Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hindsite is 20/20 Part 2: Looking back

Kangarooing in the NICU after trying to breastfeed

I'm taking a page from Megz most recent post and writing about my own ::facepalm:: experience with looking back. In my introduction Olivia's story, I talked about having low supply and exclusively pumping. Looking back, and knowing what I do now, I now know that I had super crappy advice from lactation consultants and NO idea what I was doing.

Problem 1: Olivia was born at 34 weeks and had pretty high levels of bilirubin (she had jaundice). She was very sleepy (obviously, with jaundice) and hard to get to wake up to nurse. On day 2, the doctors told me if I didn't get her to feed and put her on a bottle, she wouldn't get to come home. By the end of day 2, I had caved because she wouldn't latch on and nurse.

Problem 2: We tried a nipple shield but it always slipped off and would overfill with milk. I was not shown the proper way to use a nipple shield nor was I educated on how to use it. I was not told that I should start her on it then transition her off of it nor was I told that it shouldn't be used for long term.

Problem 3: I was not shown how to use the pump. The flanges I used were too small and I was in a lot of pain. I had cracked and bleeding nipples and no one ever told me that there were different sizes of flanges or that it could make a difference.

Problem 4: The lactation consultants never told me how often I should pump. I tried to pump at every feeding. Shortly after Olivia came home, before my milk supply was established, they told me I could pump every 4 hours and sleep through the night. This is NOT true if your milk supply is not established!!

Problem 5: The LCs, nurses, doctors, Olivia's one in my life told me that it would be possible for her to latch on nor did they tell me HOW to make that happen. I was not encouraged to do a lot of skin on skin, I wasn't told to try to get her to latch when she wasn't super hungry or when she was sleepy...nothing. No one gave me any hints or tips about getting a baby to latch on. And I didn't know how to ask. I was a 23 year old mother who had read "What to Expect When You're Expecting".

Problem 6: I was given a case. Yes A CASE!!! Of formula when we left the NICU. AN ENTIRE CASE OF FORMULA. SIX full cans.

Problem 7: I tried to establish and keep up supply with a regular pump. Even though I used a really good pump, a Medela pump and style, in order to establish and exclusively pump it's almost impossible to do so without a hospital grade pump.

So, as you can see, I was kind of set up for failure. I didn't know better and the LCs at our hospital were completely worthless. Our pediatrician didn't help, none of the neonatologists or one gave me tips and I just simply didn't know where to go for support. I pumped because I was following my instincts but your instincts can only take you so far when you're EPing. You need to have correct support and information available to you. Against all odds, I made it work. I pumped and once my supply started dwindling due to all of those problems, I started looking into ways to increase supply. Then I started finding information and I was so incredibly blessed to be able to get Olivia breastfeeding at the age of 6 months old. My girlfriends joke that Olivia is the super breastfeeder because she not only latched after 6 months of bottles but relatched at the age of 2.5.

tandem nursing my 2 miracle babies! 

A lot of people may wonder why I spend so much time on breastfeeding. Why I post information, why I run a blog and a support group for preemie's because I know what it's like to be without support when I'm trying so desperately to breastfeed my baby.


  1. Yay Christa!!! :) (and the miracle baby's!)

  2. Cool blog you have! Compliments. I just visited a site You might want to blog about their products? I have never seen such a bra's and tepelbedekkers in my life.