).  In addition to being healthy I am going to be successful at breastfeeding my daughter.  Lastly, I’m working towards building my coaching career big enough that I can stay home with my children.

Three big goals!  I’m excited!  I hope to hear from you about your journey too!

To be healthier and to increase lactation I’ve started with adding Ovaltine to my Shakeology, consuming more oats, and drinking Mother’s Milk Tea.

lactation foods

nursing hi mom

Happily on our way to the journey of a life time!