Tuesday, March 27, 2012

But I don't want to give my baby formula!?! A Breastfeeding Solution

NOTHING and NO ONE was able provide help when I needed it most...my baby wasn't getting enough breastmilk and giving her a bottle seemed the only solution.  Let me just say I attended the childbirth class, the breastfeeding class, hired the doula, the lactation consultant, and the pediatrician not to mention a stack of books I checked out from the library...all I heard was "it's ok dearie, sometimes it happens...there's nothing wrong with giving a bottle".

Nothing about my pregnancy turned out as I had planned (except for the perfectly beautiful child I came home with).  Sick as a dog for 9 mo's, several hospital stays, instead of the natural birth a c-section.   When baby came, I had crazy post-partum depression plus baby wanted nurse 24/7, wouldn't sleep and cried a lot.  In my sleep-deprived zombie state I was told that I needed to supplement with formula.  I had had it!!!  After all my ordeal to get this child into this world, I have to forego breastfeeding too!!!?  And let's not even mention the recent news reports of tainted formulas.  But what could I do?  If I didn't produce enough milk, I couldn't let my poor baby starve!  So I did what I had to do, I began supplementing with a bottle AND searching for a solution.  God in his goodness sent me a solution where all else failed.  I'm hoping my story may be a blessing to the one who finds herself in the same situation.

My answer came in the form of the International Breastfeeding Centre (ibc).  Their website is jam packed full of helpful information.  You can check them out at your leisure, but here are the key elements that changed everything for me:


Key #1:  Increase milk supply with the herbs FENUGREEK and BLESSED THISTLE (3 capsules/3 times a day of each).  They will work within 12-24 hours if they are going to. 

Key #2: Reevaluate your breastfeeding technique (this one is vitally important).  Your baby may look like he's getting plenty, I mean he's nursing 24/7 right?  Actually, he might be using your breast as a pacifier and is not actually accessing much of your milk supply at all.  How can you tell?
  • a good latch (you will learn about this in breastfeeding classes)
  • Determine if baby is actually drinking (you won't learn about this in breastfeeding classes); If  baby is getting adequate drink, she will open her mouth wide and pause before closing again. 
  • It's the exact same motion you make when you drink a milkshake...because its thick, you keep your jaw open longer to get it thru the straw.  Similarly, the more the baby pauses, the more milk she is taking in.
Key #3:  Re-train baby how to breastfeed successfully using breast compression technique.  This technique is not necessary if baby feeds well but I can vouch that it works as I was able to take my child off formula and breastfeed exclusively with no problems!   I'm not going to explain the entire process because it's detailed in the link I provided but it basically it helps baby to change from ineffective sucking to actually take in milk.
Finally Watch this series of breastfeeding videos for demonstrations of all these techniques (warning: since it is about breastfeeding...obviously it's graphic).  I'd watch all the videos because even if they don't seem applicable, they each have golden nuggets of information.  Additionally, ibc has lots of information sheets on a myriad of breastfeeding topics.

I know there are other woman out there looking for solutions.  I hope by adding these resources to my blog, it might help someone stumble across this valuable information just as I did when I needed it most:)