A little background. My mom, being a young new mother, was told nursing was wrong and so when she had my older brother she bottle fed. By the time she had my sister 7 years later she knew she wanted to do it differently and decided to breastfeed, even though her own mother was unable to produce enough for her children. My mom nursed my sister and later me, but also found her supply was low.
So when I was pregnant with my first I knew I wanted to give it a try. I thought if I took all the classes, read all the books and prepared enough I would be successful. My first son was born at 7#9oz. I nursed him right away. As days went by he wasn’t producing any diapers and by two weeks was near death by starvation. Looking back at pictures I see it now, but as it slowly happens you can’t tell. He was well under his birth weight and I had no choice but to supplement. He quickly took down 6oz bottles I kid you not! The true sign he had been in trouble was the fact he starting making diapers and still had meconium! Within weeks he was busting out of clothes in length and weight. It was soon apparent that he was double the average size and has remained that way his whole life. He also had gotten his first two teeth at just two months old and teaching one that young not to bite was impossible. I found myself gritting every time he nursed for fear of him biting down when the milk was not enough for him. I endured for two more months, but at just four months old I had dried up and he was uninterested.
When I had our second son I vowed to make it work…without supplement. But he was born with severe acid reflux and the doctor was less than helpful treating him, telling me it was my own problem and that I wanted a perfect baby. We had to supplement as well as he would nurse throw up and wail out for more food. I nursed him 6 months till I dried up and at 9 months old I demanded help for my sons reflux. We went to a specialist who agreed to try a medicine though he thought it wouldn’t work. That day his reflux ended and only came back when we missed his dose. But it was too little too late.
So several years later we got pregnant with our second son. I was going to change EVERYTHING I did before to make it work. I had a homebirth to avoid drugs and be more bonded to my baby. I delayed circumcision till he was over a week old to help my milk get established and keep him from being lazy. I used teas, brewers yeast, flax seed, fenugreek, more milk supplement…literally hundreds of dollars invested! I pumped between feedings and yet none of it was enough. Even my midwife weighed him and said I needed to supplement. I was devastated. We supplemented for awhile and I went to see a lactation consultant in tears. She could see I had exhausted all options, also that I had thrush in one of my breasts. She gave me meds for the trush and also Domperidone which was not FDA approved by growing popularity for helping with milk production. I took it over two months and slowly I could notice a difference. Then when he was 6 months old I started solids and he was totally weened off the supplements. For the first time I had successfully nursed solely without supplement! I was able to nurse him till he was 15 months old, which ended because I had some hormone issues that lead me to surgery and a lengthy recovery.
I am now pregnant again…WITH A GIRL! The midwives discovered I am hypothyroid which they think could have been my issue nursing all along. They are treating it now and will continue after I have the baby. I am planning for a natural birth again. I feel more and more confident and hopeful that everything is behind me and this breastfeeding experience will go more smoothly, but if if it doesn’t I feel like somewhat of a professional who knows now what to do and how to overcome low milk supply.