The last week or so has been a little rough around the edges. We've had so many appointments to go to & finally, as of yesterday afternoon, I am starting to feel better about everything. What's up, you ask? Well, about a week ago it became apparent that Gretchen wasn't gaining back any of the weight that she lost after she was born. Thankfully she was 9lbs 6oz when she was born & has a little more leeway. However, this stuck a worry chord in my heart & until yesterday I was feeling very, very stressed about my little girl. Basically, she's getting enough to sustain herself & be hydrated, but not enough to grow.
The lactation consultant that I spoke with yesterday was fabulous to us & so helpful -- she estimated (after observing me pumping some milk) that Gretchen is probably getting about 50% of her caloric intake from me, so I would have to start supplementing. So, I've rented a big fancy pump (since the $70 hand pump that I bought doesn't seem to do the trick) and I will be supplementing with both expressed breast milk (when I can get enough) and with formula. I had been worried about giving her formula (some sort of mother guilt, I think... though I know I have no reason to feel ashamed or upset about providing sustenance for my child) but I will do whatever it takes to fatten up my little sprog. There is a good chance that I won't continue with formula, as long as I can increase my milk supply, but if not, I'm going to be perfectly as ease with using both. Phew.
Last night I started topping her up with about and ounce or so of formula after she nurses & it's already making a world of difference. She's happier, she's sleeping a little better & she just seems to be so much less fussy. It kills me to know that I wasn't making enough for her to be completely full after each feeding and this is why she was fussy & upset & wanting to feed 24/7. It's also frustrating to know how easily my mood effects her. When I am stressed, she is stressed. When I am calm (as I have been since speaking with the lactation consultant) she is calm. We have an incredible symbiosis & I want to keep it balanced. As hard as I tried, I was so upset that I had tears when I was nursing her because I couldn't keep her happy & the pain in my breast was so great. Now I will be pumping after most feeds to try & increase my milk supply. I've also started taking domperidone which helps to stimulate lactation as well.
I also want to get the following off my chest: Yesterday I also saw a pediatrician (just in case he could figure some other reason for Gretchen's lack of weigh gain) and it was one of the most awful experiences I have had to endure. This may sound terrible, but I'm beyond feeling sorry about it -- the pediatrician was a man, easily in his 60s, wearing a terrible red bow tie. He treated me like I was the dumbest person he'd ever come across, prescribed some pills without helping me with the breast pain or offering any other suggestions for why she might not be getting enough milk. He also said not to feed her so often & to give her a pacifier in between because this way my milk would build back up before her next meal. Seriously? My child is almost a pound underweight & you want me to feed her LESS and give her a hunk of plastic instead of my breast? If Gretchen hadn't been crying & upset in the doctor's office I may have screamed at the man. Now, I don't think that there is anything wrong with a pacifier, but not when she is clearly hungry & not just looking something to hold in her mouth. She's three weeks old, for goodness sake. Skewed logic, old man. He was just so rude to me. He also scoffed at me when I told him I'd been drinking fenugreek tea to help with my milk supply & he said, and I quote, "There is no science to that, but you can keep drinking it if it makes you feel better. It mostly just has caffeine." WHAT?! My eyes almost fell out of my head at this point. For one thing, fenugreek is not caffeinated. It's also been proven to help with milk production & it was recommended by two lactation consultants & my midwife. When I told this to the lactation consultant yesterday she had the same reaction to me & said to ignore the pediatrician. I'm sure you can sense by now that I am ranting like crazy here, but if you've ever heard similar bullshit from a medical professional then I'm sure you understand my frustration. This doctor also wants me to come back on Monday to see if the domperidone is working (which is MUCH too soon to tell a difference). Cringe! Scream! Bah!
Alright, if you've made it this far you deserve cookies & tea & a big hug for putting up with my rambling. I appreciate it very much. It's so hard to be worried about your child & have someone like that come along to infuriate your further. Thank goodness I saw the lactation consultant afterward & have had all anxiety cast aside by her kindness & helpfulness. There are always good people in this world who will be there to pick you up when you feel like you've hit the bottom.
On this note, I hope everything is going well for you & your families on this fine, sunny Saturday. Cross your fingers that my little loinfruit puts all of that weight back on & is a chubby little munchkin in just a few weeks. Thank you for caring. Peace.