Feeding DS2

Breastfeeding does not always work out, this is a place to discuss your situation and feelings

Postby JennyD » Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:06 am

Hi gpmadk

You could say I fell into exclusive expressing. It never would have occurred to me to plan to do it. If I had been told that DS2 would not be able to feed from me, I probably would have looked into formula or alternatives. When DS2 couldn’t feed I started expressing as a temporary measure, I always planned for him to come back to breastfeeding. I was just expressing in the hospital to make sure he got enough milk to regain his birth weight, then when got home I just assumed that when he was big and strong enough he would feed properly. It just never happened and when I finally realised that he wasn’t coming back to the breast, I had been expressing for more than 4 months and was making almost twice his intake, so I knew I could keep on going. I then had vague dreams of expressing milk for him while he was at school, but my real goal was to survive each day. My motto was from Les Miserable “One day more, One more day”. I really had no idea how long I could do this for.
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Postby JennyD » Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:41 am

November 2007

DS2 is 7 months old, time to start on solids, maybe I can cut back on the expressing a bit. If only he’ll take solids. He is completely uninterested in solids, completely content with his milk. Growing strong, doing so well, but not interested in solids. After some thought, we decided to cut his milk back a bit. I had been offering him 180ml bottles, so cut back to 160ml bottles, and amazingly enough he was happy with that amount too, wouldn’t ask for more when he had finished, so we cut his intake back to around 800ml per day. Great sign so towards the end of October I cut back my expressing. I sorted out how to have the milk in bed, DS2 was happy to drink it cold, so we kept it in a cooler in the bed and just gave it to him when he woke up, no more getting up at night. Yay. So now I am expressing 6:30am, 9:30am, 3:30 pm, and 8:30pm, and making around 1550ml per day, still more than I need, thank goodness. He is finally eating a bit of solids, but no way near enough to make a difference to his milk intake, just some which is great.
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Postby JennyD » Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:32 pm

Summer 2007/2008

I usually look forward to summer, I love the holidays, spending the morning at the pool watching the kids learn to swim, having fun in the pool with the kids, introducing the baby to the joys of the water. But not this year. This year, I worried, how am I going to express, how will I find the time. I usually head for the pool at 9am and come home between 12 and 1 depending on lesson times. Solution, drop back to three sessions per day. Easy, right. Well, maybe not. After 11 days of expressing 3 times per day, I got a bad case of mastitis, and my supply plummeted. What to do, the usual cure, of feeding more often and allowing gravity to help didn’t work. I can’t pump at funny angles to get the pump to do a better job, so pumping more often it is, which is OK, as swimming lessons haven’t started yet, but still, back to five times a day, and on antibiotics, and soaking boobs before expressing and warm compress while expressing, and cool compress afterwards. I thought it was bad before. The worst of it is my left breast is now on half production. No matter what I do it just isn’t making as much milk as before, and it used to be the big producer. So after 4 days on 5 sessions per day, the mastitis is gone, so I’m back to 4 a day again. At least I can manage life with that, although I’ll have to come back from the pool half way through lesions, but that’s OK, we have a break in the middle and its only around the corner. What a pain.

At the beginning of December I was making around 1550mL per day, by January I was down to 1450mL (thanks to the mastitis), by February I was down to 1350mL per day, thanks to another bout of mastitis. My left breast was only making half that of the right breast and had a fairly solid area where the milk had backed up. I was a bit concerned about that, but the area from the first bout had cleared up, so I assumed the second area would too. During this time DS2s intake fluctuated between 800mL at the beginning of December, up to 900mL again during December and January, then down to 750mL in February, things were finally looking up, I was still making almost twice his intake, still had an oversupply, which was good as when I got mastitis my supply dropped by about one third, making it down to his intake. DS2 still wasn’t really eating solids, he was really still just playing with them, although at 10 months at the end of Feb he did begin to show a bit more interest, hence the drop in intake.
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Postby JennyD » Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:15 pm

Autumn 2008

The focus for autumn was to get DS2 eating solids. The kids were back at school, I could focus on making eating fun, but he really wasn’t interested. When I thought about it, the other kids didn’t really eat solids till after they were 1, which was fine as they were breastfed and I wasn’t obsessing about how much milk I was making and worrying about what would happen next time I had mastitis and my supply plummeted. During this time I tried dropping to three sessions per day again a couple of times, and each time my supply dropped, but I did manage to recover it when I went back to 4 times a day. With my supply around 1300mL in May I got the message and stuck with 4 times a day from then on. In May I also hit a milestone, I got Michael to drink less than 700ml some days, it was terrific, he was one year old and finally interested in eating solids. Only problem was that once he was one everyone (except DH and the kids) expected me to stop expressing. After all I had given him my milk for his first year of life, now he was on solids (well not really, but they thought so) he could just have cows milk. There was no way I was stopping, I would have had to give him formula because there really isn’t enough goodness in cows milk for it to be 90% of your intake, and that’s what my milk was to DS2. And he still wasn’t walking, although finally crawling, of a sort. He learnt to sit early and then had a lot of trouble getting from his bum to mobile it was really funny, he would rock like mad and gradually slide across the floor. It was the complete opposite to DD2 who learnt to crawl before she could sit and used to crawl across the floor and then flop onto her tummy. DS2 could sit but not move.
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Postby JennyD » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:34 pm

