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Demand and Supply

That’s how breasts are supposed to work, bub demands feeds and that’s how they know how much to supply.  This is surprisingly hard to keep up with when you are just pumping.  Something magical must happen with bubs and boobs; I know when I get my son near mine they certainly start dripping, even if he’s only been on for seconds before he starts howling in horror.

I found a post-it note that a nurse had written ‘3 ml’ on while I was in hospital.  I remember her telling me to be really pleased with this.  That 3 ml was hand expressed and sucked up using a syringe, then squirted into Eskil.  That I had 3 ml showed that my milk was coming in and was a good sign.  For comparison, today I was quite pleased with my 6:30 am pumping session as I expressed 200 ml!

Some days all I can do is keep up with Eskil.  He drinks somewhere between 730 and low 800 mls these days.  Only twice have I had enough EBM to freeze, and both of those have been used already.  I swear he has a growth spurt every day!  I guess I’ve increased the difficulty factor of keeping up with him by pumping because I insist on leaving the house every day.  What may seem like even a small outing can really wreck my pumping schedule.  A friend has very generously lent me a pump that is convenient for travelling, and I have sat in the back of my car and pumped using it, but then you have to the flange and bits clean.

This has been written over several sessions, so is fairly disjointed, but I guess the main message of this post is that yes, breast refusal is still a problem with Eskil and I.  And now I’m at the point I don’t think that’s going to change.  To sum up the history of our issues, in hospital Eskil was slightly jaundiced and a ‘sleepy baby’, i.e. sleepier than most.  He had to be woken up for feeds.  In hospital they had me start to express each feed after trying him on the breast for a while.  To build his strength up and clear the jaundice they thought using a bottle was the best solution; it’s easier to suckle a bottle than a breast apparently.  Once we got home he was still sleeping and not demand feeding for a week or more.  They told me once he started demand feeding he’d be happy to go onto the breast fully, but that wasn’t the case.  Since then I’ve kept going back to the breastfeeding clinic at the hospital; he always latches on and has a feed while we’re there.  He will randomly at home too, but usually either falls asleep on my breast or howls as if in horror that I would put that thing in his mouth.  It’s been REALLY hard at times not to let this interfere with our relationship.

As for my supply, there was a point when I didn’t think I’d have enough to feed him.  One day I had hardly anything and phoned the lactation consultant in tears; she said I’d have to supplement with formula.  Now don’t get me wrong; I have NOTHING against mums who feed their bubs formula, especially if it’s because of low supply or the sort of problems I’ve been having.  I think I’ve been so against it with Eskil and I though because this has been such a hard road to motherhood I hoped we could do something normally.  Genetically he’s not even related to me, so I wanted to breastfeed him – I guess in my mind prove to myself and him that I am his mum.  Which I know is idiotic, but this is about feeling rather than logic.  I think I have been worried formula would be easier for me and, like Eskil and his preference for the bottle, I’d just let expressing breast milk slip.  Anyway, one day I had hardly any milk, Eskil was crying out for a feed, and the consultant recommended formula.  While my husband drove to the chemist for some I frantically pumped, massaging my breasts at the same time.  And suddenly there was a gush; I’d had a blocked duct.  I’ve learned a lot about pumping breast milk in the past almost 3 months!

I am on domperidone for my supply.  I take 30 mg 3 times per day; in theory I can start to lessen the dosage and see how I go but I’m too nervous to do it yet.

At this point my son’s only had breast milk, and I guess I’ll keep this  up but with pumping.  I don’t know that there’s any point trying him at the breast any more.  It’s not that he can’t do it as he will randomly latch and have a feed.  But he prefers the bottle and trying the breast is more stressful than it’s worth.  I keep telling myself this isn’t a forever situation.

Meanwhile, it’s late spring in Tasmania, and the weather is mostly beautiful.  I’ve planted carrots, peas, etc that should be fruiting around the time that Eskil starts experimenting with mashes.  I home to continue to feed him what I’ve grown and made for a while, but look forward to when I can cook more exciting things for him!

But he’s worth every moment of the struggle:
Eskil Sleeping

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Categories: Ovum Donor Pregnancy
  1. 26/10/2011 at 1:18 pm

    Oh, he is PRECIOUS. And you’re doing an amazing thing … I wish I had some useful thing to say besides “hang in there.” Don’t let the formula pushers get you down, if this is something you believe in. On the other hand, don’t drive yourself nuts just to breastfeed him … stress can also interfere with your supply! When I pumped with my first, I couldn’t keep up (I was working full time) … I had to pump an extra time every day just to barely make what he was taking. But: I made it to one year, driving myself nuts in the process. You can do it, if it’s important to you.

  2. stillaguestroom
    26/10/2011 at 1:27 pm

    He is beautiful! Pumping is so difficult (my twins won’t take the breast either), so you should be really proud that you’ve made it this far.

  3. a
    26/10/2011 at 1:44 pm

    Oh, how I hated pumping! You are a rock star for doing that all the time! And your little man is adorable.

  4. 26/10/2011 at 4:04 pm

    he really is absolutely gorgeous. so precious.

  5. 27/10/2011 at 2:34 am

    he’s sooooo sweet 😉

    it’s strange that they told you to feed him from the bottle – all i’ve read says to not use bottles as they’re far easier (bigger holes, less effort required) and babies don’t want breast afterwards. Canadian books say to feed from something like a tiny cup. Apparently, that won’t avert them from the breast. But hey – what do I know, I am still 3 months away from giving birth…

    Kudos to you for sticking up with it and feeding him with your breast milk, regardless of all the hardships!

  6. 27/10/2011 at 3:23 pm

    You are tenacious! Way to go fighting so hard to do what you feel is best for your child. Eskil looks so perfectly darling – love those long eyelashes!

  7. 27/10/2011 at 7:21 pm

    That photo is absolutely stunning, he is adorable. Good on you for keeping up with the expressing, hard as it seems to be, you are doing one of the very best things for him.

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