Saturday, January 10, 2009

No Fun, No Fun At All

If you are a man (aka my brother or my dad...can't think too many other men would bother reading my posts :oP) you may not want to read this...lots of nursing frustrations among other things. Maybe I should say if you are a gentleman...seems to be not many of them out there these days, but if you are a gentleman, would you please consider waiting to read whatever the tomorrow's post is?
If however, you are a nursing mom, have been a nursing mom, or hope to someday be a nursing on! I'll put up my disclaimer that I have in the past and say that I in no way intend to judge or make anyone feel poorly about what they think is best for their family or children. I do believe that if you are following after what God wants for your family, that is what is best. No two families are alike and we all have unique parenting styles. I truly believe that often times a mom's "gut" feeling can be best. Therefore, whatever your thoughts on nursing, these are just mine.
I am so frustrated. As I type Baby J is crying yelling on the floor because he doesn't want to nurse, but he is hungry. He wants a bottle. If I went and fixed him a bottle he would be very happy and stop yelling. (Trust me, he's yelling, not crying) Per my doctor's request he has been getting lots of bottles. She wants them to be all formula, I refuse, but he has been getting supplemental bottles nonetheless. Because of this he doesn't really like to nurse and gets kinda bent out of shape about it. Bottles are easier for him because he doesn't have to do any work. I am so tempted to just give him what he wants, but then I think about if Snug was doing the same thing. What would make Snug happy? Nothing would make him more happy, in his own mind, than a slice of pizza, a bowl of M&M's, and a movie. Is he going to get that because he demands it? No.
A friend of mine (thanks Christine) sent me a website today that I have read extensively. Dr. Jack Newman is a doctor in Canada that specializes in helping people with breastfeeding problems. I have copied, per his consent on the webpage, some articles to take Monday to Baby J's weight check. My doctor has done nothing but undermine my nursing Baby J since his 2 week appointment. The same office, different doctor, demanded I discontinue Snug's nursing at this same age because of a medication I was on. I have done some research on the internet, and talked again with my family doctor, and that medication has no proven effect on nursing babies. No effect-as in made no difference good or bad. Not that my doctor doesn't think that people should breastfeed...she just kind of treats it like it is a good thing for some people, but if there is ever a problem, simply switch to formula and then everyone is happy and no one gets hurt. At her suggestion I started giving Baby J bottles at 8 weeks so he was 'used to them'. As I read through Dr. Newman's articles, and others by the Le Leche League, giving bottles can be a HUGE reason why a mother's supply is low, her baby stops gaining weight, or starts refusing to nurse. Hmmm, does that sound familiar?
My pediatrician is upset because Baby J has lost weight (2 more oz this week). However, he had RSV for a good two weeks, followed immediately by vaccinations (which he really doesn't eat much ever after those) and now my stomach bug (24 hours only thankfully). Hmmm, do you think he might have lost some weight? Undoubtedly. I don't know anyone who gets severely sick and doesn't have loss of appetite or weight. However, the minute it was detected we were told to supplement. Although I didn't go straight to formula as was 'demanded' and I'm not using that word too loosely, I did supplement with frozen milk. The more bottles he has gotten, the less he has been interested in nursing. He gets kinda mad actually.
There was a TV commercial not long ago that said "I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now". That seems to be his motto. We are so thankful that his actual appetite has started coming back this weekend. That is a step in the right direction at least.
I'm not blaming my pediatrician for all of this though. Even though I have been much more informed this time around, I still could have known more. According to many articles I've read and lactation consultants I have talked to, most pediatricians know little to nothing about breastfeeding other than it is beneficial to the baby. And that is who I have been listening to-someone who knows not much about it. I'm convinced she isn't well informed after Friday's appointment. #1 said the pediatrician looked happy that it was he, not I that brought Baby J in for the weight check and told him that I was not to nurse Baby J at all this weekend. No breast milk, period. Formula only, and if he had gained at Monday's weight check then I was to continue formula feeding exclusively because my milk isn't good enough for Baby J. If, however, he still hadn't gained, there might be something medically wrong with him. To which I answer...or he's been pretty sick and then had too many bottles so he's not nursing well and so he's lost weight. I really like our pediatrician in every aspect but this one. I respect her and like how she interacts with my kids. I like that she isn't quick to hand out medication and at least to my face isn't judgemental about our decision to cloth diaper. (I've had another doctor at the same practice actually start to roll her eyes at me when she saw Baby J in cloth. She stopped mid roll and got embarrassed when she saw I was looking at her) I like that she takes time to really look at my kids and examine them. I do not like that she is so opinionated on formula and how it is the end all and be all to feeding babies.
If Baby J doesn't start to grow and becomes sickly, lethargic, or has some other medical problem, because he isn't nursing enough, of course I would put him on formula. I would never hurt him. However, I am not going to let some 'temper tantrums' (and if you doubt he can have them at that age, ask my mom! She's seen it) and ill advice stop me now. Please pray for me no matter what your take on this issue, because I do not have a high patience level and I am going to need it now more than ever.
Whew, that is I am going to try again.
Oh, by the way, Baby J rolled from tummy to back Friday :o) He has been doing it consistently ever since. Yeah for small blessings!


