It truly is a miracle.
Grady was just a few hours old when he started screaming inconsolably. Of course my milk hadn't come in, but he was just ravenous. He would scream bloody murder if he wasn't latched on. That was fine for a while, but the kid couldn't stay latched on forever. He wasn't getting anything it seemed (he wasn't swallowing at all) and he was just getting tired. Finally, after having him latched on for about 2 hours straight (and for most of the time period, on and off), we opted to give him a little supplementation. This went on for the first 3 days of his life I guess...or until my milk came in that is. I think my milk came in on Monday night...I had him on Saturday morning. Anyhow, my milk came in but I never had any engorgement or anything...not even almost engorgement. I talked to several lactation consultants over the phone over the next few weeks and read tons of books and pamphlets on the subject of breastfeeding. Everyone kept telling me that they were sure Grady was getting enough...that I was just being a paranoid new mother. They said that I just needed to relax. They said that if I just fed Grady often, the supply would be there...the whole supply/demand rule of thumb. First of all, I am always pretty dadgum relaxed. I knew that wasn't the issue. Secondly, I fed Grady all the time...there was nothing there. Poor thing still wasn't ever really even swallowing when I fed him. And, even though I was a new mother, I knew my kiddo wasn't being satisfied, or even almost satisfied...he was constantly awake and crying. He was miserable. So, throughout the first few weeks, we kept having to supplement him.
Finally when he was about 6 weeks old, I decided that I was going to a lactation consultant and meeting with her face-to-face. I had already been taking some herbs recommended to me. Basically, this is what the lactation consultant told me to do: 1) I rented a hospital-grade pump and after I had nursed Grady and then supplemented him, I would pump on each side for at least 15 minutes
2) I was given even more herbs to take and more teas to drink
3) of course I drank water nonstop
Good thing I didn't have other kids at this point...these things took up ALL of my time.
When Grady was around 13 weeks old, I flew with him to Louisiana to visit family. The pumping was supposed to boost my supply by upping the demand you see. Didn't work. The lactation consultant would weigh Grady, let me feed him, then weigh him again and be able to tell how many ounces he truly was getting. Basically the conclusion, even on follow-up visits, was that I was making about half of what he required...even after the pumping and taking the herbs and drinking the teas and tons of water. So, when I flew to Louisiana I decided that God would just have to heal me if He wanted me to nurse Grady. I definitely wasn't packing along a hospital-grade pump. I decided that 6 weeks was long enough to do all of that stuff.
So, I just nursed him and when he wasn't satisfied I gave him a bottle. After about 3-4 weeks of this, my milk was completely gone. So, when he was around 3-3 1/2 months old, he became a fully bottle-fed baby.
We prayed and prayed that I would be able to feed Hadley just fine...without any complications and without having to pump or take herbs, etc. Well, she came and basically it was the same as it was with Grady. I went to the same lactation consultant before Hadley was even a week old. My milk had come in when Hadley was about a day and a half old, but still the same...not enough. I knew my history and so I was able to tackle the problem quicker this time. I did all the things that I did before. We also were able to figure out that along with just not making enough milk, my let-down response was "broken." :) I would have a let-down, the baby would actually get milk for about a minute or less...then there would be no more milk until I had another let-down, which was always 5-10 minutes later. With Grady and with Hadley I was told to take this stuff that is supposed to relax you, therefore allowing you to have a let-down easier. I took it very obediently, even though I knew that wasn't the problem. As mentioned before, I'm not the kind who gets uptight. I would be so relaxed that I was sleeping, hello...and still no change in my let-down and the baby being satisfied. So, no...that didn't work either.
I pumped and did that whole thing with Hadley for about a week and a half. Then I came to my senses and decided that it was totally ridiculous. It hadn't helped with Grady and it hadn't done a single thing in helping this time with Hadley either. I decided I was done being attached to a pump, so I took it back. The lactation consultant finally mentioned something that was a bit controversial and hard to come by. It kind of irritated me that she hadn't mentioned this when I was struggling through trying to nurse Grady, but whatever...she told me about a drug called domperidone (Motilium). It isn't approved here in the U.S. Basically there is another drug that is already approved here that does basically the same thing (Reglan), so there's no need in spending all that money to have domperidone approved, but one of the side effects of this gut medication is that it promotes milk supply...weird huh? So, we found one certified nurse midwife that would prescribe it for a short amount of time to see if it would work to get things going...the hope was that I could take it for 2-3 weeks and that would do the trick to get things going. I did that and it worked great, but I was never able to get off of it. The midwife wasn't comfortable coninuing to prescribe it, so we had to order it off the internet from Europe. :) But, thank God for domperidone...I was able to nurse Hadley exclusively. When she was around 6 months old, we started offering her a bottle (formula) at night...sometimes she would take it, but most of the time she was satisfied with just nursing. So, it was a great gift to be able to nurse Hadley, even though I did have to take medication to be able to do so.
So, there's my history. What happened this time can be explained no other way than a true healing...a miracle of God. I have done nothing differently, except that I haven't pumped or taken a ton of herbs. I have been drinking Mother's Milk Tea, but that's just because I had some and I like it...I really don't think it's necessary. I have also been drinking alot of water, but no more than anyone is supposed to drink. And, it's perfect. God totally and completely healed me and we are so grateful and thankful. It's been so great. Nursing without the hassle of all those other things is such a blessing. For all of you who have nursed your babies without any problem, I am finally getting to see how good you've had it. :)
I've never been totally against formula or anything...good thing since I needed the help of formula, esp. with Grady (just a sidenote here...my babies always preferred the breast over a bottle...no nipple confusion with them...and, they always knew exactly how to latch on, so that wasn't an issue either). And, my reasoning for wanting to nurse exclusively was not for the bonding aspect either. To put it bluntly, I don't have to have a baby attached to my boob in order to bond with him/her. We all know that breastmilk is better than formula...that's a given. But formula isn't horrible...it does the job when needed. My reasoning for wanting to nurse exclusively is two-fold:
1. It's just so dang convenient...you don't have to worry with bottles and formula and water to mix it with, etc. The baby's food is always with you. SO nice.
2. As you've seen in other posts, with most things I really prefer the all-natural way. Breastfeeding is definitely the all-natural way. It is, in my opinion, the way God meant it to be. I really wanted to feed my baby the way Eve would've done it in the Garden of Eden, and the way millions and millions of women have done it since then.
Thank God I am experiencing that now. Go God!! It truly is a miracle and we are praising God about every 3 hours these days (every time Asa nurses). :)
By the way, you can check out pictures of Asa's 2nd week on the website now: www.ebersoleonline.com.