When you want to breastfeed but can’t- My Wife’s story
I thought it was important that share this for new moms and maybe you can use some of the information in feeding your baby.
My wife planned to breastfeed our daughter when she was born. She was completely distraught when she found that she was unable provide enough milk for our daughter.
I understand that breastfeeding is the best way to feed a baby but I feel that society has created a narrative for moms which makes them feel bad if they do not. I also understand that many of us were raised on formula and are doing fine (our pediatrician said formula was not a big deal as long as our daughter was happy and gaining weight which she was). There are even some self righteous assholes who use breastfeeding to pat themselves on the back while taking shots at mothers who are having a difficult time at it.
Dad/husband opinion: Moms, please understand that even though breast milk may be the best food (though only marginally) for the baby you also have to consider your baby’s overall quality of life. If you are always stressed and upset from trying to breastfeed when it does not work for you this is affecting your baby’s quality of life too. One of my wife’s friends mentioned that she realized how crazy she was making herself when she was pumping while her baby sat in the chair and cried.
Doctor says: When it comes to breastfeeding, your health and happiness matter as much as your baby’s (when this was posted on Facebook assholes were still posting that formula is killing babies)
I am willing to bet that many moms have similar stress and issues over breast feeding but they are embarrassed to talk about it so other moms do not know that this happens often. There are breastfeeding meet-ups that moms can join like the ones put on by LA Leche.
My wife tried everything from supplements, lactation consultants, to YouTube videos and message boards. In the end it looks like she had several issues that made it hard for her to produce enough milk.
- Retained placenta-her body did not know it was no longer pregnant (this almost required a DNC which was scary because it could hurt her chances of having another baby. She ended up taking Cytotec to resolve this. Moms, please make it clear that your doctor needs to thorough inspect the placenta right after birth to keep this from happening)
- It looks like my wife happens to be one of the 2-5% who cannot produce enough milk
- Latch issues-Our daughter had trouble latching, partly because of weak mouth muscles, and partly from tongue ant lip ties and she really hurt my wife’s nipples because of this making it very very hard to breastfeed
- Dog died which created an abnormal amount of stress in her life at that most likely hurting her supply
My wife worked with several lactation professionals but we found they were limited in helping in my wife’s case. Sometimes I felt they were just cheer leading and not providing activities we could do to improve breastfeeding. This was frustrating. We seemed to get the most help from YouTube videos.
This Video helped the most:
Things it was not:
- One of the message boards says for her to get checked for diabetes but she has none of the symptoms
- She had her thyroid checked and it was where it needed to be
There is a chance that she has insufficient glandular breast tissue but it is difficult to measure this.
My wife found there are several things she can consume that are supposed to help her supply.
- Fenugreek supplement
- Flax seed
- Mother Love supplement-More Milk Blend
- Domperidone (She got a prescription from her doctor but since it is not available in the US she had to get it from over seas, also she found this is making her hungry all the time and if she stops cold turkey her supply will tank, she got it from https://www.inhousepharmacy.vu/,)
- Dark beer
- Mother’s Milk Tea
- Lactation cookies (with brewers yeast and flax seed)
- Blackseed Oil
- Goats Rue
At one point she tried to clean up her diet but it required her to spend more time preparing food and was not able to get enough calories so her milk took a temporary dip.
Other tricks to increase milk production
- Skin to skin time
- Power pumping
- Frequent pumping
She also rented a hospital grade pump (Medela Symphony) from the baby store but she is now using the SpeCtra S2 since it hurts less and there are claims that it will pump more milk then the Symphony. She was able to get the SpeCtra S2 for free through the insurance.
She was pumping every 3 hours to begin but then she switched to pumping about 5 times a day while still being able to increase. By doing all of these things she has slowly increased to making about half of the baby’s food while keeping her sanity.
From the beginning we new we had to use formula because our baby had Jaundice and we wanted to make sure she was able to thrive. We have read that some moms are so against formula that their babies fail to thrive and end up in the hospital.
We had to go through a few formulas
- Babies Only Dairy with Whey
- Holle Bio-Anfangsmilch 1 (This is from Germany which in many cases has better food/consumer protections in place then we do, she found it the cheapest from here http://organicmunchkin.com/)-We really like this formula.
There is another German which we thought was better but it is hard to get sometimes and we did not want to run out.
Through all of this she has continued pumping to feed our baby some breast milk. I am very proud of her because this is very taxing and time consuming for both of us (I am trying to be very involved). If you have similar problems it is okay if you decide to stop earlier then we have. We are lucky that our living/working situation allows us to do this. Over the last 13 weeks she has increased to 15 ounces a day.