These last few weeks have been quite the circus around our home. Adjusting to life with a toddler and a newborn along with my husband's hectic work schedule has been quite the challenge. As the baby is getting bigger and my toddler is getting adjusted to life as a big brother, we are hoping to finally turn a corner and have more time to indulge in the little things like write a new blog entry. Up until this point, my husband and I have had to juggle constantly holding the newborn. Being able to type with two hands on a computer and not on my phone has been a luxury.
I would have to say that this baby has been an interesting experience when compared to my older child. They say every baby is different and this is certainly the case for us. With my older child, I had difficulty breastfeeding in the beginning due to a bad latch. As a result, my milk took a while to "come in." Since he was losing too much weight, we had to supplement him with some formula for a few days. This baby, however, has been completely different. Since I only stopped nursing my older child back in March (he was 22 months old and I was 20 weeks pregnant), I don't think I ever stopped producing milk. As a result, my milk was pretty much ready for this baby from the very beginning. At first it seemed great since I didn't suffer from the issues that typically surround the early days of nursing like sore nipples, engorgement, etc. I had a brand new tube of Lansinoh and gel cooling pads ready to go and I didn't have to use any of it. Since I already breastfed my older child, I didn't have any of the latch issues either. I thought everything was going great until...
Reflux reared its ugly head. My poor baby seemed to be getting too much milk! After each nursing session, he would choke and appear to be drowning from my milk! It was awful! We couldn't lay him flat on his back as recommended because as soon as we did that, he would start to get horrible reflux. It didn't matter if we kept him upright for an hour after nursing, he still would begin to spit up and appear to choke on his spit up. The only way any one in our house was to get any sleep was to literally hold him upright for what appeared to be 24 hours a day. To say that we are tired is a gross understatement.
Part of my problem after researching some of my favorite websites for information about breastfeeding was that I had a fast letdown (my milk would come out too fast) and I was over producing creating a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. With the fast let down, the milk literally came out of my body like a geyser. Its the craziest thing which never happened with my older child. I was so impressed by it, I actually took a video of it! Since it came out so fast and hard, my baby would have to release his latch or risk choking on the milk! I tried nursing at an incline so gravity would try to slow the flow and the baby would have to "work" at getting the milk out. That, unfortunately, didn't work since even being flat on my back would cause the milk to shoot straight up. Also, since I had too much milk, the baby would get full before emptying the breast. As a result, he would get too much of the watery foremilk and not enough of the fatty hindmilk. The poor guy had to deal with green, runny poop as a result of not getting enough of the fatty milk. I had read that pumping before nursing would help but that left me with a catch-22 since pumping stimulates milk production which is what I didn't want to do.
I thought the best solution for everyone was to pump and then feed the baby a bottle at least once a day before bedtime so he could at least rest at night without having reflux issues. It was a great idea until we realized the baby would not take a bottle! It seems like if it wasn't one thing it was another. On top of all of that, if he was going through a growth spurt, he would start cluster feeding which further stimulated my production.
Now that the baby is nine weeks old, it appears that things are beginning to get a whole lot better. We can now put him flat on his back for at least a few hours at a time (we don't have to constantly hold him) and he is taking a bottle again at least once a night before bed. I think the bedtime bottle has been key to helping him sleep for at least four hours at a time. I also think that his reflux is getting better simply because he's a little older and his gastrointestinal tract is more mature and able to better handle eating.
Things are better for the most part but we are, unfortunately, still experiencing little "hiccups" along the way. Tonight was a little strange since the baby refused the bottle from my husband. Instead, I gave him the bottle which seemed to break the "mold" when it comes to bottle feeding a breastfed baby. I have to admit that it was weird feeding him a bottle. I think with my oldest, I only did that a handful of times like when we were in a car so feeding my babies from a bottle is in general a weird thing for me.
I am hoping this continues so everyone gets more sleep and I may even consider donating my breastmilk. I had always wanted to do that but never seemed to produce enough. Now that I seem to be producing too much, it is something that I'd like to explore. Do you know of any good organizations that I could donate milk to?
I'd also like to share links to my favorite breastfeeding websites that provided me with invaluable information these last few weeks. I hope that you may find these websites useful if you are experiencing difficulty with breastfeeding. I would also like any feedback of other websites that are useful to the breastfeeding mother.
My favorite website. I always look things up here first before exploring other websites.
Great resource for pumping questions.
A Canadian doctor's website. He's very pro-breastfeeding and I appreciate his insight.
An Australian website with great information.