My milk supply has been hurting for more than four months now and ever since my breastfeeding relationship with Monkey has been a bit of a roller-coaster. When I first noticed my supply dropping, I immediately called my lactation consultant (Melissa at Luna Lactation in Portland…she’s amazing) to meet and discuss. We confirmed that Monkey had dropped half a pound in about a month’s time. Melissa seemed to think that my supply truly began to decrease when I had the mirena implanted at 3 months postpartum. Between her and my naturopathic doctor, we created a plan of attack to get my supply back up. First we removed the mirena, and then had some bloodwork drawn. My bloodwork showed that my prolactin was low, and so Melissa had my doc call in a script for domperidone. Ever since, I’ve been on so many supplements + domperidone, you’d think I was dying or something..but they worked. By the time Monkey’s 9 month well baby visit rolled around, he had gained over a pound in a month. I was pleased.
For the last month or so, I’ve felt like my supply was been back up. It’s so hard to tell, because I know that they say once your supply regulates, you don’t always get that ‘full’ feeling anymore. But, when my supply was dropping – I just knew. For the last month or so, Monkey seemed to be satisfied after meals again, but I’ve never been 100% sure. In fact, we had his blood drawn just a couple of weeks ago and all checked out okay – this was some much needed reassurance that he was getting the nutrition he needs. I was happy!
This was until a couple of days ago. I ran out of my domperidone last Monday. More is in the mail, but not here just yet (it was supposed to be here last week.) I really started to suspect something wrong on Thursday evening because Monkey started crying at my breast. I didn’t feel quite as full, but I thought maybe he was just tired. I kept encouraging him to feed and then rocked him to sleep. Friday night, he did it again. He cried so hard, that he started doing that cry where he stops breathing for a second – that painful make momma’s heart break cry. I called to Brian and asked him to bring down some milk in a bottle. I was hoping that Monkey was just overtired, but deep down I knew it was my supply. I knew it was slipping away. Monkey scarfed the bottle. I’ve never seen him down a bottle so fast in his life. This is the same baby that I’ve been trying SO HARD to get to drink from a bottle for the last two months (in preparation for the BlogHer conference I’ll be at starting Wednesday evening). He normally refuses and wants absolutely nothing to do with the bottle. Not Friday night…Friday night he couldn’t get enough. My heart sank.
On top of it all, we can’t get Monkey to drink formula. The thing is, he can’t have just any formula…since he has the dairy sensitivity we have to avoid most regular formulas since they are dairy based. For the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to get Monkey to drink a homemade coconut milk formula with no luck. We tried a bottle, a cup, a sippy cup, a cup with a straw…you name it, we’ve tried it. We decided to try a soy based organic formula yesterday, but he wanted nothing to do with it. Tomorrow, we are going to try Baby’s Only organic lactose free formula. I know it’s still dairy based, but it’s lactose free so it might be all right. I’m crossing my fingers so hard that he actually takes it, and then of course that his tummy can handle it. It’s hard enough as it is not being able to give my baby what he needs, but the fact that he won’t take anything else is just devastating.
So, I was able to get my doctor to call in a new prescription of domperidone locally so that I can pick that up tomorrow. I will be there first thing when the compounding pharmacy opens and plan to take the first dose immediately. I’m not sure if running out of the domperidone is really what caused this crazy drop, but I’m crossing my fingers so tightly that it is. I also got my first true postpartum menstrual cycle last week, so that may have done it too. Honestly, my gut has told me for a week or so that my supply was dropping, but I didn’t want to believe it.
And of course all of this happens right after I decided to organize the group milk donation at BlogHer. I still want to be a part of it, but at this point I think I want to save any milk I am able to pump while I’m there instead of donating. My Monkey will need it. I still want to get together with the other pumping moms, and I’d still love to help them donate to someone in New York.
Breastfeeding has truly been a whirlwind of a journey from me. It’s had its ups and downs – got off to a very rough start, but it has been the most amazing experience and it has formed a truly beautiful bond with my son. I have loved it so much more than I ever could have imagined and I am not ready for it to stop. I never thought I would be faced with this before his first birthday. I keep telling myself that ten months is great, but it’s not enough to heal the wound that has formed. I keep telling myself that ‘this too, will pass’, but it’s so hard to believe right now. I just want my breasts to start working again, and I want Monkey to eat some kind-of formula…I don’t even want to think about what will happen when my stash runs out in a couple of days.
So, what’s going through my mind? I feel like a failure. I feel like Monkey looks up at me wondering why I’m not feeding him, why I’m depriving him of what he needs, what he wants, what he deserves. That’s been the hardest part of all of this. He’s just a baby and he doesn’t understand why mommy can’t feed him like she used to. I know I’m not a failure, but it’s very hard not to feel like one.
Has anyone experienced something similar? Were you forced to end your breastfeeding relationship sooner than you would have liked? Did you have a baby who wanted nothing to do with formula? If so, please share your story and any tips you may have!July 29, 2012
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