Winter 2008

DS2 finally learnt to walk at 13 months. I know that’s not late, but for my family it is, DD and DS walked at 11 months, DD 11 months to the day, DD2 walked at 8 months, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, no brains at all but mobile, I nearly went insane. DS2 walked at 13 months, which I gather is actually the average age, so not late at all, but everyone was worrying me, “He isn’t walking yet, must be because of his poor start”. I could see it all through his life, every time he did something slow or a bit behind it would be because of his poor start to life, every time he did something on time or ahead of time it would be in spite of his poor start (and I was right). He got more into solids, I began to be a little less obsessive about my milk supply, so I got mastitis again. Great, my left side had just finally recovered and it was blocked again, and half producing again. Lovely. To top it off, for some reason in July DS2s intake went up to 900mL per day, no idea why and my production after a couple more bouts of mastitis was down to 1100, not very much over his intake, my stress levels rose and I was back obsessing about milk production, trying to find ways to up my supply. I baked milk making cookies (couldn’t stand them) tried various vitamin supplements, finally worked out a recipe for ANZAC biscuits with brewers yeast and flax seed added, tasted nice and I don’t know if they really worked, but it made me feel better.
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Postby momi » Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:41 pm

Hi Jenny, I have been following your story, thank you for sharing it, you are an inspiration and I am amazed at the dedication you have shown to your son.

all the best,
momi
Last edited by momi on Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby JennyD » Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:54 am

Hi Anjum

Thanks for your thoughts, I have actually really enjoyed sharing my story. It helps to get it out there. Nearly finished now thank goodness (both with posting and with expressing)
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Postby JennyD » Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:56 am

Spring 2008

Still obsessing about my milk supply, although I managed to maintain it around 1100 for these three months, and DS2s intake dropped to a more manageable to 700ml. Still having 160ml bottles, and finally interested in solids, which was good as he was 18 months old. 2008 was hectic, with DD1 at High school, and DD2 in year 1. I tried a couple of times to do canteen roster at the high school, but it just didn’t work, I would have to express the minute I got home, but DS2 wanted my attention and DH needed to go to work, so that went by the way side. I also tried to do the mum thing in DD2s class, but DS2 just wasn’t ready for it, he wanted to be fed in class, or just wanted to play with me, so I gave up. Even though DS2 was now 18 months old my life was still very much like that of a mum with a newborn. I was still tied to the house by the pump, and I still came home for most feeds, I just didn’t like bottle feeding in public. OK, he was meant to be onto a sippy cup, but he refused to drink his milk from anything but a bottle. He was happy to have water from a cup, but milk comes from bottles don’t you know. I think he still needed the suction, the others certainly did.
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Postby JennyD » Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:31 am

2009

Well he grew and grew, and finally started talking and my supply continued to gradually fade away. Luckily DS2 gradually became more interested in solids. So it didn’t matter too much. He was down to 500ml per day by March 2009 and my supply was down to about 800ml so I was managing. I hadn’t cut any sessions out, or done anything, my supply just gradually dropped, I found I couldn’t get as much milk out in the same amount of time. My body just wasn’t inspired to give milk to the pump, I must say my mind wasn’t either.

We did a lot of travelling in 2008 and 2009, I had an adaptor so I could pump using the car power. Actually living where we are we seem to need to go to Perth almost monthly for specialists and other things that just can’t be had locally, so we have always travelled a lot, just doing it while pumping became the challenge. I would pump as DH drove, I worked out how to use a scarf to cover me up so the truckies and people driving 4WD couldn’t see what I was doing. We managed quite well. Amazingly enough I always seem to get more milk pumping in the car, maybe the vibrations helped or maybe the fact that I was just relaxed sitting there watching the scenery rather than trying to type or knit and pump at the same time. The funny thing is that I finally worked out how to knit and pump by using circular needles it was great for about a month, but then I found that I had to use breast compression to get any milk out so that ruined the fun. I could no longer knit or type while pumping, I could however still brows the net, so no wonder I wanted to stop pumping. My hands and arms were getting sore from all of the breast compression.

Our story is continued in My Weaning Diary at: http://www.lrc.asn.au/forum/viewtopic.php?t=40015
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Postby ames » Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:11 pm

Thank you Jenny for sharing your story. You truly are an inspiring woman. Your example gives hope to those who may also need to exclusively express long term for whatever reason. Enjoy knowing that you provided an amazing start to your son's life.
DD1 2005, DS 2007, DD2 2009, DD3 2011
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Postby lilybella » Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:55 pm

Wow. What an inspiring story. I fear I am at the beginning of the same journey. My DD is 17 days old and knew exactly what to do the minute she was born. Unfortunately her sucking power and hunger was so great, and my nipples were so unused to the power of her efforts, that she just about grazed them off. When the blood started coming through, the LC and midwives at the hospital put me on an express and rest protocol and her on comp feeding.

