Edie's got a fantastic latch and is a great sucker- in fact sometimes it feels like a small tiger is pulling at my nipple instead of a baby, but all the specialists say she's doing great. The problem? I have no milk. Everyone said it would come in around day 3 or 4, but here I am at day 9, and I'm producing virtually nothing. I've talked with the hospital lactation expert, and that phone call ended with me in tears over my guilt at not providing. Per her advice, I'm now on Funagreek, which is an herbal supplement that's supposed to bring milk in, but so far no dice. I'm also pumping after almost every feeding, which is the most defeating experience ever. It's bad enough that the pump hurts, but to sit there feeling like a cow being milked, arms aching after holding up the suction cups for 20 minutes and look down to see that there is literally half a teaspoon of milk in the bottle breaks my spirit a little. I mean, why am I bothering? All this work and I now dread every single feeding. The routine is getting more and more complex; until this afternoon I would "hand express" for a few minutes, then feed on the breast for 20 minutes, then hand her to Jeff quickly who would bottle feed her formula while I hooked myself up to the pump for 20 minutes and tried not to cry from the pain.
I talked to my Mom about it over the weekend and the Mom-Network put in a few calls.The next day, I got a call from a friend of a friend of my Mothers who happens to be a Lactation expert. She took pity on me and came by this afternoon for a complimentary house visit. SO nice. She was much nicer about everything than the woman I'd talked to on the phone last week and was very patient. That said, she weighed Edie before and after my 40 minute feeding and Edie had only gained a half ounce or so. Basically, confirming my self diagnosis - NO MILK. She sold us a device that attaches a big syringe like thing to my shirt, the syringe has a teeny tiny tube that gets taped to my nipple. Then, I feed her at the breast, but she's sucking from the formula syringe/tubing as well as from my breast at the same time. This will hopefully reduce the need to pump and eliminate the need for a bottle. She seemed optimistic that with the Funagreek and this new device, that my supply would increase dramatically. But truthfully, I'm not too hopeful. I'm already thinking of setting a deadline by which if things aren't improving, I give myself a break and just shift to bottle feeding exclusively.
All the "breast is best" stuff out there is just so guilt inducing! It's not as if I don't WANT to breast feed, but Jesus. If my body could hold up a sign to my face saying "THIS ISN'T WORKING" I think it would. I just keep thinking, "*I* wasn't breast fed and I seem to have turned out alright". In fact, my parents repeated this sentiment to me just the other night when I called them all teary about the issue. I just feel so prematurely judged over the whole idea of throwing in the towel. That and of course, I want to give Edie the best shot at a healthy immune system and all that business... My pediatrician was so nice about it this morning. He asked how it was going with the feeding and I immediately teared up. He handed me some tissues and gave me a speech about not listening to all the hulabaloo. Of course breast is first choice, but if it isn't working, it isn't working and that I shouldn't let anything or anyone make me feel guilty. He was so nice and stressed how new mothers are too hard on themselves, which of course made Jeff look at me all "I told you so" because he'd essentially been saying the same thing to me all this time.
Anyways, sorry for the pity party. If you can, please do a milk dance for me. Not sure what this would look like, but I envision it would involve cow costumes and some sort of hopping and chanting. If you don't have a cow costume on hand, you could probably just moo every once in a while during the dance.