Jennifer's Personal Experience:
4/2011: No, lactation consultants are not excluded from having problems with breastfeeding, that's for sure, and I'm living proof. I have been fighting low milk supply due to postpartum thyroiditis for over 4 months now and my emotional journey has been a blessing as much as a burden. I have explored herbs, Goat's Rue, Fenugreek, Alfalfa, and Motherlove More Milk Plus as well as prescriptions Reglan and Domperidone. Reglan increased my supply dramatically but caused severe depression after 3 weeks and I had to stop, seeing a severe drop in my milk production. It was just heart breaking seeing my daughter pull off of me in want of more milk and looking up at me. Fortunately I pumped an extra 200oz during the first 2 months(intending to donate it to a milk bank) and have used all but 30oz so far. I've had to use SNS at the breast and experienced the frustrations of her rejecting the tube. My thyroid is slowing correcting itself and with the help of Domperidone, I am making enough milk and there has been no side effects on this medication and its been 2 weeks so far. My goal is to exclusively nurse 7 months total before introducing breast milk cereal on the 8th month. Breastfeeding is an awesome and unique experience that I share withth my daughter and it saddens me to think that she is growing up so quickly and she could stop at anytime. My first child stopped at 10 months(because I lost my supply due to uncorrected thyroiditis) and I totally was not prepared for it and I mourned the loss of our special connection for months afterward. I know this experience will make me a better lactation consultant, but its still a struggle everyday to make enough milk.
7/2011: Update:Months 4-7: I thought after I got my thyroid regulated I would be able to come off Domperidone, but with starting back to work, starting solids, and illness my milk glands must have taken a severe shot because nothing was working by the 7th month. I was taking up to 3 times more of the domperidone and only producing 1-2oz/breast. I was hoping that between the solids and apple/water and what milk I did produce that would get her to a year...but, after realizing that Vanessa Jane was not gaining weight but in fact losing weight, I knew that I had to start using formula. I finished up the last of my pumped milk and gave formula for the first time July 30, 2011. I knew it was best for her but it was still sad, my goal was exclusive breastfeeding x 1 year, but my body just couldn't keep up. Fortunately, it was an easy transition because I just used an 8fr feeding tube and she takes all of her formula via SNS at the breast. So I still get the joy of her nursing and she gets the benefit of the extra calories she needs. I still have let-downs and I know I give her an extra ounce or two each time she nurses and its interesting how she no longer "rejects" the breast by pulling off and getting frustrated. She enjoys it again. The feeding tube is pretty simple, I sterilize it everyday and get a new one every week, its only $3, so very cheap. I order it in bulk from an online medical supply store. I use a 20cc syringe to clean out the milk each time...I actually took it to church the other day and "nursed" in public, it worked just fine.
8/2011: Month 8: So, I was telling a past client/friend of mine about me losing my milk supply and she wanted to offer me her surplus breast milk that she pumped while I was helping her get her baby to learn to latch. It took over 2 months for him to latch and in the meantime she pumped a tremendous amount of milk. She is generous enough to donate it to Vanessa Jane...I pick it up next week.
Amy M. gave us 195oz, which will last us about 16days and save us about $75 in formula..Vanessa Jane had her first milk, 3oz this afternoon...I just love the beautiful yellow color and it makes me feel like I can give my baby the best again.
I'm so blessed to know such wonderful people, thank you Amy!!
Well, it took 2 weeks for her to eat well!! She gained 8oz in these last two weeks which is twice as much as she would have gained! I'm so thankful to Amy and Vanessa Jane will enjoy her bonus IQ points...I am just comfort nursing now, once in the morning and once at night. The SNS worked but it was annoying after a while. She has rejected my breast, even though I'm producing about 4oz/day. So I nurse her first and then give the bottle...she doesn't mind, she just wants to be close to her mamma! I do miss nursing her and listening to her gulp, but I love her all the same. I'm still going to try to make it to one year though...
10/2011: Month 10: Well, I increased the Domperidone from 30mg/day to 90mg/day and I went from producing 2oz/pumping to 4.5oz/pumping...its still not enough to exclusively nurse, but I do feel fuller and I was actually "engorged" and leaking milk!! I can not get away with nursing twice a day, because I'm too uncomfortable, so we nurse 4 times a day...yippeee!! She's also cut down on the formula, she'll only take about 3oz/feed instead of 6oz/feed...I'm going to maintain this dosage and see how long we make it..(a few days later)...such is life when milk comes and goes, for some reason I'm only pumping(when I'm at work) about 1oz/breast, even on the Domperidone, urghhhh...but on a brighter note, Vanessa Jane got the best gift from Ms. Riza and Baby Katherine for her 10 month B-day...700oz of donated milk...what a blessing!!!!
73 Bags of Pure BM ~ Baby Katherine & My Nessa ~ The Stash!!
11/2011: Month 11: Interestingly, I thought with Ms. Riza's "fatty" breastmilk that Vanessa would have ballooned in weight, but instead she lost 10oz!! Why? Colostrum! I forgot how colostrum makes babies stool much more frequently...one good thing is, Baby Nessa is no longer constipated! She is back up to her start weight. As for me, I trialed 2 days off the Dom and my milk production tanked, it took 3 days of power pumping to get it back up. I nurse 2-3 times/day and I've just come to accept the fact that this is how it is...I'm still going to try to make it to a year...
12/2011One Year Old: I can't believe I made it...my ultimate goal was to nurse a year and even though I wasn't able to nurse exclusively and I will always need to take Domperidone to maintain a supply(1-1.5oz/pumping)...I am very happy that I can watch my growing girl nursing contently with her precious eye lashes tickling me. It's such a wonderous feeling. I just finished the donor milk from Ms. Riza and Baby Katherine. I'm so appreciative of their genorosity. I suppose I'll just keep going. I nurse Vanessa when she first wakes up and before I go to bed and even though there is not much coming out, she is still very content to snuggle and continue suckling. What a treasure!