Saturday, August 18, 2012

Making More Milk

When I was pregnant, the only thing I was really worried about was breastfeeding.  I know that compared to many things that might seem trivial, but I was raised in a family that breastfeed their babies exclusively.  Then, I married into a family that breastfed their babies.  Over and over I saw examples of mothers who made sure to breastfeed their babies for an entire year....and I was nervous about meeting the same standards, combined with the fact that I knew breastfeeding is the absolute best nutrition for a baby.  I felt a lot of pressure from myself and from others to breastfeed for an entire year.  So, I read everything I could find prior to giving birth about breastfeeding.  I read "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding", which is produced by La Leche League and is considered the current "go to" on breastfeeding, along with multiple other books about breastfeeding prior to giving birth to Andrew.  I prepared as much as I could, and often shared with others that breastfeeding was my biggest concern about childbirth.  As most of the books prepared for....we had no issues with breastfeeding when Andrew was born.  He latched fairly easily right from the beginning....and I worked to get full feedings in right away.  In the hospital I seemed to have plenty of colostrum, and my milk came in right away and was plentiful.  Andrew gained 3 lbs his first month, and breastfeeding issues seemed to be non-existent.  In fact, I wondered why I was ever worried about it.

For a variety of reasons, we developed breastfeeding issues later.  Andrew didn't nurse for very long after about the first 6 weeks...he'd much rather play around and look around.  I lost all my baby weight very quickly (within 6 weeks), and being small-framed to begin with I didn't have any reserves to draw from.  Hormonal issues, which don't seem to affect anyone else...affected me, etc.  Within 2 months after giving birth all of a sudden I was dealing with supply issues....and it only went downhill from there.  Throughout the next 7 months I searched and searched for resources about breastfeeding....and couldn't find any that fit my circumstances.  To add to my concern, I knew Andrew wasn't getting enough milk yet he was refusing formula.  I kept looking for resources regarding breastfeeding, but everything seemed to focus on the initial process....establishing a good latch, etc.  We didn't have an issue with that-our issues came much later, after breastfeeding had already been well-established.

Finally, when Andrew was about 9 months old, I found the book "Making More Milk".  It was the first book that seemed to be truly helpful beyond the first month of breastfeeding and addressed low supply issues for mothers after the first month or so.  I wish that we would have found it months earlier!  It is an easy read, with practical suggestions that don't make you feel like there is something wrong with you if you are struggling with breastfeeding.  So many other books stress the "natural" part of breastfeeding that you feel like there is something drastically wrong and unnatural about you if you are having issues with it.

Overall, it was probably the most helpful book that I read regarding breastfeeding, and I'd highly recommend it!  Although Andrew weaned himself at 9 1/2 months (started pushing me away and refused to nurse), I continued to pump and offer him at least some breast milk every day.  It hasn't been an easy journey for us, but this book is definitely a great resource for anyone who is considering breastfeeding.

The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk : Foreword by Martha Sears, RN (Breastfeeding Mothers Guide)

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