Thursday, February 03, 2011

What I told a friend

A friend wrote me, excited about the prospect of trying to concieve, and doubly excited about milk sharing programs since so many of her family members had struggled with supply.  After I responded, I thought, you know, maybe there are some other women out there who could benefit from my opinion on the subject, so here ya go.

Now here is what you need to know about underproduction.
1. Just because people to whom you are related have had this problem, there is no surety that you will also.
2. It can take time to get your supply to come in and tough it feels like baby isn't getting anything in the beginning, their stomachs are so tiny, they are likely getting enough.
3. Most women have wretched advice coming from people who aren't IBCLCs or who don't have much experience with breastfeeding outside their own personal breastfeeding history.
4. There are certain foods, and if necessary,certain prescriptions which can help wit low supply.
5. Any amount of breastfeeding, even with formula supplementation, is better for baby than none, so even with under-supply, give oneself a hand.
6. Before the baby is born(once you're pregtastic) find your local LLL group and start to make connections so that if/when you need support, it's there.
7. Breastsize has nothing to do with mammary capacity and output,as chics with huge tatas generally have a lot of adipose tissue in their breasts, not extra milk-making tissue.
8. This point intentionally left blank.
9. There are nursing techniques which help build a better supply.
10. If you go the hospital birth route, and you select a "baby friendly" institution, they will have an IBCLC with whom you can meet even before the baby is born so you can discuss concerns and strategies. If you go the midwife route, they can refer you to an IBCLC, as can your local LLL leadership.


Formula supplementation isn't failure, it is sometimes necessary, and we are trained to expect to do it, but with support, work (because don't let anyone tell you it isn't work, it's work) and a little biological agreement, you can likely breastfeed your offspring.

7 reflections:

Amy @ babybabylemon said...

I heart number 5 and thanks for including it. It is often forgotten. As someone who had to supplement with formula, but is still breastfeeding at 18 months, it is "something is better than nothing" that got me through some tough days.

Anonymous said...

I seldom leave comments on blog, but I have been to this post which was recommend by my friend, lots of valuable details, thanks again.

Anonymous said...

It is all about attitude! If you think you will fail, YOU WILL FAIL!!

EVERY child (4 of them) I had some type of problem with breastfeeding. Tongue tie, failure to thrive, reflux, 7 days in NICU, breast infection that led to a hospital stay..etc..

LOVE #5. I broke down crying when #4 (the nicu baby) at the age of 3 months needed that bottle of formucrap along with me.

It was best for him, and broke my heart.

Overall if you REALLY want to breastfeed it is mostly likely you can.

Slee said...

We all have problems, and we need to have the support systems in place ahead of time so that when we run into problems, we have somewhere to turn.

My eldest was formula fed after 2 weeks, and I now know that's because I didn't have a good support system, which made it super hard to overcome my issues, when all the advice my not-so-great support system gave me was actually making the problem worse. *sigh*

BUT, she was nursed for the first two weeks, and that is better than straight to bottle, so now, I'm finally okay with it.

On the other hand, DS is 21 months-ish, and I'm thinking "um, hey kid, ya 'bout through yet?"

Mama Campbell said...

yes yes yes!! And also, don't cut night feeds in those early weeks! They are crucial to building a supply! I am so surprised to still be nursing at 6 months after making it to 7weeks & just over 2 mths with both of my girls & I have to contribute it in part to always nursing before supplementing, nursing every time baby may be hungry & not skipping any nighttime feeds.

Slee said...

@Mama Campbell I'm very happy for you that you've made it so much further than you have in the past. I have read that the night feedings are what one's body bases it's milk for the day requirements on, and that the nursings between midnight and four am or so are more important than any others, so props to you!

Slee said...

or was it two and six?