Monday, November 20, 2006

A Steady Incline

So thankful that you both are well. I think there is still so very, very much we *don't* understand about nursing (and birth too)--nobody cared because it was "women's business" for years, and then formula came along and the medical establishment decided that was good enough, so why bother? Lots of women have so much trouble for no reason anyone understands! Is it the environment, or chemicals in our food, or something like that? Was it always this hard, or is it harder now?We *should* know a lot more than we do, so mamas like you might at least know how to work on it more effectively, and more babies would stay breast fed. It makes me angry that we don't. I had so much trouble with my supply, much like yours..but I assumed it was because of my c/sec. And I was so depressed that I had to put all my energy in that fight, not in nursing, so he became a formula baby at 2 months. And I felt like a failure, because everyone told me it was supposed to get easier. If I have another, I'll know I might have a fight on my hands, and plan accordingly. Thanks for blogging about it.

This comment from Dear Reader, Emjabee, really hits home the point that breastfeeding mothers are being failed. I'm all about stemming the tide of this societal failure. But first I had to confront my own predjudices. I fought giving Josiah formula in the hospital for two days. I didn't want to believe the problem was my milk supply. Then my 28 year old visited me and told me not to resist on account of my pride. He was right. I was prideful about being a successful breastfeeding mother, proud that I was the mother of nine and had homebirthed and breastfed 5 previous babies. I was also embarressed that this was happening to me- the town breastfeeding self-proclaimed guru (chairperson of the breastfeeding committee, yada, yada, yada) People came to me with their breastfeeding problems. Now I was having problems- major problems. It was a blow to my pride to give Josiah formula. I let the nurse give him the first formula bottle- still too proud to do it myself. As the days passed and it became indisputable that my milk supply was the problem, I remembered something I had heard Dr. Newman say at the conference last month. He spoke of formula feeding as a medical intervention. Surely, in this case, that's exactly what it was. I have no intention of abandoning breastfeeding. I'm taking 3 herbals and 1 medication (+ the beer) to boost my milk supply, and using formula in the meantime to increase his caloric intake. My baby needed the food, and if I couldn't supply him with adequate amounts of the best type of food, then the second best will do- for now. The more I saw him plump up as the days passed the more I became committed to supplying him with what he needed. I feel ashamed that I refused the formula at first on account of my pride instead of doing what was best for Josiah. I look at him now, his face fuller, his skin no longer sagging against his lanky limbs. I'm so thankful for the lactation consultants, and the nutritionist who worked with me to boost my supply while gently allowing me to introduce formula slowly and at my pace. I also thank you, Dear Readers- I feel your prayers and support. They are being answered because today, I pumped twice as much milk than I was getting when I was in the hospital.


Celeste said...

I'm so happy that it's all coming together for you.

I did not have nearly the support network that you had, and I found it absolutely heartbreaking to watch my baby shrivel. Formula turned out to be our miracle.

I think it's too bad that either you bring your own network or you go without. Who really expects to need such a thing? With so many pediatricians, the answer to the problem is formula--they won't work with you to solve the LACTATION problem. It's a miserable situation to be in, and I am so glad you have been delivered from it.

Flow, milk, flow!
Grow, Josiah, grow!

This is shaping up to be a very grateful Thanksgiving for your family, I think.

Laborpayne said...

Part of the credit is mine for fighting for continued breastfeeding, but part also goes to a fine children's hospital for valuing the services of its nutritionist and LC and making them a valued part of the healthcare team. Even the Ped, though she clearly wanted me to supplement, did not push (too hard) and waited till I was ready. It's true that every community/breastfeeding mother would benefit from those kinds of resources, but supportive networks can make a difference as well. Thanks for your mantra, I'm adopting it as my own.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't checked your blog in a few days so I missed this whole thread! I'm glad to hear your little guy is perking up.
You've probably heard of this site already, but since I was at a workshop she put on with LaLecheLeage a few weeks ago, I thought I'd pass on the information just in case. The site is wwwdotbfardotorg, by Diana West. While it is about breast surgeries & feeding, there is a wealth of information on increasing milk supply - including the ayurvedic herb shatavari which she says can be more effective than fennugreek. You might also want to take a look at wwwdotemofreedotcom. It's not breastfeedig related but it can't hurt. :)

All the best. I'll be thinking of you and Josiah!


Laborpayne said...

thanks sarah, I'll check it out

emjaybee said...

***blushes*** thanks for highlighting my quote. And thank goodness things are improving!

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord for an upturn in events! I know it isn't the exact outcome you were hoping for--but I am praying that you will have peace with the circumstances because you know that you are doing all that you can for Josiah.

Eating crow is never fun but I think somehow it is necessary a few times a year to keep us humble.

I had a similar experience with my first that you are having now and I can relate to the feeling of failure. I know that my experience has helped me be a better help to women who are struggling with breastfeeding. It is still sad/incredibly frustrating to me that so many women who want nothing more than to nurse their babies have SO many obstacles and some too hard to overcome. Why do women who want to do it so badly seem to have so much trouble?

Anonymous said...

wishing you the best in your efforts to continue breast feeding Josiah.

want to invite you to check out my blog,, a site to offer honest dialog and especially to address information posted on The blogger there is a physician who does not support homebirth. She had used excerpts of your blog to make a recent point.

I will make a page for you on my blog for to respond. (she removes posts and bans those who disagree with her.)

Take care --- blessings to you and your babe.


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