A week later we got as far as trying to use nipple shields but now she is so used to the bottle that I suspect she will never go back to having to work for it. I have managed to BF her since then a couple of times when she is not hungry and I have expressed recently but only for a few minutes at a time. She gets frustrated and I get nervous and give her the rest of the bottle (could be either EBM or formula)

I was beginning to feel very alone in this. BF is meant to be easy I thought! Silly me. So it was lovely to read your story. Hopefully, between my wonderful ABA counsellor and persistence we can get her back to BF. But if not I now know I am not alone.

A HUGE thank you from all of us who feel like our pumps are actually an extension of our bodies... :)
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Postby DellaWellaWoman » Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:26 pm

Congratulations on your DD's birth!!

17 days is very young, so don't give up yet - my DD2 was 5 weeks prem & came home on full time EBM bottle feeds, but with persistence, the help of lactation consultants (at the hospital I had her at) and a supplemental nursing system we got her back on the breast and she's now fully breastfed.

If she'll have SOME feeds each day there's definitely hope, and I'd really recommend seeing a lactation consultant if there's one near you (http://www.alca.asn.au/) or an ABA breastfeeding counsellor, or calling the breastfeeding helpline on 1800 mum2mum (1800 6862686) to discuss your situation and formulate a plan to help get your DD on the breast more :)
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Postby JennyD » Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:02 pm

Hi lillybella

There are lots of tricks for getting babies back onto the breast. One thing that struck me from your post is you said her attachment was perfect, but your nipples were still injured. Sometimes babies look like they are perfectly attached, but as we can't see what is happening inside the mouth, the only way we know they aren't attached properly is by the fact that mum is in pain. So basically she wasn't attached properly. Maybe she has a tongue tie or some other thing that is causing her to move her tongue incorrectly which is causing the problems and pain for you. Another thing that I thought of was maybe you could offer her the breast after a bottle feed, so that she continues to have good experiences at the breast, and then as she gets older she will hopefully still be willing to feed at the breast. I kept trying to offer DS2 the breast before feeds, when he was hungry, and he screamed at me, I often wonder what would have happened if I had offered after the bottle when he wasn't hungry, but wanted to suck.

Good luck with it all.

Jenny
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Postby JennyD » Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:23 pm

Looking back, one of the hardest parts of exclusive expressing for DS2 was the lack of support from friends and family. I had terrific support from ABA, from the forum and from other counsellors, I had great support from DH and the kids, but no one else gave me support. From day one my mother was trying to let me down softly for the inevitability of failure. That was the last thing I needed. Because I know that the only thing we can guarantee in life is that if we don’t try, we will fail. So I knew I had to keep trying to get DS2 feeding, and I also knew that it was always possible that he wouldn’t learn to feed. What I needed was reassurance that it was possible and that he might just learn to feed one day. I got this reassurance from ABA, counsellors told me of success stories they had heard, they told me I still had a chance. When he was 2 one ABA member told me that it was still possible, as she had taught her adopted child to feed at an older age. However, by then I needed to move on. The lack of support was palpable, my friends assumed I was keeping my supply up solely until he learned to feed, by the time he was 3 months it was assumed he would never learn and it was time I stopped. I still had hope at that stage, in fact his surgery was still ahead, so chances were still good. When he was six months old family members expected me to stop expressing as I had quite a store and he was old enough for solids, so they felt he didn’t’ need my milk any more. When he was 12 months old, they considered him old enough for cows milk, so definitely didn’t need expressed milk any more. They just couldn’t understand that he was still a baby and still needed human milk. They thought I was expressing because I felt guilt at not feeding him, or because I didn’t want him to miss out on what the other kids had. I was expressing for the simple reason that I believe human babies should drink human milk, and at 18 months he was still a baby. At 2 I decided I had done it long enough, and he was a child now, not so much a baby, so I weaned, on my time, and everyone was basically saying at last. Of course online support groups were impressed and proud of me, thank you all for your support, but in person, they were just glad I had finally seen the light and given up, now I could get my life back.

The best thing about expressing was watching DS2 grow on my milk. Watching him thrive and become a lovely, healthy, energetic boy. The other wonderful thing was the great support provided by my husband and kids, who reorganised their lives to fit around my pumping schedule, who put up with boring school holidays, because I needed to pump and we couldn’t do all day trips anywhere. The great support I received online, from ABA friends and other friends made through pumping email lists. An amazing and surprising bit of support came from my BIL who set me up with a pumping station when we stayed at his house when Michael was 19 months old, even though his boys were weaned before they were 12 months old.
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Postby Star » Fri Nov 27, 2009 7:58 am

I thought I was doing ok reading your posts until I read the poem you wrote... tears tears.. oh man!
thank you for sharing..
DS1 27/11/06 BF 2 years 2 months
DS2 17/04/08 BF 14 months
DD1 11/07/09 exclusive EBM for 2 years 2 months
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