I patiently waited for my milk to come in...
Meanwhile, Jonah was screaming and screaming. And his weight dropped to 4 lb 8 oz. At that point, my midwives encouraged me to supplement with formula while they looked for mama's that would be willing to donate milk. It was clear that my milk was NOT coming in. They also encouraged me to drink mother's milk tea to see if that would increase production.
This was exceedingly difficult for me. I had always dreamed of nursing my child, of the bond this would create. It devastated me. When it came time to call the pediatrician and let him know that we would be supplementing, I dissolved into tears (which quickly turned to gut-wrenching sobs) and handed the phone to Joshua. I knew my son needed to eat, but it was like tearing out my heart to not produce enough milk for him. I felt inadequate. I felt like I was letting my son down...not giving him the best. I cannot describe in great enough detail the sorrow this caused.
Layla recommended that I try using a supplemental nursing system to keep Jonah to the breast as often as possible. For those who are unfamiliar with this device, it looks like this:
The sns was frustrating. It is nerve wracking to put it on and tape it in place with a screaming baby in my lap, especially when Joshua was back at work and I was trying to keep quiet so he could sleep. But, I was willing to do whatever was necessary.
When Jonah was 10 days old, I went to a lactation support group. There, Vicki (who taught my childbirth class) encouraged me to pump often and pick up more milk special blend with goats rue in it. At the class, I weighed Jonah before we nursed, then nursed him (he still latched like a champ), and then weighed him after. My heart sank as I did the math a figured out that he was getting less than 1/4 of an ounce from me. No wonder he was screaming! I was starving my baby. This, of course, brought on a fresh meltdown.
I faithfully pumped and took my supplements. Vicki also encouraged me to bottle feed at night and do the sns during the day. This was a great move, since we were getting really frustrated at 3 am.
Eventually, we had to start formula, which sucked.
All the while, I still pumped and took my supplements.
I wish I could say that my supply increased enough to exclusively breastfeed, but no such luck. My supply slowly increased to one ounce every couple hours. It has been a lot of work.
But Jonah loves to nurse. We nurse before and after each nap. I love it. I love the feeling of closeness. And we will continue to nurse until Jonah is ready to wean.
These pictures are why I love nursing.
I get to look down at my sweet boy. And it makes my heart happy.