Friday, September 4, 2009

Breastfeeding Rollercoaster Ride

I thought it's going to be easy. Turns out it's tougher than it looks.

I have been very vocal about my desire to exclusively breastfeed my son. Just like every mother, I only want what's best for my child. But when the time came for me to finally fulfill this, I felt my world about to crumble because of the threat of defeat. It wasn't as simple as I thought it would be.

The day I delivered Dade, he was immediately roomed-in so we can have that ideal mother-child bonding within the hour he was born. Still feeling groggy from the operation, I quickly jumped to the opportunity and agreed to have him latch on to me. All along, I really thought he was latching on properly, and that we were both doing so well.

However, on the second day, I noticed that he was getting fussy and seemed to be needing to feed like every hour. Add the sore nipples that I started to have, too. For someone who has gone through a CS operation, the need to wake up almost all day and night was a torture especially after barely 48 hours, and with pain from the stitches attacking you when you least expect it. Eventually, the lactation consultant confirmed my worst fear - my son wasn't latching properly. As a result, in less than 3 days, he lost 12% of his birth weight and ended up jaundiced.  The interim solution: mixed feeding.

My heart sank but I had no other option. The lactation consultant, however, was encouraging and reassured me that this was just a learning curve for both me and the baby. Going forward, she asked me to pump on the third day. I managed to produce 10ml each session which was cup fed to Dade with the help of the nurses and Ryan. Thereafter, he would be given formula for sustenance. On the day we were discharged, the lactation consultant came by to see us both and had Dade latch on to me to see any progress. Things did improve. Not that great but a lot better than the previous days. I was told to just give it a week's time and see how my milk production would be. Once my milk production improves, I can take out the formula milk from Dade's menu even sooner than planned. So off we went with a few bottles of formula milk on hand and with hopes that I would be able to produce more milk later on.

I am so thankful I did invest on a good breastpump. It has become my new BFF since I became a Mom. But despite having one of the best equipment for expressing, the first week was challenging to say the least. There were days when I literally prayed to the heavens to make me produce enough milk each time I pump. I also went crazy researching ways to improve my milk production. The silly goose that I was compared myself to other nursing mothers, which only made me feel worse. There were nights I would cry out of frustration, and even came to a point where I questioned my capability to nurture my own son. I almost gave up.

Despite having a supportive husband, I decided to seek solace from my sisters in an online forum I belong to. I thought if there is someone who can understand what I'm feeling, it would be another mother who also nurses her child and had gone through challenges in the course, as well. That's when I decided to write one of my breastfeeding inspirations, Mandy, who is an online friend, for support and tips. And I'm glad I did because right off the bat, she did come to my rescue. I thank her for her assistance because not only did I manage to help myself increase my milk production but also gained confidence with what I'm doing. Despite her busy schedule with raising two kids and home schooling her daughter, she took time to answer my mundane questions and became my virtual cheerleader.

Now almost five weeks later since I delivered, my milk production has improved tremendously. My letdown was way, way better. My son also learned how to latch on properly and my nipples don't hurt anymore even when he feeds every couple of hours. The best news is my son gained a quarter of a kilo in 3 weeks. When he had his 2nd check up yesterday, his pedia said we did good - our son is strong and healthy.

I know there will be more challenges ahead with raising a child, but I realized that with perseverance and positive thinking, any parent will be able to surmount them with flying colors. This is just one of those uphill battles that I need to face, and I'm sure there will be more to come. Lesson learned: don't raise the white flag that easily.


Crinklynose said...

that's great sis that everything went well with breastfeeding dade. i went through exactly the same thing since i had c-section as well with mikka. i was miserable and had done everything that i could - taking fenugreek, tea to increase my milk supply, had to pump every 3 hrs (also using medela pump in style advanced), i even rented a hospital grade pump (medela symphony), you name it, i've done it all... (except taking prescription meds to increase milk supply)

the lactation consultant also recommended supplementing formula cuz mikka wasn't gaining weight. after i nursed her for 30 mins, the LC measured her weight and she calculted that the amount of milk mikka got from me was just about a teaspoon :o(

it was devastating...

there was even a point where all i did the whole day was feed mikka. 15 mins each breast, then pump for 30 mins. by the time i'm all done, mikka's hungry again :o(

to make my story short, no, i wasn't as successful as you. i only breastfed for 6 weeks. maximum i was able to pump was about 2 oz. pathetic noh?

but all is good, i guess it's because i know in my heart i've done everything that i could possibly do but my milk supply's just not enough. sooo... there....

you lucky you. thank goodness for support from friends and loved ones huh? for me, breastfeeding is the hardest part... more than having to heal from c-section.


cheche said...

great news! kala natin madali lang no? super duper hirap! there are times talaga na u want to give up na sa sobrang frustration, pero what keeps us going is knowing that we're giving what's best for them.

dont worry, dade knows you're doing everything you can.

