October 12, 2009

I wish I could just give him a cheeseburger . . .

If you're uncomfortable with the topic of breastfeeding, I'd encourage you to read a different post. Like maybe this one about baseball. Or this one about Jack.

On Wednesday or Thursday, I was nursing Ben and Jack came up and laid his hand on my breast and said, "I'm gonna help hold his eat."

"Uh, his what?"

"His eat."

Later in the week, he told me that he wanted to help give Ben his "eaters." I guess by not giving him words to use, he just came up with his own.

Jack has had surprisingly little to say about the whole thing. I was so curious to know what questions he had and what comments he'd throw out there, but until he said that, he hadn't blinked an eye at the whole arrangement.

Those exchanges with Jack have been the only good things about breastfeeding over the last few days. Nursing has gone well from the beginning, but I was suddenly confronted with two things that are threatening to end it all: Thrush and oversupply.

If you've ever dealt with undersupply, you might be thinking, "Oversupply? That sounds great!" On one message board, someone even referred to it as a "blessing." But it isn't. From what I've read, oversupply leads to moms giving up on breastfeeding far faster than undersupply does because of the stress to both mom and baby, as well as the length of time it takes to get the problem under control. It's painful. It's stressful. Just read about it at the link, because I don't really have time to go into all of it here.

Starting on Friday, Ben stopped nursing well. He screams during feedings, eats for only 2 - 3 minutes at a time and he cried continuously until Saturday afternoon. And I am . . . well, you could just say that my cup overfloweth. SO, yeah. It's been stressful. Coupled with the thrush that he and I now both have, it's also been painful.

I have a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding to begin with. I remember that it wasn't until month 2 with Jack that I really became comfortable with it, and this time around I feel the same way. I hate being the only one who can feed him. I hate pumping even more. I hate being sore. I hate that it delays post-pregnancy weight loss. On the flip side, I love the time that Ben and I spend together. I love it that he's getting something so healthy for him. I love not having to clean and sterilize bottles (especially since we only have two of them). I made it 10 months with Jack before my milk supply ran out. I was hoping to make it a full year with Ben, but I'm trying to take it a week at a time for now. It can take months to correct oversupply, and I'm not sure I can handle it that long. Also, our prescription medicine for thrush is almost out and he still has it . . . as do I.

I'm going to try one other thing, as well. You know how in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," the dad thinks that Windex cures everything? Well, when Jack was little, my mom thought every ailment or problem that he had was related to a milk allergy (sorry, mom . . . but you really did). This time, though, it might very well be adding to the problem. So, I'm trying to limit my dairy intake, as well.

I'm praying that these things will resolve themselves quickly. Like before naptime is over and he's hungry again.


Sara Neufeld said...

Oh girl, I feel you. I've had every nursing problem under the sun. I had thrush with Sawyer (among other problems). It is NO BUENO. My lactation consultant prescribed me this ointment that helped a bunch. It was a little embarrassing to pick up from the male pharmacist, but it was worth it. I have no idea what was in that ointment. There was only one pharmacy in all of northwest arkansas that would mix it up. But, I'd ask your lactation consultant if there's any ointment she could prescribe to you. I'm so sorry...hang it there if you can! It usually gets so much better if you can just wait it out. But if it's too much, don't let yourself have guilt either!

Anonymous said...

oh my goodness, cracking up at jack! so funny. i didn't BF any of my kids for long, as no one gained any weight on what i had to offer, but generally speaking, the older boys paid very little attention to the whole show.

i hope things get easier for you, and that the thrush goes away. luke and i had that, too, and it was awful.

Heather S. said...

So sorry for the BF problems!! I also had a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding. I also produced way too much milk and even though I hate pumping, I did it for quite awhile and now that my milk did dry up, I had enough milk for another 6 weeks. I am a little sad to be done breastfeeding - I miss that time with just Daphne. However, I love that when we are out I just make a bottle and we are good to go.
I really hope the thrush clears up soon!!! I will be praying for you!!

Emily said...

We just had thrush a little while back. The prescription stuff did NOTHING for us. what DID work was Gentian violet, and probiotics for me AND him. I'm sorry you are dealing with it, thrush was the most painful thing I've ever had to deal with. In the middle of the night, I nearly gave up breastfeeding, but Jack doesn't take a bottle. If he had, we may have ended it there. I'm very thankful he doesn't take bottles, because we did make it through, and I'm still breastfeeding!

Juleshouck said...

With overproduction (or overactive letdown) I read and spoke with a lactation consultant and starting feeding my son on just one side at each feeding. He was really fussy before that because he was never getting to the hind milk on either boob. By going to just one, he got the hind milk that he really needed and my body eventually realized it didn't need to make so much. Good luck to you!

Erin K. said...

Doesn't it seem like something that is so natural should also be EASY? **sigh**

I'll be praying for both of you. I hope everything clears up and balances out quickly!

Mary DePalma said...
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Mary DePalma said...

What about warm compress and hand expressing (or pumping at a low setting if you can take it) before bf to get to the hind milk and relieve some of the oversupply problem? I hated pumping. A wise women told me that with babies, everything is a stage and so this to shall pass. That helped me get through the hard times when I thought it was never going to work out. And I only recently started spending a small amount of time without a bra, maybe because we are down to once a night. I never would have thought I would have made it this far, that is for sure. I spent a great deal of time thinking it was never going to work out but now I know it did. Now I am sad that it will soon be over. Good luck!

Jeanette said...

Boo, I know how frustrating BF can be! But I also know that you are never one to give up without a fight. I will be praying for you as you move to get past this hurdle!

If anything, I hear bm goes well with Cocoa Puffs (jk).

Sarah said...

