Day Two | Success with Hard Work
Megan is no stranger to breastfeeding. Yet with both of her first two sons, she struggled with low milk supply. She worked really hard to increase her supply, always using formula and donor milk to supplement where she needed. In her words, “It was very frustrating and hard not to feel like I was failing my babies.”
What a true an honest statement that is for so many mamas. To feel as if we are failing our little ones by not producing enough milk. This is a very common emotion and really hard to move past. I am here to tell you mama, you are not failing. Do your best, even it that means using donor milk or formula. A fed, loved baby is all that matters.
Expecting her third
As she had already been through low milk supply with her first two sons, she felt ready to handle it with her third. “I had formula, a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS), pump, the number for an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), and a scale (for weighed feedings) all ready to go.”
A different beginning
While she felt ready for her journey with this baby, she did not expect that he would need to spend his first four days of like in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). She would in turn need to spend these days exclusively pumping, supplementing with donor milk from the Mothers Milk Bank. She would pump every two hours around the clock to help her milk come in and to have a stash when he was ready to come home.
Continuing their journey
“Thankfully he latched immediately once I was able to hold him and has been an amazing nurser! We still had to supplement to keep steady weight gain, but with the help of the SNS and paced feeding when he did get a bottle, he never developed the bottle preference that my others did.”
It did take some practice to learn to use the SNS and get it into the right position, but she says it is pretty straight forward. “When he was fighting using it at the breast, I would put it on my finger instead and have him suck on it that way. Not sure why he preferred that, but it greatly decreased the amount of bottle use needed and helped keep him interested in breastfeeding.”
“We started using medications on top of pumping to increase my supply [power pumping for an hour every night after his evening feeding] and by 8 months he was off of all formula/donor milk and taking it all from the breast!” Power pumping only lasted about 8 weeks for her. It was a huge time commitment and she says that she didn’t see enough of a difference to make it worth continuing.
“It has been an amazing experience to finally get to a point where breastfeeding is just a comfortable joy rather than a constant struggle. After 3 babies, multiple lactation consultants, herbs, and meds I felt like I had finally achieved a huge dream. He's now 15 months old and It's still his favorite thing!” Partly because of this she has no plans to wean him and is prepared to let him self wean when he is ready.
It is so sweet to watch his brothers be so attentive to him when he nurses. “They love to come snuggle with us or read him a story while he nurses.”
A new set of struggles
While she has had such a huge victory in being able to exclusively breastfeed after 8 months, she has had other struggles, as most mamas do. This struggle has come in the form of the acrobatic nursing boy. He has always had an affinity to sitting up while he nurses and now he has started jumping and doing all sorts of crazy things. While this is frustrating and can hurt at times, they are nursing through it.
“We used so many resources from FB pages and friends to certified lactation consultants, doulas, and nutritionists. I would encourage other moms to reach as far as they need to in order to find the help and support they need!”
When it comes to finding and using donor milk she used a combination of the Milk Bank, Human Milk 4 Human Babies (a Facebook community) and close friends. “Don't be afraid to ask. Many moms still don't realize that there are babies who could really use their extra milk.”
Thank you so much for joining us for day two of the 31 Days, 31 Stories Breastfeeding Awareness Project – 2019! I hope you found some comfort in Megan’s story and would love if you left her some encouraging comments. If you would like information of sharing your own story, send me a message and we can discuss the details. See you tomorrow!