In Their Own Words: Kirsten
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Sweet Peas, Pods & Papas: All About Birth, B@@bs & Babies

In Their Own Words: Kirsten

This is part of a "In Their Own Words" series in honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month 2013.  Here at Sweet Pea Births we celebrate and honor all breastfeeding relationships, and want to share these stories with you to empower and inspire you that no matter what the journey, with help, support, and persistence, most mothers can achieve the breastfeeding relationship they want with their nurslings.  If you would like to submit your story, please email me at krystyna{at}sweetpeabirths{dot}com.

Kirsten's Story:
My first son was born early, at 35 weeks due to pre-eclampsia.  I was given magnesium during labor, which I didn't realize can delay milk production.  Since he was early, he had trouble regulating his blood sugars (I am gestationally diabetic) and needed to spend the first few days in the NICU. 

I was not producing milk, not even colostrum yet (thanks to a combination of prematurity, magnesium and PCOS) and he had to be given formula in order to keep his blood sugars up.  Unfortunately for us, our NICU does not allow donor milk, and also did not tell me about alternative ways of feeding, so my boy was given a bottle every three hours for the first week of his life.  He had barely even seen a breast, and already knew that he preferred the easy flow of a bottle.  

Once he was keeping his sugars up without an IV, we were discharged and sent home.  I was so scared of underfeeding him, that we continued to use formula and bottles, while also offering him the breast at every opportunity.  He didn't want it.  At all.  

I was devastated.  I had grown up knowing that I would breastfeed, my entire family did it, and did it with ease, and here we were with a baby who would rather sleep than even attempt to nurse.  I was depressed and had crying jags constantly.  

I raged at my husband, my mother, my sister.  No one seemed to understand just how important this was to me, or how awful the rejection from my own child felt.  Finally, in desperation, my mom purchased a supplemental nursing system (SNS).  We figured at least this way my breasts would be getting some stimulation (despite frequent pumping with a hospital grade pump I was still not able to pump enough to satisfy the baby), and baby would be getting as much breastmilk as was possible.  

For weeks I taped tubes onto my nipples.  I cried every time.  It hurt, I was bloody and raw from where the tape pulled on and off.  But my son was eating at the breast!  We slowly moved down to the smallest tube size, so that he would have to work a bit harder.  He continued to eat at the breast, even though it was still supplemented with formula.  

Our next move was to move the bottle of the SNS lower, so that he was working against gravity.  Again, it worked!  I was still not able to produce much milk with a pump, though, so I was worried that I would never be able to wean him off of the formula supplements.  I had already started taking fenugreek, mothers' milk teas, domperidone and goat's rue.  I felt like I was throwing things at a wall, waiting to see what would stick.  

At about three months, I decided it had to be sink or swim.  I could not continue with the SNS anymore.  I talked with my husband and we agreed to give up the SNS.  If the baby was really fussy or lost weight over the long weekend, we would just continue pumping and do formula and breastmilk mixture, and be satisfied with it.  We were done fighting this battle.  

I was so nervous the first day without the SNS.  I didn't want to accidentally starve my baby, but I knew that it was this or giving up completely.  Much to our suprise, baby was happy and content to nurse at the breast with no supplementation.  I never felt letdowns, but baby was obviously eating enough, going by diapers, and he wasn't overly fussy.  

After our 4 day weekend, we weighed him.  He had gained 5 ounces!  Clearly I was producing milk.  We were overjoyed.  The SNS and bottles were packed away, just in case, for the next baby.  

I am so proud to say that at 27 months, we are still going strong.  We even managed to nurse through a pregnancy, and I am now nursing both my toddler and my newborn.  My milk was not an issue at all this time around, I am even bordering on having an oversupply!  I credit the toddler with that.  

We had many hurdles: low supply, medical issues for mom and baby, nipple flow preference, etc.  But with some hard work (for everyone, me, baby and dad) we were able to overcome them.  I am so glad that I did.  

Nursing my boys is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done.  I am so grateful that I was able to overcome our obstacles, and feel incredibly lucky that my second son is a natural and we haven't had many problems this time around.

Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

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