Thursday, March 13, 2014

Our Breastfeeding Journey...So Far

Felicity is 3 weeks old (!!!) and yet I feel like we've been on this rocky breastfeeding journey for WAY longer than that. In a way, I have been. When I was pregnant, I suspected insufficient glandular tissue and knew that, between that and PCOS, it was a very strong possibility that I wouldn't make a full supply. I also knew that the likelihood of our baby having a tongue tie was very high since Steven has one and there is a genetic component. So I probably shouldn't be surprised that she had a tongue tie, lip tie, and I don't have a full supply of milk, but in a way I am because of how it all came about. Or, I guess I'm not so much surprised about that, but surprised that actually nursing her has been such a battle. I started typing up what was going on each day because it all felt like one long day and I was losing details when I'd try to explain it to professionals. So here is the general timeline of our breastfeeding journey thus far:

Days 1 and 2- breastfeeding on demand, seemed to latch fine, did suspect tongue tie from tongue positioning when she cried 

Day 3- weighed feed showed no transfer and rust colored diapers showed dehydration, spent hours with hospital IBCLC, got formula samples, tried to pump, got syringe, SNS, bottles, nipples, instructions from hospital ped to feed 20-25 ml every 2-2.5 hours; aimed to mainly use SNS but she would get so frustrated that we were using the bottles at least half the time, WENT HOME! 

Day 4- Hospital IBCLC called to check on us, went back for weight check, up an ounce, pumped and got small amount (a few ml), practiced more with SNS, pumping every 2-3 hours

Day 5- visit with regular ped, up another ounce, she said we could go go 4-5 hrs at night, 2.5 during day, feed amount on demand, taking about 30 ml, attempting SNS but more often than not using bottles, producing half supply, other half formula

Day 6- if won't use SNS, do finger feed, had tongue and lip tie clipped, won't latch at all, scheduled with ibclc who specializes in suck training/refusal

Day 7- got special needs feeder and used at all feeds, producing 2/3 supply, called hospital ibclc to update per her request

Day 8- met with ibclc, possibly never needed to supplement, said to do skin to skin, rebirthing, put to breast often, sns/medela, give til 3 weeks age for things to start being smooth, writing up care plan 

Day 9 and 10- blur, used mostly SNF, family visiting 

Day 11- worst day yet, won't latch/nurse, screams at the breast, won't take SNS, down half an ounce at weight check son increase feed amount and feed every 2-2.5 hours during day and 3 at night 

Day 12-much better, latched once for SNS, once just to nurse, did rebirthing, ibclc suggests formula with breastmilk bonus until weight is figured out

Day 13- latched middle of night laying in bed, am after feed, at weight check up 2oz

Day 14- latched twice (15 min and 45) after CST chiro appt 

Day 15- latched after every other feeding, started eating 5ml more 

Day 16 and 17- a blur... lost forever

Day 18 and 19- pumping very little, latching a bit less, secured donor milk

Day 20- pumped enough for Felicity to eat without supplementation twice in a row, latched once for SNS but refused the rest 

Day 21- did breast crawl and latched/nursed for 45 minutes, using my pumped milk and donor milk at all feeds

This has been, by far, the most emotional aspect of parenthood for me. To have your baby reject the breast is a really hard experience that I'd never wish on anyone. Each day I commit to that day only, and I often think "how long should I do this? How do I know when enough is enough?". At the very least, I'd still pump and feed her that and donor milk, but I'm not ready to give up on having some type of nursing relationship with her yet, so I guess that's how I know it's not enough yet. Steven has been very supportive, and I know this has been just as frustrating for him. In a way, it might be more frustrating because it has put a lot of work on him as I need a lot of help feeding her since I'm pumping around the clock. I let him know that I will be the person to call it quits, if I do, and I need him to fully support whatever I feel is right but to never suggest that I quit trying. As of now, I'm committing to today and I'm hopeful that Felicity will continue to nurse at least once a day and maybe more. And I will take that as a win, because I can sit and stress about me not producing enough, about her not wanting to nurse, about the breastfeeding relationship I always wanted and will probably never have, or I can look at what I do have an be thankful for every drop of breast milk she gets and every minute she nurses and stares at me with those beautiful eyes. And I choose that- to be thankful. 


  1. I'm sorry it's been so rough but MAN is she gorgeous! *hugs*

  2. Wow! Gold medal for effort and determination. I will continue to pray for you and sweet Felicity as you guys make this journey together.

  3. You are doing great. If she is latching some then there is a lot of hope to have it improve. I had a ton of trouble with my first one. Really good professional help was key for me. I found the best lactation consultant in the area and paid for the private service. It was worth it. However it goes for you know that you are giving it your all and that is the best anyone can do. Good luck. What a sweet baby.

  4. Stacy, you are such a trooper. First time breastfeeding is hard, even if everything works right! And I always tell new moms that the first 3 weeks are painful and difficult no matter how many babies you have. Keep up trying but also just know that while you are doing everything you can to breastfeed, Felicity just needs to be fed, and there ain't no shame in formula!!! Thank God we have had access to it with our kids for different reasons and at different ages. Anything you can give her is great, but don't stress out about how much of your milk vs. formula she gets, she'll be perfectly fine in the end. You're being such a good Mama!

  5. Oh Stacy, my heart goes out to you. Aaron got pretty traumatized by the lactation consultant in the hospital, pretty much refused to latch for the first two months of his life, and had a tongue tie that went undiagnosed for a few weeks after he was born. I was pumping around the clock, finger feeding, and struggling with bottles, and I know exactly what you're struggling with when you say how hard it is to have your baby reject the boobs. You can count on my prayers and you're welcome to email me anytime! Also I know you're probably tired of everyone making suggestions, so feel free to ignore, but nursing in the tub was what eventually got us off of the pump and breastfeeding full time =)

    In other news, Felicity is SO SO SO SO SO gorgeous! Such a pretty baby with those wide, beautiful eyes! I hope that you and Steven are enjoying her even with all the b-feeding difficulties! xoxoxo