Why I’m not Breastfeeding

Here’s the super short answer:

I tried breastfeeding. Really hard. I couldn’t. So we stopped.

Well, that was boring. Do you want a little more of the story?

Baby Doc was a pro at nursing, right from the beginning. (It must be a guy thing.) He never had any problem getting where he was supposed to be or latching on. I worked with the lactation nurses at the hospital before we came home. They adjusted how I was holding him a little bit, and they gave me suggestions to help him get an even better latch.

I thought breastfeeding would be easy and natural. It wasn't. I had a lot of trouble trying to breastfeed my son.
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He was born late on a Friday night, and we stayed in the hospital until late morning on Monday. Monday morning, he was very fussy. He wanted to nurse, and nurse, and nurse. So I let him, and let him, and let him. And I asked the lactation nurses about it. They told me that he was finally getting hungry, and that my milk should be coming in “any time now.” I should keep doing on-demand feedings (basically, let him nurse any time he acted hungry), and that stimulation would help my milk to come in faster.

All afternoon Monday Baby Doc and I sat in the recliner while he tried to nurse between naps. (Or maybe he just fell asleep because he was so tired from trying to nurse.) Monday night he wouldn’t sleep unless someone was holding him, so we took shifts in the recliner. Actually, I think we were able to put him down in his swing to sleep for a little while. But this whole time is a pretty big blur to me.

My son cried almost all the time for the first 2 days we had him home. It turns out he was hungry because I didn't have enough milk for him.

(Even the cats got in on the action. This one is Pretzel.)

Tuesday morning was more of the same. If he wasn’t latched on, he was crying. Loudly. He would try to nurse until he fell asleep. He would wake up, try to nurse again, and cry if things weren’t going well. We called the lactation nurses again. Their advice was to “hang in there – your milk should come in any time now.” Well, after 2 solid hours of switching him back and forth between breasts, and only 2 wet diapers in 24 hours, Farmer Doc and I decided it was time to take him back to the hospital to get a weight and another evaluation.

We had Baby Doc weighed, and he was down to only 7 pounds (he started at 8 pounds, this was a 12.5% weight loss). After he was weighed, I tried to nurse him again. The nurses watched and said everything was going fine. After about 15 minutes on each breast, we weighed Baby Doc again to see how much milk he had gotten. Half an ounce. That’s it. After 30 minutes.

We saw the lactation consultant and found out that I didn't have enough milk to breastfeed my son. So we started supplementing with formula hoping that my milk would come in.

(Leo wanted some cuddling, too. Orleans wasn’t too sure about the new addition just yet.)

No wonder the poor kid was so upset, he was starving!

The nurse’s advice? Time to start supplementing him with formula. “Just until your milk comes in.”

Famous last words.

Next up, some details about what I tried to kick up my milk production.

  • Lana Wallpe

    Bless your heart! I lasted 6 weeks with both girls, but I think my two”girls” are more for show than function, or I just tuckered out!

  • http://alarmclockwars.com/ Marybeth @ Alarm Clock Wars

    Turns out my girls are mostly for show, too. ;)