Joanne MV said...

Good for you Gracie! Ü

Hope you continue to breastfeed your son up to 1 year (or more!) Ü

I learned that eating malunggay leaves helps in producing a lot of milk ;)

Eper said...

I also had a hard time breastfeeding. After going thru emergency CS, I wasn't allowed to see my son until the next day because he had to be kept in a warmer (he couldn't regulate his body temp). Since I was still hooked up to IV, Quino was brought to my room every 2 hrs to feed. In spite of the help of midwives and nurses, he couldn't latch! When my IV was taken out, I went down to the nursery every 2hrs to feed him but encountered the same thing. When he was diagnosed with UTI, my pedia had to prescribe formula since I wasn't producing enough breastmilk. I pumped milk in the nursery when Quino refused to latch and cup-fed him. When we got home, we had the most difficult time trying to latch on. Like crinklynose, I even took fenugreek & malunggay capsule. I was able to produce more milk (I was still pumping) but Quino just refused to latch! :( I was still suffering from hypertension at this time so you can just imagine the agony! I was super dizzy all day, everyday and pumping. My anti-hypertensive meds weren't working. Sad to say, I wasn't successful like you. So I'm very happy for you sis! :)

AEC said...

hi gracie! i'm so glad i was able to help you out. ;) it will become easier, i tell you. :D my first goal was to breastfeed for 6mos, then it extended to one year; now i'm looking to doing this for 2 years. :)

Gracie said...

hi berns,
naku, i went through the same thing, too - as in parang the whole day wala na kong ginawa kundi mag-pump & mag-feed kay Dade. now that i'm BFing & have gone through the difficulties, nag-iba na ang pagtingin ko sa mga BFing mothers. and i have to agree with you - BFing is tougher than having to go through C-section.
don't worry, as long as you know in your heart you've done your best, there's no need to feel more stressed & frustrated. you've tried and that's a big deal already.

Gracie said...

hi cheche,
nobody warned me it's gonna be this tough. buti na lang talaga i tried & pushed my limits. i kept in mind my son & his needs whenever frustration gets the better of me.

Gracie said...

hi joanne,
thanks, sis! i hope ma-breastfeed ko nga si Dade till at least he's 1 year old. and yes, i'm taking malunggay & supplements, as well.

Gracie said...

hi eper,
i feel more blessed 'cos Dade was roomed in even if i delivered via C-section, and that he eventually learned to latch on. when hubby was taught how to cupfeed Dade, ikaw agad ang naalala ko. i'm just so thankful na i overcame the hurdles.
appreciate your support, sis!

Gracie said...

hi mandy,
thank you once again! your words helped motivate me & i'm glad i wrote to you for support :)

kelly said...

i feel your struggle. and i'm so proud you didn't give up. i hope i can exclusively breastfeed too when another baby comes along :)

Tinggay said...

saludo ako sa yo gracie! i think to each mom, her own bfeeding experience and challenge talaga. pero i 100% relate to what you wrote. super stressful siya na talagang my world revolves around my pumping/nursing sessions. wag talaga padadala sa kuwento ng iba dahil meron talagang blessed with much milk. i wasn't pero i forged on. it's really 100% determination and dedication to give our young ones' our best that will make us succeed. congrats! kahit nag mixed feed ka, you were able to recover - that's usually the hard part and where most moms stop. here's to more challenges, more tears, but definitely more fulfillment with motherhood!! hugs and kisses to dade! :)

Gracie said...

hi kelly,
thanks, girl! i'm really glad i didn't. teka, kelan ba kasunod ni Manu? :P

Gracie said...

hi tinggay,
thanks so much! kakayanin talaga lahat para sa anak...ngayon alam ko na yun. cheers to all mommies like us who embrace motherhood wholeheartedly!

Mich said...

well said gracie! and congratulations for doing a great job in breasfeeding! :)