Monday, April 23, 2007

Two Weeks In

Well, our boy is two weeks old today.

We've been home from the hospital more than a week, and while I've been documenting as much as I can, it's really been a blur.

In short:

1. The rest of the hospital stay was fine, but constantly punctuated by doctor's visits (ob, endo, endo fellow, assorted other residents, nurses, lactation consultants) and personal visits from family and friends. I can't believe I woke up the day after the baby was born and thought "what are we going to do to fill the day?"

2. The baby lost more than ten percent of his birth weight while still in the hospital, which meant I had to supplement my breast feeding efforts with formula. This was really not what I'd wanted, as I'd really wanted to avoid any formula feeding due to my kid's potential to develop diabetes. For whatever reason, I have it in my head that because of my type 1, I want to avoid giving the baby any cow's milk formula, because it might trigger something in my boy and he may develop type 1. I've heard many mixed things about this, and my endo herself didn't have any advice about what formula to give, so we've started him on alimentum, which is an elemental formula broken down and supposed to be the best choice. I've heard that the TRIGR study, the one that is studying a potential link between what might indicate a genetic risk of type 1, is using alimentum formula for study subjects. If anyone has any insight on this, I'd love to hear it. (And as an update, since supplementing, the boy had regained his birth weight as of last Friday, and the pediatrician was pleased.)

3. As a result, I've been focused on breastfeeding the boy for the past two weeks. In short, I challenge anyone who says "breastfeeding is cheap! It's easy!" After spending plenty of money to have a lactation consultant come to my house to give me direction, money on a pump rental, new bras and a special bra so I can pump hands-free (which has been one of the highlights of my week), and spending a ton of time asking for advice in the hospital from nurses, other lactation consultants, and my friends who have managed to breast feed their kids, I have become a zealot. I feel like I just went to college and am flunking a graduate-level course on breastfeeding.

4. Why am I flunking? Because, as the high-priced lactation consultant told me, I am not producing enough milk to feed my boy solely with my milk. Not to bore anyone, but I typically pump only about an ounce or an ounce and a half at a time, and the boy is eating anywhere from 2.5 to three ounces at a meal. I just started taking an herb called fenugreek, which hasn't upped my production to where it should be. There's also a drug called Reglan that the consultant thought had bad side effects, but my OB's office is happy to prescribe, saying they put their patients on it without a problem. Of course, wouldn't you know, the OB nurse tells me that it's not uncommon for type 1 moms who are "older" (i.e., I'm 37. I'm "old.") to have milk flow problems, though frankly, I haven't had the time to research anything online.

5. As a result, feeding a newborn is a round-the-clock deal for me. I feed him every 2.5 to 4 hours, depending on whether he's had a lot of formula or a little, and I pump after every feed to maintain my supply. Feeding takes anywhere from an hour to two, since the boy takes his time actually breastfeeding, and I try to feed him until he looks obviously full (i.e., refusing to eat anything else, no longer sucking on my finger when I put it in his mouth). This takes, as I said, a lot of my day.

6. This isn't even mentioning my first week feeding the boy, where I worried about nipple confusion and the nurses taught us how to finger-feed the boy. This entails attaching a small tube to your finger and filling a large syringe with either breast milk or formula, and then slowly giving it to the baby so he doesn't get too used to a bottle. The lactation consultant told me I was being ridiculous, and that if she was urging me to give the boy a bottle, it was a good idea. I did move on to a bottle (actually, two different brands) and thankfully, it has not ruined the boy on actually latching on to the boobs. I also have developed a terrible rash all over my legs that itches like crazy. I'm told it's called PUPs, or some pregnancy-related rash, and the treatment for it will dry up my milk supply. Great.

7. Totally forgot about the Bris, which was a week ago. In short, I was a basket case. The boy did just fine. I cried all day. Hormones are totally kicking my ass. I cry at things big and small.

8. Time for another feeding, so I must depart. However, the overall truth is that our boy is actually quite beautiful, generally well-behaved and calm (knock wood!) and healthy today. The major issue is with the breastfeeding supply. I don't even mind the sleep deprivation all that much, because my prior insomniac state is serving me well here. But if anyone has any insight on the links between formula and developing type 1 diabetes, increasing milk supply, and anything else worth commenting about, I'd love to read it.


asskeeper said...

My mom had 10 children. She tried her darndest to breast feed the first two. She always swore if she were a cow dad would have sold her. Seems she lost her milk production the minute she got up out of bed. Maybe trying to laydown more might help you with milk. Take care.

art-sweet said...

I was totally breastfed. Not a drop of formula passed through my sweet lips.

Still got diabetes.

Are you ever going to post a picture of the cutie? Or at least email me one?

Michko said...

I drank tea called Mother's Milk that I got at a health food store. It made a difference. Sounds like with the help of the LC and your dedication you'll do fine.

The Town Criers said...

No no no--don't do reglan. I have a reglan horror story that will freak the crap out of you and I'm happy to tell you offline if you email me. Though I am well in touch with your milk woes. I'm sorry that I don't have any advice (except don't take the reglan!) but I do have a hug to offer.

Congratulations on the birth!!!

SaraS-P said...

Wishing you plenty of strength during this huge transition...

Laurie said...

I have zero advice to offer regarding the lactation situation, but what I do know is that it is great to get these updates and to hear that overall, everyone is happy and healthy!!!

Ottoette said...

Don't do reglan - do domperidone (Motilium is the brand name). Maybe hard to find, I ordered mine online. A compounding pharmacy may be able to help, but for me, online was much easier with a newborn. My ped's office was happy to prescribe it for me and man-oh-man does it work!
I used it for a couple weeks to get the freezer stocked up before I went back to work. Then I used it for a couple more weeks when my supply started to dwindle at 5 months due to not pumping often enough. My son showed a decided preference for the ease of the bottle by 3 months, I blamed it on using a bottle too early, but who knows?
Lots and lots and lots of fluids! Mother's Milk tea, water, anything.
Hang in there, I found for me, and many of my contacts, that the first 3 weeks are the hardest for breastfeeding and you're almost there! Aren't the middle of the night feedings with just you and him the absolute BEST?

Watson said...


I have absolutely ZERO advice for you I'm sorry to say, but just wanted to wish you much congratulations and I can't wait to read more!

Julia said...

O was breastfed exclusively, too. Still got diabetes.

Here's what I did when my supply dipped with Boo:
Oatmeal - the steel-cut variety. Lots of it.
Fenugreek - lots of it. You'll smell like maple syrup, but that's not a bad thing.
Mother's Milk tea - helped some
Lots and lots and lots of water. At lease 8 8 ounce glasses per day, more if you can.
As much rest as you can get. Nurse lying down as often as possible, if you can manage it.
Pump one side while nursing on the other, see if that helps increase your supply.

I can't stress the rest and water enough.

BetterCell said...

Hi, the awful side effect with Reglan, is that it can cause severe depression. It is used for motility disorders.
On the other hand, Domperidone which can be got at a compounding Pharmacy, can raise Prolactin levels in your blood, thus promoting lactation.
Prolactin is a pituitary hormone that stimulates and maintains the secretion of milk.


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