Wednesday, April 25, 2012

One day at a time

**Just a little warning, this will probably be a little TMI for some of you who really don't want to hear about breastfeeding....  Just warning ya **

So I have reached the hardest part of motherhood thus far, at least for me. Those of you know who have been following by blog for a while, I don't breast feed in the traditional sense. I pump. Exclusively pump, and I have made it 7 months without ever having to supplement, until a few days ago that is.

I don't know what exactly when it started but over the last month or so my milk supply has taken a major hit. I  have tried all the normal ways to increase it, extra pumping sessions, plenty of sleep, hydration, herbal supplements. Everything, yet nothing has worked. I've talked to friends, family, and even the LC's at work for advice, yet nothing is helping. 

 I wasn't having a problem keeping up, I just wasn't producing extra to put away for a later date. Taking it day by day seemed to be working but its getting to the point where even that is a struggle.

 Now most people say that when you introduce solids then the baby will naturally start to take less over time. Well that's not the case here. He is taking just as much if not more then he was 3 months ago, even though we give him more solids, he still wants his full bottle of milk. That's fine, I am all for giving him what he needs other then I can't. 

So yeah bye bye supply. Then to top it off I am a complete klutz who has dropped 4  bottles this week thus losing basically a days worth of milk. I had Tim come up to where I work the other day to pick some up so he would have it for when he was at home and literally as I was handing him the bottle it just slide right out of my hands and like a slow motion movie we both reached out fumbling to grab it with no success. Right on to the floor, lid brakes open ( I have a big vent about Medela one of these days) and milk everywhere. At which point I start sobbing like my dog just died. 

Whoever coined the phrase " No crying over spilled milk" obivously wasn't a pumping mother.

So now what?
I literally was handing Tim the last remaining milk I had at the time. Its not like he could run Ethan up to work and I could just nurse him really quickly, no that's it we were officially on empty. So what choice did we have but to try and supplement with formula.

Now we have always kept a back up of formula in our pantry, just in case. So Tim went home, fixed a bottle, and my head strong little boy REFUSED TO DRINK!  Now part of me is proud he stuck to his guns and wanted the real stuff, it was encouraging to me that I had been doing a good job. But at the same time my kiddo was hungry, like screaming his little head off, all the solids in the world wouldn't curb his appetite hungry. Luckily it was a slow day at work so I had time to make more and Tim came to pick it up. But what if I hadn't? 

Of course now we are in a predicament and I knew I needed to call someone to help. I had spoke to the LC at work who suggested Reglan ( a prescription nausea med that has been shown to help a mothers milk supply). Only catch is its a prescription, thus meaning a needed a doc to give me the ok. 

So I did the first time that came to mind. ( even nurses don't have a clue some times, trust me) I called my OBGYN. Why? Well she is the "boob" doctor. I figured this is totally her department. Short version I was basically told, nope, not her problem ( actually her partner told me that.) and I would have to get Ethans pediactician to help, oh and to " just give him formula" ( despite having told her that he won't take it!!)

Ok, so I call the pediatrician, figuring maybe they can help. Of course this is Ethans doctor, not mine, so its not like they can write me a prescription or anything. So I call, leave a message and about 20 minutes later get a phone call back from one of the nurses. I told her the entire story, and despite having said numerous times that I EP she kept saying things like " make sure when you nurse you switch breast when your done" try hold him a different way when your nursing", just keep trying to nurse" Seriously! I mean come on was she even listening to what I had to say. I can't nurse, we tried for months with no success, if he didn't get it then, I definitely don't think he will figure it out now. 

Ok fine, nobody wants to help, I will call my PCP in a last ditch effort to get help. Of course my PCP is on vacation, so I spoke to someone else in the practice and received some shocking ( and my opinion utterly useless advice). " Keep trying the formula, if he gets hungry enough he will eat, even if it takes a few days ( yes I'm being serious). Besides babies don't need breast milk after 3 months, they get all the nutrients they will ever get in the first 3, so after that its pointless anyway"  Oh yes, this is what an actual doctor told me. 

No I don't actually plan on listening to this quack, however he was able to at least give me the name of a LC that may be able to help " Even though its not really worth it at this point". Thanks for the encouragement doc.

Its heartbreaking wondering if my child will have enough milk to last from one day to the next ( and fyi, we have tried numerous other types of formula, all of which are a no go) Luckily I have been off for a few days which makes things so much easier and we will just have to keep taking it one day at a time.


  1. Whew! I hope you get answers soon. Have your tried I'm not sure if it helps but I thought I'd give the suggestion. I can't believe doctors are so insensitive to breastfeeding (or EP) moms. You're better than me cause I would have made that nurse stop talking and listen to my problem and if she coudln't I needed to speak with someone else. I just can't tolerate poor customer service.

  2. I didn't end up breastfeeding, but mine didn't significantly down his milk intake until about a month ago when we started taking bottles away (mine's 1 year old now). So the adding solids is such a lie I think. lol. Now he eats a lot more and gets milk 3 times a day. Also, I noticed when I changed him from baby food to full on finger foods only is when he started to lower his milk intake.

    Girl, it's not the end of the world if you dry up and have to give him formula. At least he's being fed.

    I just can't believe that no doctor would help you out. That's BS. Anyway, I think there's an herb others tried, but you said it didn't help. I've heard a lot of people at work used fenugreek. Not sure if you tried that.

    Otherwise I'd call formula companies and try to get samples. I believe parents choice you can get online but it takes a while to come in. I have a full can of Gerber Good Start Gentle I could send to you that's good till May 2013. Mine's completely off formula now. If you haven't tried that. Maybe try mixing BM and formula together at first.

    Either way I hope you figure something out. I know how it is when you want to breastfeed and it ends up not working out (or eventually not working out) in the end.

  3. I know you've probably thought of everything, but I thought I'd suggest another option too in case you haven't tried it. On the days where you have enough supply, try making a bottle of half breastmilk, half formula so he can get used to the taste (and then you can stockpile that half of a bottle too! a win/win!), and then slowly decrease the breastmilk/increase the formula so that he learns to like both. A few friends have had success with this method too, so thought I'd throw it out there. Not to completely switch him to formula, but to let him be okay with it in case of an emergency.

  4. Hi shannon, I'm Evelyn.
    I'm on THFL. Our little guys are actually a month apart. I was only able to BF for a month and I was so proud of myself! But I couldn't keep up with him either. So I decided to give in and supplement with formula. I started with Gerber Good Start and be hated it, even though its suppose to taste the closest to breast milk. Similac he fought with. But I kept with it. He was hungry and eventually drank it. Only problem was he was allergic to it. Now, he takes Enfamil infant. He loves it. It takes getting used to. I know a month isn't no where near 7 but what if you try giving him a bottle of it when he's starving? He probably won't notice a difference. I've done that before in the beginning and he was able to take 2 to 3 ounces. Small steps.


So tell me what you really think.......

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