Deb said...

Oh my gosh, I am mad for you! Unless he is allergic to something that you are eating (like dairy, eggs, etc) YOUR MILK IS GOOD FOR HIM. period. I had the same problem with our pediatrician- when he heard that I was still nursing Bug at 10 or 11 months,he straight up told me I needed to be done and should have been since she was 4-6 months old. Um no. What right do they have to even think about telling a mom that. Pediatricians are supposed to encourage nursing as long as possible...2 years if you can get there.
I had to train Danica to nurse when I brought her home- since she had to be able to take a bottle for each feeding before we could bring her home and I could only be there for usually one feeding a day to even try to nurse her. It took me well over a month to get her to the point where she could nurse every feeding completely. You might have to retrain him if he wants a bottle so much. Did you ever get a breast shield while you were at the hospital (when you had him)? That might help with the retraining. If you dont- I think I still have mine. I can make sure it's as sterile as it can get if you want it. (I'm pretty sure it already is, but I'd do it again for ya).
If he doesnt start gaining soon, I would ask... no no- demand allergy tests. It's a simple blood test for babies. Do not let an ignorant doctor bully you into stopping before you are ready.

Erica said...

Hang in there Jenney! Stick it out with the nursing. It will be worth it.

The "supplement" with formula advice that doctors give all too frequently is beyond my comprehension. Breastmilk, YOUR breastmilk for YOUR baby, is not only better than formula, but far superior. The idea that man has developed a food for babies that is better than what God created - or even comparable to what God created is unbelievable. How on earth did mankind perpetuate itself prior to the 1900's w/o "supplementing" w/ formula?

I know there are cases where women can't breastfeed or choose not to. I agree with your disclaimer that a mom has to go with her gut and do what works for her! What angers me is the medical community's lack of knowledge, and lack of support for breastfeeding, even discouragement in some cases. It is really unfortunate!

Blessings as you work through this! I commend your effort already!!

MelArcile said...

I know that bottles aren't what you want, but the offer still stands... call me if you need to talk. Definitely praying for you and him. I can only imagine this weekend is going to be rough.

Lindsley said...

Hey...that stinks. I'm sure your milk is fine...I had a friend have a dr tell her that her milk just wasn't good...and this was after she had already successfully breasfed 3 older siblings...she changed doctors. I don't remember how old baby J is...but I will tell you about 8 1/2 months with Zaden, for whatever reason my supply majorly dropped. I'm not sure if I was losing too much weight, moving around too much, not drinking enough water, or what. He had never had a bottle, ever, or formula, but I did try to pump to see what I had...and it was less than 2 oz, which I knew for an 8 month old wasn't enough. I started supplementing (not by my dr's advice, but because I was pretty sure I just didn't have enough anymore) and he did great with it..and I did have to wean at 8 1/2 months...oh, and he was also biting me..which was just no good. Hang in there...I'm sure he's preferring the bottle because it comes out faster...have you tried the bottle with a slow flow nipple? That might not be as easy for maybe he'll tire of it.

If your dr doesn't seem to support breast feeding, which is what it sounds like, you may want to switch to one that does...I've even got one friend whose pediatrician is a lactation consultant...that's a nice combo!

Good luck and hang in there!

JD said...

OH, where do I even start?? My heart is breaking for you, it really is. I have been there, I feel your paint.

I totally, totally second what Deb said.

I breastfed both my boys, for a minimum of a year each, no formula. When my daughter was born, I was determined to breastfeed her as well. Everything was fine for the first month or two, and then it started going downhill fast. She started losing weight. She was eating enough, but something was obviously wrong. I was given the ol' "supplement, maybe she needs formula", lecture, which I told them I planned to respectfully ignore.

See, I had read the book by Janet Tomero "So That's What They're For", which I considered to be the Breastfeeding Bible (no intention to offend, I'm a Christian and have all the respect for the Bible). That book armed me not only with priceless information, it armed me with ammunition for doctors who weren't willing to support my choice to breastfeed my children.

