Make sure you read Part 1 below!
I should actually call this one “Breastfeeding Woes” but, gosh, what a boring title. How would I ever attract any readers? So, forget I even said that.
When we discharged from the hospital, Lily weighed 5 lbs 14 oz. While it’s completely normal for babies to lose some of their birth weight, the pediatrician said she had lost too much. We went to the pediatrician at a week old for her first weigh in and so the story goes…
Weigh-in #1: 5 lbs 6 oz! I was told to start supplementing with formula and feed Lily every two hours, even at night. I talked to 3 lactation consultants and my OB, trying to figure out what I needed to do to get Lily to only be a breastfed baby. Between the nurse at the peditrician’s office, the pediatrician, the 3 lactation consultants, and my OB, I got a different answer from everyone. I thought I was going to scream!!! Oh wait, I did! And cried, the sobbing kind, more than I have in my entire life. I just wanted a truthful answer on what to do for my child. Add some extreme “baby blues” to all this breastfeeding chaos and you had one UNHAPPY, UPSET mother for a week. The best breastfeeding advice–and by “best” I mean absolute worst–was given by two ladies at a store that I won’t name, but I will say they were involved with the La Leche League. Breastfeeding Hippies is what I like to call them. One lady told me that the reason Lily wasn’t gaining enough weight was because I didn’t have enough fat in my milk. Solution? Eat more fat, which I did for 24 hours…whole milk, eggs, cheese, nuts, and a nasty Wendy’s burger and fries. The other piece of HILARIOUS advice that I was given by another lady at the same store was to not use Similac formula. The lady said it messed up her kids GI tract. Instead, she told me to use Nestle Good Start, then gave me full warning to not be alarmed if Lily’s poop is blue and sparkly. The lady assured me that it wasn’t a problem…she asked her pediatrician herself after she saved the diaper and took it to him weeks later to ask about the blue sparkly poop. Poop isn’t supposed to be blue and it’s definitely not supposed to be sparkly, so I’m sticking with Similac! Lily has had no problems digesting that stuff and her poop is regular and the right color.
Weigh-in #2, next day: 6 lbs 5 oz. What!? How did she gain nearly a pound in 24 hours? If only I could lose weight that fast! Thankfully, we had a different nurse than the previous day. She quadruple checked the weight and we agreed that the first weight was very wrong! I was told to take Lily off formula, feed every 3 hours, and let her wake us up at night. I also asked about the information I was given to eat more fatty food. WRONG again La Leche League! My diet affects the quantity of my milk, not the quality. Thanks you for clogging all of my arteries!
Weigh-in #3, next day: 6 lbs 3 oz. Although, she lost 2 ounces, the pediatrician agreed it was because she had not eaten in 2 hours. No worries, but he put her back on formula just in case and told us to feed every two hours.
Weigh-in #4, following Tuesday: 6 lbs 12 oz. Past her birth weight, woo hoo!!! I really wanted to make breastfeeding work, so I requested to talk to my new best friend…Nurse Laura, the breast consultant at the pediatrician’s office. My fear was that Lily was so used to the bottle that she was now a lazy eater and as a result, my milk production had decreased. She suggested I only nurse her and just forget the formula. If Lily is hungry enough, she’ll learn to breastfeed. We scheduled a weigh in for the next day to see if she was getting enough. Turns out she wasn’t. I had to supplement with formula for the next 24 hours because she remained hungry after she nursed and ate what I pumped.
Weigh-in #5, next day: We didn’t weigh her this time since Nurse Laura’s plan failed. But she did give me some more tips on breastfeeding. She suggested I nurse and pump at every feeding, and if Lily is still hungry, give her what I pumped. Sounds like a plan! Except that she needs more than I can produce. For the next week I nursed her, gave her formula, and pumped. The process lasted 1 1/2 hours and we were doing it all over again in another 1 1/2 hours. No rest for the weary.
Newborn check up, the next week: Lily weighed 7 lbs 6 oz! And I was ready to quit breastfeeding. She wasn’t an aggressive eater and my milk production was very low at this point. I knew it would eventually come to this and I was really tired of trying new things. I just wanted my baby to be fed and satisfied. Her pediatrician, who is absolutely wonderful, was very supportive and encouraging. He assured me that she would be a healthy baby on formula, and may even become president one day on formula! I still felt that I hadn’t given it my all, but he told me that in all of his 21 years of being a pediatrician, he can only count 3 mothers that have had breastfeeding issues and tried for longer than I did. He said he would have given up a long time ago and appreciated my tenacity and effort to make it work.
So, my baby is bottle-fed. Never thought I would say that and never thought I would be at peace with the decision. But I am. My advice is to not let anyone make you feel that you are an inadequate mother because you can’t provide for your baby. Try breastfeeding long enough to get through the horrid pain, then if it doesn’t work out, pray about it. If it still doesn’t work out, trust that God will provide the things your baby needs in the formula you give her. Lily is a happy, content baby and will be smart and healthy. But she will not have blue sparkly poop!