Friday, January 22, 2010

My Breastfeeding Story (outlined)

Why I have difficulty with breastfeeding?

1. I did not read enough about this topic during my pregnancy.
2. I should have had contacted the local La Leche League.
3. I should have listened to other people to attend more classes about it. I attended just 1 short class and it was very basic.
4. I had Gestational Diabetes and my baby had borderline low blood sugar at birth. He was given 4 oz of formula to bring up his sugar.
5. I assumed that my baby will have nipple confusion because of number 4. Most literature said "no" to formula supplementation due to nipple confusion. I was discouraged early on that I will be able to breastfeed.
6. I sent my baby to nursery at night during our hospital stay so I could recover from my surgery. Most literature recommends to room-in so I could nurse the baby more often to stimulate milk production. But I was in pain, highly medicated and exhausted that I gave in to my husband's plea to send him to the nursery.
7. After colostrum which my baby was able to take, I did not have a drop of milk for about 7 days. So, I formula feed. I cannot stand a hungry baby.
8. After that, I had a very low milk supply. I was pumping and pumping since hospital stay. Initially, there was none. It slowly crept up but I continue to supplement because of the baby's voracious appetite and my supply was way low for it.
9. Because of that I lost all confidence that my body could supply my baby's need. I continue to pump, though.
10. Now, my baby lost his patience in suckling into my breast and prefers the easier silicon nipple.
11. It was a busy week for maternal ward when I gave birth and lactation specialists did not really give too much attention to me. (That's how I felt)
13. I gave up so easily on SNS feeding because of too much work.

I was about to give up but I persevere to increase my milk production. This could possibly be my only baby and I would like to do my best, at least for couple of mos, to give him breast milk. What did I do?

1. Follow the lactation specialist's recommendation of pumping at ;east every 2 hours or after feeding for 15 to 20 minutes using hospital-grade pump.
2. Also from my lactation specialist - eat more oatmeal, dates, brown rice, and green leafy vegetables.
3. Take supplementation of fenugreek capsules.
4. I took prescription medication, Reglan, to stimulate my brain production of prolactin. This made me so sleepy. So, I just took it for 1 cycle.
5. Slowly familiarizing my baby to my breast again.

Where am I now?

My baby is about 99 to 100 percent breast milk fed. He continues to get most of it through the bottle. I continue to pump every 2 to 3 hours. I don't pump at night anymore. I just have him latched to my breast in the middle of the night. I continue to be paranoid that my baby is not getting enough milk when directly latched and I tend to offer formula when he's fussy after breastfeeding. Pumping is getting more difficult because he demands more attention now and I am tired of washing the small parts along with baby bottle parts (I am using Dr. Brown's) every couple of hours. My hands are dry, cracked and sore from frequent hand and baby stuff washing.

I take it one day at a time. As long as there is milk in my breasts, I will offer it to my baby. My initial goal before I gave birth was to breastfeed for 1 year. Now, I'll be happy if I could do it for 3 mos.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Immediately after hanging up the phone on my mother for the second time that day, I felt the heavy weight of guilt and overwhelming sorrow. "Should I call back and apologize?" I asked my husband. Actually, I was looking for re-assurance that I did the right thing and he read me. "No" he said with biased conviction. "You did not do anything wrong!" He added. Hmmmm... Just what I want to hear from my spouse but I still felt uncertain. After all, it was an ugly and intense shouting match. Decades of hurt and hostility crammed in that two phone calls.

The relationship between my mother and I can be described at its best as volatile. A small spark can start an ugly fire. Most of the time it is hostile. The feeling started early on within me. It became worst since I moved to this country. Probably, the openness of the society and my so-called "Americanization" fueled this hidden anger. Or, maybe I see myself too much in her and I want to change it. It is a very complicated love-hate relationship. Dysfunctional is what I described it. But I know that if I don't resolve our recent fight, it will just bring me down for a long time as it did before.

After several minutes of serious contemplation, I realized that it is the past that has the gripped of us. Everytime there is a new irritation between us, the past always comes out. I blamed her for all my troubles and she did the same. The intention is to hurt the other person. It did just that and made each defensive. Very unproductive use of time. So, I decided to call back. She answered with a sad hello. I told her that I want to call a truce. I told her that I just want to start anew. We cannot change the past that tied us in the dark, unforgiving emotional state but we can forgive each other and promise not to bring the past in our next argument. Both wanting to move forward, we made the pact.

My skeptical husband who witnessed so many verbal fights between myself and my parents, said just take it one day at a time. This time I think is different, I hope.
Genuinely realizing that I cannot change the past nor my parents for that matter, it seems like a heavy weight lifted from my weary shoulders. According to Anne Lamott, "Forgiveness is letting go of all hopes of a better past." That's the forgiveness I want and need.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Almost 10 weeks


The new baby, Benji, certainly changed our family dynamics. The first night home was the most difficult. Benji did not sleep that first night and I was in pain from my C-section. Jason was left tending for both of us and I sensed some irritation due to fatigue and frustration. Fast forward to now, we got our routine down. I recovered from surgery. Benji is getting used to us and us to him. We are still learning. Two things are for sure -- we cannot imagine life without Benji and our priorities shifted. He has changed us, for the better or worst, I am not sure, yet.

However, whenever I see that smile, all the difficulties of parenthood just melts away. Now, only if he smiles more often than he cries, life would be perfect (just my wishful thinking).