I know I’m going to be crucified for this by the Nursing Nazis but I’ve spoken to so many women who have had this same issue, I know I’m not alone here.
Colt was 9 lbs 4 oz and 22 in when he was born. That’s a pretty big baby. My brother and I were both big babies (10 lb/22 in and 9lb8oz/22 in respectively). From the moment he was born, I could not feed him enough. It didn’t help that I was induced and given Pitocin for 48 hours. I had been told by every lactation consultant that my milk would be in by 2 days post-partum.
It came in a day 10. And even then, we’re talking about 2 oz.
During that time, I was pumping what I could and supplementing with formula (under doctor’s order), looking forward to the day when I could just straight-breast feed my son. Yet, even when my milk did come in, it still wasn’t enough for the baby. I saw the lactation consultant numerous times, hoping for some magic trick to keep him satisfied and produce more milk. I took the fenugreek supplements, I drank the mother’s milk tea, I pumped before and after feeds in order to stimulate production. No luck.
When he was three weeks old I went to a La Leche League meeting. Colt had begun clamping down on my nipples to the point where he was causing blisters. While there, the women were all very nice and helpful. I asked questions, got some advice and finally learned how to latch him. I was actually a little sad that I couldn’t attend their meetings more regularly since they were during my normal working hours.
While I was there, I spoke to a mother whose daughter was a couple days younger than Colt. She said something that really spoke to me when I brought up having to give formula to Colt.
“My mom attended La Leche League meetings with me. I remember going to them as a child. There is a lot of good information here, but you have to do what you have to do. Don’t worry so much about it.”
She was basically saying that if it comes down between only breastmilk and and fed, happy baby, take the happy baby. After that Mike and I began feeding Colt a bottle of formula a night before bed. Now when he goes to daycare, I send him there with formula and feed him breastmilk at home. So, yes, I supplement. I have to. I have seen that child at 6 weeks old take down 10 oz in one sitting. I can’t even produce that in a day.
I recognize the benefit of breast milk. It is absolutely the best thing a baby can have, and believe me, my son is getting every ounce I create. I refuse to feel guilty about supplementing. Oh, believe me I don’t like the cost or the smell (truthfully, I don’t care for the smell of any type of milk), but I don’t feel guilty about supplementing his diet. Colt will be 2 months on Friday. In that time, he has gained 3 lbs and almost 3 inches. Not bad for a baby who was still under his birth weight at 2 weeks old.
I still hold out hope that my milk production may one day catch up with his appetite, but I’m not holding my breath. I still pump. I still breast feed him. Yes, breast is best and for the most part easier, but when he’s screaming and I am physically, mentally and quite literally drained I need to be able to feed him somehow.