I know people say nursing isn't easy...something that should be so natural isn't. However, I wasn't prepared for HOW difficult all this would be.
First - when you aren't able to hold/nurse your baby right away...one really needs to EMPHASIZE the importance of pumping. I didn't get to really hold my baby until she was about 12 hours old...and when I did, she was attached to many different machines. There was no skin-to-skin. This definitely hindered our nursing relationship. Since she was on IV fluids, I wasn't able to really feed her until she was 3 days old. I would pump, but I would barely get anything so I didn't really see the importance. My baby never really did get the colostrum that she should have gotten.
Secondly - Once I got to nurse, no one really showed me how or what I should look for. I was SO EXCITED to hold my baby alone - with no one watching I just put her on my boob and let her go to town. Little did I know she was eating enough to sustain her weight...but not enough for anything else. When we were discharged from the hospital, she had only had 2 wet diapers and no poopy diapers in the last 48 hours. When we got home our doula met us there, and she was very concerned that the hospital let us leave with out her peeing. She watched me nurse and said that there really wasn't much milk transfer taking place. She told me it looks like I had a supply issue. Man - what a buzz kill! So then I was so scared and preoccupied of not getting enough food for my child! The next day, I was able to get into see the Lactation Consultant. She corrected my latch and sent me on my way with the instructions to see her again in 5 days. Her Pees and Poos increased, but I didn't feel like I was able to feed her enough when she was hungry! I couldn't wait the 5 days. On the Sunday night, I had such a bad night with her, I broke down. On Tuesday I had an in-home visit where she put me on Domperidone to help boost my milk supply and told me that she would correct H's small tongue-tie the next day in the office. So on Wed morning, I had a much better feed given I had 2 doses of the drugs and we had H's tongue clipped. I thought that with those two things in place, we would be good to go!
Not so much...When we went to the Dr's for her 2 week weight check, she had only gone up 3 oz and was STILL not at her birth weight. I went back again to see the L.C and she was worried about her less than ideal weight gain. She watched a feed and said that things look good. She sent me for tests on my thyroid as apparently thyroid mal-function could hinder milk supply. This was news to me! Given I have a thyroid issue and that since her birth I wasn't diligent in taking my medication daily I wonder if that is the reason. I wont know the results till the end of this week/beginning of next.
She also gave me a lactation supplement - basically a feeding tube that I drop one end into a bottle and the other goes into her mouth through the side of her mouth while she is latched. This is to supplement her feedings at night when she is the most fussy and wont suck properly. Although I like seeing what she is eating and knowing she is getting food...having to use this thing is so demoralizing. I would almost rather have hubby give her a bottle. But since I have supply issues and she has sucking issues, the L.C says NO to bottles! She really doesn't want to mess things up more! It is bad enough she uses me as a pacifier more than not as she was given one in the hospital.
Now my big dilemma is let down. If my boobs are full, milk is transferred easily. However, after the foremilk is gone, it takes a really long time to get a let-down of hind-milk. It does happen, so I do know the difference, but it isn't consistent. In the process, she either becomes angry or she changes her sucking pattern where she doesn't really do anything. It is so frustrating and causing me a great deal of stress. I just want to feed my baby!! I can't believe how difficult this entire process is. Bottle feeding would be so much easier - but I am determined to nurse! I just don't know how much more I can take. The anxiety of not knowing if I am feeding her enough or feeling I don't have enough milk to give her when she is hungry is consuming me. So much so that I feel my husband is better able to read her cues then I am. He knows to change her diaper or take her out of a situation where she can be over-stimulated - where I hear her cry and immediately think she is hungry. If I don't have any milk left, I start to become anxious as I worry I can't feed her. It really is a never ending battle.
Any thoughts on how to relax enough to allow my let-downs to happen? I know relaxing is key and not stressing ... but how do you ensure that you are relaxed? How does one not stress?