As I said in the last post, if nursing your baby is too stressful, it is ok to give the baby formula. Just don't read that part of the can. I gave the reasons that I enjoyed breast feeding my baby, but I did have a struggle. (And it lasted for three months, but I had quite a but of support.)
I first visited the OBGYN suspecting that I was expecting in December, my son was born in February. You do the math! I had no time to prepare. I had no money saved for this, no idea about short term disability, etc. Dad had just been let go. Important fact: No Money!
As a teacher, I don't make mush money. I make just enough to have to pay for everything in full myself with no government assistance. Important fact 2: Ineligible for any aid (just barely).
Now that you have the important facts, I will start my story.
I decided that I would nurse my baby because it is better for the baby and free. Besides that, my sister nursed her daughter and she had sold me on the benefits. In addition, my FATHER told me to nurse exclusively because he didn't want the baby to have allergies. (See, lots of support.) His paternal great grandmother also used to say, " Ooh! Breast-babies is the sweetest ones." So, I had been convinced from all sides to nurse my baby. Now add in the Important Facts!
Back to me now. I started leaking colostrum shortly after I learned I was pregnant and it was quite a lot. When I delivered my son, the nurse remarked that I had an ounce of milk on the front of my hospital gown. So milk production was not an issue at this point. So what was the problem?
Well, I was about a 40 G and my 6 pound mini me couldn't latch on! They kept me in the hospital for three days. While I was there, the lactation consultant worked with us quite a bit. We tried getting baby naked and putting him skin to skin. We tried the Medela nipple shield. I expressed and put the milk into a syringe. None of it worked.
They recommended the football hold for me because they recommend that for most women with large breasts. The whole time I was in the hospital, these wonderful ladies kept coming to try and help us! He even almost latched on once. We kept switching between the nipple shield and the bare breast. Always in the recommended position.
Finally, they gave me a breast pump and bottle. At this point, I was so concerned my baby wasn't having much milk that it took it gratefully! (Bump nipple confusion!). They gave me an Ameda Elite to try. My baby drank so much milk! (I am tearing up here. You just have no idea how happy I was.)
At this point, I was sent home with a list of places that sold this type of machine (since the hospital had given me two sets of flanges, tubes, caps, and bottles). My mother took me to get the machine (in my regular clothes y'all).
At this point, I became what is called an "exclusive pumper." This is a term you will want if you are having this issue. There are all sorts of online discussions of the matter. (The Ameda website proved to be a wonderful resource on exclusive pumping.) As an exclusive pumper, a big concern is always preventing your supply from diminishing and making sure you have enough milk ready when baby is hungry.
During this time, I developed a schedule. I remember getting up at four in the morning to pump the milk while my mother was feeding my baby. I remember always pumping before I went to bed. And with exclusive pumping, I was paying for the pump, washing bottles, having to get up and go to the refrigerator for bottles. SO MUCH WORK!
And I was staying with my mom for just three months. What would happen when I went back across the country to my own home? My mother was giving that first and last bottle while I pumped. What would I do without her?
So, the last month I was with her, I tried to do it all. I cooked, cleaned, pumped, took care of my darling, and...and...and there wasn't enough milk. You see, fatigue will diminish supply. So I got online and found out what foods help milk production and what foods hinder it. I also found out about power pumping. But what I needed to do was find out how to get more rest.
So, I began reading about nipple confusion and I Googled something to the effect of "too late to start breastfeeding." I read stories about babies that never latched on until they were 6 weeks. I read about mothers nursing adopted babies. I read that IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO BREASTFEED AS LONG AS YOU HAVE MILK! And if your milk is low, talk to a lactation consultant because they have things to help with that (like pumping with a hospital grade pump, certain medicines, and certain herbs).
Well, y'all! One day it just happened. I didn't get a chance to pump. I had my one-day-shy-of-three-months baby and my four year old niece. Baby started crying,I started leaking. He had already been traumatized by my breasts because I never gave up. So when I offered it, he screamed louder. Then he noticed the milk was leaking and he started licking. And out of no place, he latched on! MY THREE MONTH OLD LATCHED ON FOR THE FIRST TIME!
ADVICE IN SHORT FORM:
Pump to keep your milk production high
When you want the baby to try and latch on, be sure that you haven't pumped for several hours. The milk should be quite easy to drink. It should be just about leaking so that the baby is rewarded for effort.
This is not mentioned in my story, but warm your breasts with warm cloths or the baby's body. (This is advice I got from the lactation consultant.)
If you are pumping, have several sets of pieces (and know that you can attach standard bottles to the pump.
Be patient. Your baby will eventually get it if you want it, but do not let it affect your relationship with your baby. If it becomes too stressful or tiresome, formula is available.