She continued to be sick for months, we were in the hospital several times, she went through every test imagineable, and I insisted on my rights to continue to breastfeed her, despite their attempts at 6 months to force me to formula feed, threatening to call CPS if I continued to put my child in danger, telling me it was "obviously my milk that wasn't good enough", forcing me to pump to measure input/output (why not weigh her before/after a feeding??!)... the list went on. What a dreadful hospital stay.

I told them that unless they had proof that my breastmilk was the problem, I would refuse to stop. I wanted what was best for my child, but I had no proof that breastfeeding wasn't in her best interest, so I "kept on boobin' my daughter", as my family lovingly called it. They stood behind me every step of the way.

They forced us to give her ONE bottle of formula while she was in the hospital. After the two ounces of her gagging and spitting and making ridiculous faces, I threw the rest out. Within an hour or two, her diaper did something I can only describe as an explosion. It was SO bad, unlike anything I'd ever seen in my life, that I actually took pictures of the atrocious mess. I can only describe it as raw butterscotch colored egg-whites. It was everywhere. How a 9 pound baby could create such a disaster was beyond me. I called in the pediatrician who was overseeing our case, showed him this mucousy mess stretch for over 18 inches like raw eggwhites, and he shrugged and said "oh, that's normal". That's when I lost all respect for him. I demanded that she be tested for allergies, and was told that she was too young to be tested, that (and I quote) "she could not possibly have allergies, it was impossible, she'd be throwing up or having diarrhea".

My sister's child was allergic to any beef products, the meat, the milk, and anything else derived from it. I knew all about allergies, suspected my daughter had them too, and was ignored as "just a parent, what do I know?". Maddening!!

A breakfast, for my daughter, at six months? Two cups of cooked oatmeal, a banana, cheerios, and some breast milk. And she was still loosing weight. By this point, her skin had a constant purple tinge, she was raspy, lethargic, anemic, and not well. This continued until she was 14 months old. In and out of hospitals, children's hospitals, had every test imaginable, from bone scans to HIV tests, blood work, CAT scans, x-rays, you name it, she had the test.

Finally, some wise specialist at the Children's Hospital 4 hours from home told us it was either something extremely rare, or something very, very common but with rare symptom presentations. I went back, explained to a different pediatrician once more that I felt strongly that this was allergies. She agreed. That same week, I returned to work from Mat Leave, and the babysitter gave my daughter a cup of whole milk, which got her a one-way ticket to the hospital.

Mother's instincts are usually right. Allergies it was. Not just to milk, but to soy, eggs, corn, fish, shellfish, nuts, coconut, and any beef products. Anything I ate, she had. Breastfeeding her was part of the issue in that sense, but having her drinking formula would have been disastrous.

Her reaction to these allergens was that her blood vessels would break down, which made her not only purple, but caused issues with her heart, made her lethargic and drowsy, she slept and only woke up enough to eat. She was always hungry.

I ended up nursing that child for four beautiful, long years. I just stopped eating anything she was allergic to, stopped feeding her solids while introducing them back to her one by one, without allergens... and away we went.

She's now a thriving, healthy 7 year old, she's 53" tall, and weighs a solid 60lbs. And I have absolutely no regrets, other than not standing up to all the first year's worth of doctors and telling them to fly a kite.

Don't give up. This IS worth fighting for. Follow your instincts, change doctors if you have to. Don't offer a bottle. Nurse very often, even if only for 5 minutes at a time, until your supply gets back up. Drink lots of water. I would suggest to cut out dairy products for a few weeks, see what happens, but that's just me. Follow YOUR instinct.

And please, please, please get that book. Unfortunately, you can't force your doctor to read it, but I wish you could. It is really that good, and it's well written, it's actually quite hilarious, I laughed throughout the whole book. It was by far, the best investment I made when my first son was born, I think that author deserves an award.

By the way, not all allergies show up on tests, they may show a possibility, or a predisposition to it, but follow your instinct. Dairy is usually a big culprit, and there's no cost to cutting it out of your diet, so give it a whirl for starters.

I think Deb, the previous poster is right on track -- you may have to retrain the baby to nurse, it may take several weeks, but you CAN do it.

Ladybugs999 (at) hotmail (dot) com if you need to talk. :) If you email me your address, and you live in the U.S., I'm even willing to ship the book to you. That's how strongly I feel about how helpful it will be.

JD said...

P.S. I apologize for having written a novel, and for not having taken the time to spell check it. I feel your paint? Oh goodness gracious.


Megan said...

I'm so sorry you guys are having such a tough time. I'll be praying. Matthew kept losing weight for the first month of his life for some reason even though he ate constantly. He finally just all the sudden starting gaining a ton and quickly. My dr. never told me to supplement which I realized later was probably a rare thing. I hope and pray easier feeding times and a chubby baby come soon for you.