Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thoughts on the 2nd Round of Breastfeeding

I just thought I would write out a few things that have been on my mind lately. With the upcoming birth of little man I am starting to focus on the birth and what will come after. Truthfully, throughout this pregnancy I have been avoiding thinking about it because it tends to make me more anxious. I am not incredibly fearful of the birth because I know now just to give in a let my body do what it was meant to do. I am hoping that I will be able to do that this time around and hopefully baby won't be posterior! However, the closer I get the more anxious I get about what comes after the birth; the breastfeeding part. I think it is fear of the unknown. With Scarlett there were other factors like her weak suck, bad latch, and thrush that affected our nursing relationship and my milk supply. Last time I had to take pretty much every herbal supplement known to increase production and domperidone to even make the very very minimum. Most days the most I got pumping every 2 - 2 1/2 hours for 45 minutes was 20-25 oz. which is not enough and I fear that I did not feed Scarlett enough most days. The most I made one day was 27 oz and I was power pumping all day and ended up with bleeding nipples by the end of the day. I also struggled with Scarlett being colicky (which I now know was due to a dairy sensitivity) and and severe pain while nursing due to thrush, her weak suck/bad latch, and constant pumping sessions.

 I am not sure if I could possibly have mild Insufficient Grandular Tissue (IGT) because I do have some of the signs or if I could possibly just have a low storage capacity and will need to nurse more frequently. After having my hormones tested before this baby I know that I have a luteal phase defect where my progesterone does not rise high enough despite ovulation. There are some studies linking this to IGT. So before this pregnancy I began taking a natural supplement called Symplex F which supports your adrenals and thyroid which would in turn hopefully cause my progesterone to rise naturally. I have continued to take this throughout my pregnancy. Other things I have done to hopefully help my milk supply is continue to drink the pregnancy tea (Red raspberry leaf, dandelion, and nettle) and increase the amount of alfalfa I am taking since 32 weeks. I plan to take goats rue and  Go-lacta (malunggay) after the baby arrives.  After the baby is born I plan to continue with theses supplements and add in More Milk Plus and a lactogenic low GI diet. I took Domperidone (a drug used to increase milk supply which you have to order online) after a bad reaction to Reglan (another medication to increase supply that you can get in the US but it has more side effects) while nursing Scarlett, but don't plan to do either this time because I fear they did some damage to my stomach and hormones. I also plan to get a hospital grade pump again and pump for 5 minutes after each nursing session to provide more stimulation if needed. I met with a lactation consultant who also suggested biological nurturing. Basically this entails you being skin to skin continuously with baby for 48 hours after birth and allow baby to self attach each nursing session while in a semi reclined position. The midwife who uses this in her practice has said she has no issues with latch or soreness for mothers who use this method and less issues with milk supply. She also says babies who are allowed to do this will nurse 12-18 times in the first 24hrs compared to 4-6 times for babies sleeping in bassinet next to mom. This is huge for stimulation to the breasts for milk supply! The concept makes sense to me because I think God created babies with the knowledge of how to nurse and many times we screw it up by intervening when not necessary. The only hard thing will be to be skin to skin when people come to visit. I plan on having just close relatives the first 48 hrs then everyone else can come.

I am hoping these along with all the time spent pumping and nursing with Scarlett will increase my chances of having enough milk this time. I have some hope as I actually had some small changes in breast fullness/sensitivity this pregnancy when I had none with Scarlett.  I am hoping with all these interventions I will not need to supplement. If I did need to supplement this time I would hope to be able to find another donor or I would most likely make my own formula. I have been spending a lot of time reading a wonderful book called Motherfood: A breastfeeding diet guide which I think is by far the best book for someone with low milk supply/ IGT.  This is where I have gotten most of the ideas on what to take and I will use her ideas for a lactogenic diet minus the gluten.

I also occasionally get anxious about the postpartum period. Last time I struggled with depression and hope not to this time around. I have been taking lots of fish oil, vitamin D, and B vitamins to hopefully help. I also plan on getting a sun lamp this winter. I also know things will be more hectic this time because I also will have Scarlett to care for and hope to continue with her healing diet which will mean more work, dishes, and cooking. I am praying for a non colicky baby who actually sleeps this time around and have cut out all dairy indulgences this last month in preparation and have been taking probiotics and eating probitoic containing foods throughout my pregnancy. I also don't eat gluten and plan to not consume cruciferious vegetables for the first few months. I am hoping all of my preparation in freezer cooking will help and Chris will be able to take some time off of work after baby comes to help.

All in all, I have to remember that God has everything in control. Every day I have to remind myself to give my anxiety about the situation to Him and to put my trust in Him. I know He often can use things we have went through to benefit us. I know going through everything I went through with Scarlett has made me have more compassion on those who struggle with nursing difficulties. I understand now it is not black and white and not everyone will have an easy time with it. It has also increased my knowledge on the subject and this time around I won't have to do as much researching to find answers as I did with Scarlett. I also know that I have to be content in knowing that I am doing everything possible to have enough milk.

I am thankful for the sense of peace God has given me throughout this pregnancy. Please pray that I would continue to give this situation to Him so that I can experience His peace these last couple weeks of pregnancy and throughout the birth and postpartum period.

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