While it is a known fact that every pregnancy and birth can be dramatically different from one another, it is less discussed that the same can be true with breastfeeding. In 2006 I gave birth to my son, Izzaq and we went on to have a beautiful breastfeeding relationship. In 2007 my son Zavery was born. A nurse gave him a bottle because of Jaundice without my knowledge, and due to nipple confusion I was never able to get him to successfully latch again. “Breast and bottle feeding require different oral-motor skills, and rubber nipples provide a type of "super stimulus" that babies may imprint upon instead of the softer breast. As a result, some babies develop suck confusion and apply inappropriate suckling techniques to the breast when they switch between breast and bottle” (LLLI.org). By the time I was able to purchase a pump that would actually work, my milk was pretty much gone. Being uneducated at the time, I gave up. Terrified of this happening again I was overly prepared when my daughter arrived in 2013. Fully stocked with a great pump, bottles, nursing teas, lactation supplements, etc. However, she nursed great from the first latch and we went over a year with no issues. Fast forward to the present and we just had our 4th child, Larz. This boy has made very sure that I have to work incredibly hard to keep our breastfeeding relationship alive. When he was 4 weeks old I had a birth that went about 12 hours. In that time he had pumped breastmilk. I was so nervous the whole time, both worried that he wouldn't take the bottle yet equally concerned that he wouldn't want me after. Guess what? My fears came true. That whole next week was fight after fight with each nursing session. Looking back I believe it was a combination of a growth spurt timed perfectly with the fast flow of breastmilk that he didn't have to work very hard to get. During a growth spurt, baby wants to eat often so you may feel empty. At this time you don't need to do anything but follow cues as “baby will automatically get more milk by nursing more frequently, and your milk supply will increase due to the increased nursing” (KellyMom.com). Had he not gotten the bottles at that time, we probably would have continued on as normal, with my supply increasing to meet his needs. After that day it was a speeding downhill battle of a nursing strike, then low milk supply because of the strike, and lots of crying from both of us. To make a very long story short there was pumping every 2 hours, lots of milk boosting supplements, cup feeding, syringe feeding, weight loss and then finally weight gain, a special bottle nipple, a nipple shield, and FINALLY progress after over a month of him not latching well at the breast. Breastfeeding works on a Supply and Demand type system. “Your milk supply is determined by the stimulation that your baby provides while nursing. In other words, the more you breastfeed, the more milk your body produces. So, if you seem to be producing less milk than usual, try to feed your baby more often. You also can pump after nursing to help stimulate more milk production” (KidsHealth.org). During his nursing strike, I should have been pumping every couple hours. However, it was about a week of hoping he would come back to the breast before we noticed the weight loss. The first two months of breastfeeding is crucial to establishing your milk supply. Because of that rough week now 4 months later I just started a prescription called Domperidone to help increase the amount of milk I have for him. This should help to keep him satisfied and start putting on a bit more weight as it has been very slow going since birth.
First time nursing after birth.
The intent behind this long and detailed story of mine isn't to overwhelm you as a new or even experienced breastfeeder, but to inform you. Breastfeeding can be simple and flawless and it can be difficult and full of obstacles. The most important part is doing what is best for you and your baby. The people you surround yourself with can make or break this beautiful relationship with your baby, so be sure to have a solid support system on your side. “In a study of more than 5,000 new mothers, Julie Gazmararian PH.D found that although education about breastfeeding is important during pregnancy, postpartum support is more critical to success—but far less common” (FitPregnancy.com). I have been very fortunate to have very understanding family and connections to great groups of women like The Leaky Boob Community. If you find yourself struggling seek out that group and you will be welcomed with open arms to a world of women that have been exactly where you are now. Sometimes all we need as moms is to be heard and understood to know we're not alone. That alone can be enough to stay motivated to keep fighting and fill that tiny belly with mama's milk.
Mr. Larz is not the best breastfeeder… we have been struggling big time since about 4 weeks and now at 12 weeks are still working daily on our milk supply to keep it up and his belly full. The other day I hit the store for some oats (as they are a natural booster) to make granola bars but when I got home I realized I grabbed Steel Cut Oats instead of Rolled Oats. The awesome ladies in a pumping group I am in mentioned it working just as well so I hit the web to find an easy option… guess what - its not easy… Steel Cut Oats takes FOREVER on the stove top… and I don't have forever for my breakfast. I found an awesome recipe on A Yummy Day by Monica and made some adjustments to make it even more mama milk friendly… here is my final adjustments to her recipe. OH! And one more thing… Do yourself a HUGE favor, and get the crock pot liners… they're 4 for $1.98 at walmart and you will be SO THANKFUL to not have to scrub this pot afterwards...
- 2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces or a little smaller
- 1-1/2 cups fat-free milk (or substitute non-diary alternative like almond milk)
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar (or substitute maple syrup or other desired sweetener)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 5-6 pieces (or coconut oil + 1 teaspoon of salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds
- 2 tablespoons chia seed
- 5 tablespoons Brewers Yeast
- Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, cranberries, maple syrup, additional milk or butter
Put liner in the crock-pot. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for approx. 6 to 7 hours (slow cooker times can vary). I did mine overnight and it was so great having it hot and ready when I woke up.
To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.
If you're like me while breastfeeding, you're always hungry... I'm also always trying to keep my milk supply up. So I thought I would share with you this great way to take care of both things for breakfast. This smoothis is super versatile and can be adjusted however you like, so I will keep ratios vague.
1/2 cup orange juice (adjust as needed)
1 tablespoon Chai Seeds
1 tablespoon Brewers Yeast
1 tablespoon raw Honey
This smoothie is protein packed and will help keep you fuller for longer... And the brewers yeast will help boost your breastmilk supply. Add oatmeal for another great milk booster! Enjoy!
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