This is what happens when you go to the grocery store too close to nap time.
This didn’t last long, because she kept popping on and off.
I told her, “You are welcome to have goody if you want it, but you have to actually get it, because when you stop like that, then Mama’s walking around the store with her goody hanging out, and somebody’s gonna say something, and then I’m going to have to organize a nurse-in, and I just really don’t have time for that.”
A week ago, I opened Facebook and saw, at the top of my newsfeed:
I had breast reduction surgery in January 2006, at the age of 31. I did so knowing it was risky that I might not be able to nurse, but I also wasn’t in a position where I was sure I would ever have children.When I finally did become pregnant, I spent most of the time stressing over whether or not I would be able to nurse. I didn’t get much support from heath-care providers about my likelihood of nursing. One nurse at my OB’s office told me she “couldn’t remember” if women who’d had BR could usually nurse. She said it in such a way I figured she meant that she did remember that they usually COULDN’T.My nurse when I was in labor told me that I would almost definitely have to supplement, if I could nurse at all. Um, that was not very helpful information at the time, especially since I was having a very difficult labor!
Of course, I also put her in touch with DoulaK, She actually would have liked to have hired her as her birth doula, but because her own baby was due just two months later, that didn’t work out, but they were in contact, and I relayed a several messages back and forth.
(As it turns out, BabyJ was almost two weeks late, and DoulaK’s son BabyK was a couple of weeks early, so they’re almost exactly a month apart.)
When BabyJ finally did arrive, other being a little sleepy and not wanting to nurse alot the first day, they seemed to get off to a pretty good start with breastfeeding, which was just amazing considering not only her breast reduction, but also the fact that she’d had a c-section, which can often lead to breastfeeding difficulties.
When BabyJ went to her pediatrician a few days later, she’d lost more weight than he liked, so she had to return for a weight check at just shy of three weeks old.
That was the day after our Easter party, and when BabyJ nursed through most of the party, I told MommyA that “She knows she has a test tomorrow, so she’s cramming for it!”
She had gained a couple of ounces, which made her doctor happy, and he said he didn’t need to see her again until her two-month checkup.
In the meantime, MommyA was pumping to build up a supply for when she returned to work, but wasn’t getting much output.
Of course, babies are much more efficient than breastpumps, and BabyJ was peeing, pooping and happy, and her onesies were getting too short – all of which are good signs.
At two-month checkup, she was “perfectly healthy,” but only up a pound from her low weight.
The doctor, of course, wants me to “switch” to formula. But, I’m going to keep pumping and nurse when I know I have milk.
Unfortunately, I only have enough milk in the freezer to last through Thursday. I have already worked on supplementing with straight formula. She also does fine with formula as well as breast milk.
Unless pumping while I’m at work improves my production by leaps and bounds, I will probably be mixing breast milk and formula bottles.
I have been taking fenugreek and blessed thistle for almost 3 weeks, but I don’t see alot of improvement so far. I also let BabyJ nurse as long as she wants as much as I can, but again, I am not really able to sustain her anymore.
According to my breast-reduction book, a lot of women who’ve had the surgery have far less success than I have, so I’m really, really trying to be OK with doing what I have to do. I just hope to continue to pump for a long time, and also hope that BabyJ will continue to want to nurse after getting bottles all day long while I’m at work.
Of the 20 ounces that MommyA brought over on Tuesday (her first day with us), BabyJ took 17 ounces, and based on that and what MommyA pumped at work that day, it was clear that we weren’t going to have enough for the week.
We ended up not needing it, but it brought immeasurably peace of mind just knowing that we had it and no matter how little I pumped that day, Peeper would not be getting any formula.
I hoped that I could do the same for MommyA and BabyJ, so at the Wednesday morning drop-off, I offered to pump in hopes of helping to making up the difference.
I was a little nervous about how MommyA might react to the suggestion, but it turns out she’d been wanting to ask, but not sure she should.
I was able to get two or three ounces over the course of the day, and we had even some left over, but by then, she’d blown through vA’s freezer stash, and we weren’t even close to having enough milk on hand for the next day.
MommyA received a shipment of domperidone on Tuesday, and we hope that will help to increase her supply to the point that she can pump enough to keep up with BabyJ on her own, but in the meantime, we’ll do all we can to make sure this little girl gets the breastmilk that she needs.
(Which is now chanting, “Filling the hole, filling the hole!”)
Helping to fatten up sweet little BabyJ is such a more positive reason to be pumping than Peeper “rejecting” me as a newborn or, later, being unable to nurse because of her surgery.
I don’t have to do this; I want to, and that makes all the difference in the world.
Also, there’s no way I can repay everyone who helped me and Peeper, so maybe this is a way I can “pay it forward.”
Disclaimers and more information:
Information on informal milk sharing, cross nursing and wet nursing:
La Leche League’s official position
A great discussion about crossnursing, or at least the urge to do so:
Have You Ever Wanted to Nurse Somebody Else’s Baby – Breastfeeding Moms Unite
Peeper had a long, lateish (3 – 6 pm) nap this “afternoon,” so I was expecting a late bedtime. She dozed off around – hmm, 11ish? – while I was talking on the phone with Frappa, but woke up while transferring to bed, and was up a while longer.
While I was waiting for her to be ready to go to bed for realsies, I put away some of her clothes that were piling up in laundry baskets – which took a while, because they included a bunch of new hand-me-downs that didn’t yet have homes – and as I was finishing that, she was kind of whining around, so I figured she was getting sleepy.
When I was done, I brought her in here to nurse, and she made quite clear that that was not what she had in mind.
So, I put her down, and she toddled off to her room.
When I got there, she had a stuffed bear in each hand, and was dragging them over to the rocker.
Now, this rocker is literally the only piece of furniture in her room that we paid more than a couple of bucks for, and of course, we never use it.
(Guess what? The computer chair also rocks. And it has a computer in front of it.)
I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve rocked or nursed her in it.
But, she wanted in it tonight, so I sat down, and arranged Peeper and two bears on my lap, and she nursed for a while.
Then she stopped, and looked and me and grinned for a while, not saying a whole lot, just sort of playing with her bears.
Then nursed some more, and stopped for a while, and nursed some more, and stopped and put my breast away (well, needs some help, but she tries), and then the weird part. . . .
She lay her head down on my chest, cuddled up, closed her eyes and went to sleep.
Without a boob in her mouth.
I don’t think she’s ever done that before.
I know this probably sounds weird, because she spends so much time in some sort of physical contact with me – I’m holding or wearing or carrying or nursing her – but she rarely just cuddles, without nursing, and I’m always like “awwww” when she does.
Don’t get me wrong, I love all that other stuff, and nursing cuddles are especially cuddly, but sometimes it is nice to feel like she just wants me for me, and not for the boob.