Oh my goodness Sara, I feel your pain. I haven't dealt with over-supply, but we've been battling thrush since week 2! And i THINK we've finally conquered it...as of 10 weeks. So that was 8 weeks of my poor baby's life!! Gag!

We went through 2 rounds of Nystatin (4x/day for 7 days...2 different times. Sticky!)...no luck. 3rd try was Gentian Violet (2/day for only 3 days). It's been almost a week since we finished that, and so far, things are looking pretty good. However, Gentian violet is the deepest purpley-blue inky staining stuff you've ever seen, and it is a HUGE mess in your baby's mouth, which then threatens to get all over EVERYthing. Needless to say, I was NOT using my favorite burp rags during this rx, and bibs were worn at ALL times for those 3 days, and we did not go out in public!! And, you use so little of it, that if the thrush comes back, you'll still have plenty left to re-treat it. I'm hoping we're totally done with it though, b/c it was SUCH a mess! Pumping is a lot easier (no pain) once the thrush is gone!

Anyway, I love that Jack is calling them Ben's "eaters"! HySTERical!!! :)

Jude's Mom said...

As for the thrush, the purple stuff does work! And when you're in that much pain and frustrated too, who cares that you and your baby are purple. You just want it to end! As for the oversupply.. I also had this problem. I know you hate pumping but if you are determined to make this work (as was I), it really is a solution. For the first 6 months of my baby's life, he breastfed and drank from a bottle and when he didn't breastfeed, I pumped when I needed to to get some relief. It actually ended up helping later on because I had a pretty good milk supply in the freezer. At 6 months, my son stopped nursing. He refused to nurse and only wanted a bottle. I continued to pump 4 or 5 times a day (finally didn't have to pump at night anymore) for two more months after that. I was hoping to keep going until my baby turned 1 but I quit pumping when he was 8 months old. My son only nursed for 6 months and he drank Breastmilk for 8 1/2 - 9 months exclusively because I had such an oversupply in the beginning. I consider this to be a good thing for him. For me, it was not exactly ideal and it was hard and I had many many many clogs. I felt guilty for quitting - it's all so hard. Hang in there. If you don't know about www.kellymom.com already, it's a great site to reference anytime you need facts, advice, support, etc.

Marketing Mama said...

Wow - so sorry to hear you are struggling. I didn't read all the comments, but I do have a couple of things to add. First, the "eaters" part is adorable!!! :)

What do you think about taking a sudafed to help reduce your supply a little bit? Every time I've taken a decongestant for sinus problems, it totally reduces my supply a bit (without entirely killing it), so it might be worth a shot! :)

Second, regarding milk allergy, my daughter is actually ALLERGIC to milk and so I have a few pointers there. First, the way her milk allergy symptoms presented were not digestion - but eczema primarily, and later when I gave her cheese and yogurt directly, she broke out in hives. After MONTHS of bad advice from our pediatrician, I finally had her tested for food allergies after a scary FREAKIN reaction to eggs and it turned out she was allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts and soy. If I would have eliminated the dairy from my diet, it would have made such a huge difference in her suffering.

So once I cut out the dairy from both my diet and hers, her skin immediately repaired itself and the eczema almost completely disappeared.

The key for me to cutting out dairy is pretty much avoiding all processed foods. Meat, veggies, fruits, salads... if you eat meat at a restaurant, make sure they don't douse it with butter (common). But just limiting the dairy won't solve the problem, you have to entirely eliminate it. You could drink soy milk or in our case, rice milk. There are also almond milk options, but we stay away from all nuts b/c of the peanut allergy.

Anyhow, I have a lot more info on food allergies and children on my blog if you are interested, or feel free to e-mail me directly at marketingmama (at) q (dot) com.

If your baby is truly allergic to milk, and you switch to formula, they will be allergic to regular formula and you'll have to try soy. Then, if your baby is allergic to soy (it's more common than you'd think) you'd have to go with the super expensive hypo-allergenic formulas.

So really? Breastfeeding with an adjusted diet is way easier and cheaper. I'm so glad I stuck with it. My babe is now 21 months and I'm still going - although my supply is almost entirely gone and I take herbal supplements to keep it going. They say it's important to keep breastfeeding until 2 if possible with milk allergic babes so they can get the calcium ,etc., from mom that they can't get from other milks.

Wendy M. said...

You probably know this but Kellymom.com is a wealth of info that sometimes you can't find anywhere else. Hang in there it gets easier and you are a great Mom.

Smith Family Blog said...

On a related note... I am finally catching up on reading here because I have been suffering from severe mastitis... so bad it landed me in the hospital with a fever of 104 on Sunday night. What we do for our babies!!!

Eaters. I LOVE that.

You've probably read this already, but for the sake of anyone who might be reading the comments-- pumping is one of the worst things you can do for oversupply. Almost every lactation consultant you talk to will tell you to "just pump a little off" before you feed Ben, to rid yourself of some of the foremilk. But doing so tells your body that you need that milk and just triggers it to produce more. I know block feeding is uncomfortable at first, but it really does work. Most moms say it corrects itself around 2 months. ZuZu had other problems as you know, so it didn't work that fast for us-- but she is just 7 months now, and things feel like they've been normal for quite some time already.

Stick with it- you will be glad you did!

Smith Family Blog said...

PS: Promise yourself gifts by making it to certain milestones. I gave myself a nice present from Tiffany at 6 months, and already have the 1 year gift in mind. :) It really is a good incentive! And the justification is that you would have spent WAY more in formula!!!

Smith Family Blog said...
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Smith Family Blog said...

Sorry-- one more thing!

Warmth is actually a bad thing for oversupply. You don't want to let hot water to beat down on you in the shower or anything. One of the best LCs I talked to (and I talked to a TON with ZuZu) said the best thing to do is to go grab something out of the FREEZER and put it on your chest. It constricts production.