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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Breastfeeding aka "Pumping" Adventures

oh, where do I start.

As mentioned before, almost immediately after Addison was born, the nurse positioned her to latch onto my breast to begin feeding. She latched on fine and "nursed" on each breast for about 5-8 minutes before she fell asleep. The nurses encouraged to continue to try nursing her every 2 hours explaining that this would help the colostrum come in. The first few times, Addison latched on immediately, without any issues.

(Side note: due to my breast enhancement back in 2005, I worried my entire pregnancy that I would be unable to breastfeed. I had a lift on my right breast and they did surgery through my nipple in order to do so therefore there was a chance the milk ducts might not have been reattached fully.)

Once we were moved into the postpartum room, the nurses encouraged we try again. Well this time, Addison would have nothing to do with my breasts, either one of them. She would not latch on. After continuous tries, we both became frustrated but I was whole-heartily determined to continue to try. On Tuesday afternoon, I met Linda, the lactation specialist. She was very encouraging and tried to help Addison latch on, still no go. Linda called Addison lazy because she would just fall asleep each time she watch put near my breast. Throughout the afternoon, we continued to try, using different techniques. Each nurse that I had assisted me in trying. Still no luck. [I admire all their persistence]. Well, by the early hours of Wednesday morning, Addison had not eaten because she refused to latch on and she was screaming at the top of her lungs--call it mother's intuition, but I was certain she was hungry. The nurses and LS (lactation specialist) said that if she was hungry enough, she would "figure it out". Ha!

Finally, the overnight shift nurse allowed us to give her some formula, but no more than 1/2 an ounce. This calmed her down tremendously but we continued to try. Literally, every trick in the book----drop formula on the nipple to encourage baby to suck, rub crease of neck to encourage baby to open the mouth, tickle foot to try to wake the baby, etc. Still nothing so the nurse thought it might be a good idea to bring the hospital grade pump to at least get my milk production going. Of course, I didn't pump anything out, but was told by the nurse that this would stimulate the breast to allow the milk to come in. Many different nurses and another LS came in all trying to help us work on the art of breastfeeding throughout our whole stay in the hospital, but Addison refused to latch on, but not without us trying, and trying hard.

We (CJ, the LS and I) decided to continue to pump and "hope" my milk would come in therefore, in order to ensure this breastfeeding would work, I rented a pump from the hospital ($27 for two weeks). We were sent home with directions and instructions to continue to try to offer the breast each feeding prior to offering milk or formula.

Once we got home, I did exactly as instructed and she still would not latch on. Well, I kept up the pumping even though I was producing such small amounts. Such small amounts that the first few days, we fed Addison breast milk with a medical syringe and supplemented with formula. As the days continued, I started to slowly produce more and more milk, but not nearly enough to solely feed just breast milk. To date, I have not been able to produce more than 2 ounces at one pumping session although usually, I am pumping 1-1.5 ounces. We chose to feed her what I had pumped and then supplemented with whatever formula she would take. Well, we quickly realized we were wasting lots of formula because we could not tell how much she was going to take at any feeding session. After consulting with the pediatrician, he gave us the go ahead to formula feed at one feeding and then breast milk feed the next and continue to switch on and off at each feeding. This will allow her to get maximum breast milk (in order to give her enough breast milk at each feeding I have to pump multiple sessions).

My pumping schedule consists of every 2-3 hours during the day and every 4-5 hours at night. It is recommended you pump at least 8 times a day so that is what I strive for.

Now, my whole goal was to feed breast milk for at least 2 weeks and to date, I have been pumping and feeding for 4 weeks. I plan to continue through the month when I have to return the pump and go back to work. I am choosing not to continue to pump once I go to work for various reasons.

All in all, breastfeeding/pumping is a job in itself. It is a lot of work, time and you must be diligent. I have been unable to go far from home because I have to stay on schedule. Luckily I haven't felt the engorging feeling too much, possibly because of my surgery but I have also not gone long enough without pumping to feel the full effects. I am sure when I wean myself off in the next few weeks, I will feel the "pain". I will be sure to report on it! :) By no means am I am an expert but I am fairly confident I have done what I can and consider my efforts tremendous!

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