Thursday, June 18, 2009

The mystery of the missing milk

Remember when I said I regreted having looked down upon the decisions of other mothers? decisions such as whether or not to breastfeed for example... well, lets just say my perspective is completely different than it ever has been because of the place I currently find myself. In past years I would have looked upon a bottle feeding mommy with a bit of distain. Why, WHY would a mother choose to bottlefeed her child when she obviously has two breasts? I mean, naturally, she should breastfeed that child to give it the best start possible right? Well, come to find out, it isn't always that cut and dry.

Yesterday Little Levi and I went to see a doctor. This doctor, a special kind of MD, focuses on lactation and milk removal (i.e. my ability to make it and his ability to take it out of me, because the two processes are intimately related) What we discovered is, not only is Levi's suck quite disorganized (he has trouble with even the easiest of bottles), but my ability to make milk is what they call "marginal". I make about half of what he needs. So today, Levi in tow, I went to a lab to have four blood tests. One specifically will look at how much "prolactin" (milk making hormone) I make, while another identifies if i may have a thyroid problem. It is unlikely that, at this point, any of these issues could be fixed enough that I could achieve my "dream" of giving my son 100% breastmilk from his mommy, but at this point we're just trying to figure out what could be going wrong.

In the mean time I have to admit it's quite a struggle to feed this little guy. Each feeding is a one hour affair with a 1-2 hour break afterwards. We start with breastfeeding, 10 minutes on each side. I'm drained before that 10 minutes is up (which frustrates me to no end, every time). Then we shift to the bottle which usually holds liquid gold from my dear friend Dani. Sometimes I have some pumpped milk from myself that I'll give him first. Initially he'll suck vigerously and then, like a light switch, he'll become very discorganized and appear as though he doesn't know how to suck on the bottle at all. The This part lasts about 20 -30 minutes, either until he is zonked out, or until I simply cannot get any more food into him. Why don't I stop feeding him when he becomes discorganized and won't suck? well, because it isn't as though he isn't hungry. He is. I know he is because when I remove that bottle, however disorganized he is, he continues to root around and cry. Besides that, even if he isn't hungry the more we can get into him the faster he'll grow and there is a good body of evidence to prove that the bigger and stronger he is, the faster his suck and ability to get milk will improve - this is our primary goal.

So Here I am for another day. My life really does revolve around feedings. I'm dissapointed, I really wanted things to be different - I really wanted to ENJOY this precious time more and not be quite so irritable. I don't know what God is trying to teach me through all of this but my friend Dani may have put it best when she suggested that this whole experience may be occuring so that I can be of support to someone else down the road. We'll see I guess, but for now it really does suck (no pun intended - there is very little sucking going on)

I'll post a couple new shots when I get a chance later on. The camera must be in the office and I'm firmly planted in the livingroom trying to make sure Levi doesn't lose that Paci that's keeping him calm in his bouncy seat. I was just SURE I was going to teach my son how to "self soothe" but until I figure out just how that's done (suggestions??) I'll stick with what I know will buy me a fey precious moments.
-Melissap.s. Did I mention our little one HATED baths for his first 3 weeks? Well, thanks to a friend, we found out that if we keep a recieving blanket on him in the tub (or sink, in our case) he does MUCH better. He slept through his entire bath last night. I smell progress!


Christina said...

The fact that you are so willing to be open and sharing your experience is a good indicator that you will be able to help other women in your position.

My friend in California had the same problem with producing milk, but she didn't do any of the testing. I'll be interested to see what you find out.

Of course, I am hoping and praying for the best and that you can feel peace about it soon!

Rachel said...

Oh Dissy, your honesty is so refreshing. Thanks for helping us know how to better pray for you.

Give Levi a squeeze from his Seattle friends!