Poor Baby Update

September 23, 2009 § 20 Comments

Due to a congenital birth defect, I only developed one breast. The resulting asymmetry was “corrected” when I was 20 through breast augmentation surgery: an implant was put in my undeveloped left side, and my right side was reduced to make them even. The doctor told me that he would do all he could to preserve any future nursing ability, but my chances of being able to breastfeed from the reduction side were essentially 50/50. Since I had no breast tissue on the left side, it was unlikely it would ever produce any milk.

Fast forward to today. For the past month, I have been trying very hard to breastfeed my daughter, and to all appearances, I was producing milk– I had a feeling of fullness before feedings, my milk would leak (surprisingly from both sides!) and I sometimes woke up in a milk puddle in bed. But before I went to the doctor’s office, I pumped milk, since I wasn’t sure if we would still be in the car by the time of her next feeding.

I pumped about half an ounce.

I have essentially been starving my daughter to death with constant feedings. The doctor confirmed that she still hasn’t gained any weight. My anatomy just doesn’t support the ability to supply enough milk for her to live.

So we need to step up the supplementing to full bottles with each feeding. I will continue to breastfeed her, because what little milk I do make is still full of stuff she needs, and every little drop counts. She’ll still get all the antibodies, and the brain food she needs, plus the benefits of nursing at my breast. But still this is very disheartening. And disturbing to know that she hasn’t been getting enough to eat.

Talk about mommy guilt…


§ 20 Responses to Poor Baby Update

  • At least you caught it early. I’m still sorry to hear all of that though. :/

  • I know it’s not the same as your situation (massive hugs & prayers, too), but my fun stuff with breastfeeding – apparently, the reason for Elise’s lack of growth for six months is that my milk isn’t fatty enough. It was fine from birth to six months, then just tanked out. I’m still reeling from that, even though she’s given up nursing due to the pregnancy. With this one, I know that the ped will be watching him/her like a hawk, and that’s good; but I know I’ll need to visit with the lactation consultant more and whatnot. Especially if the same thing starts happening.
    Every single time someone says “wow, Elise has really gotten larger recently, is she in a growth spurt” or when Greg and I watch her explode in development, I just fall apart inside, knowing that if I had somehow knew to get more fats into her at 6 months, she wouldn’t be in the situation she’s in.
    You’re totally right in every little drop counts. She will get those antibodies! Elise is getting over her 2nd fever in as many months since she stopped nursing, and I really wish she was still nursing. I had strep in March and she didn’t catch a thing. *sigh* And the bonding is lifelong – even though we don’t nurse anymore, Elise and I are so incredibly close, there’s nothing close to it in comparison.
    I really hope she resumes nursing with Little One when s/he arrives.
    I think over time, our mommy guilt will go away … but expect times for people to wank about why you’re feeding Ella how you are (for me, it’s the whole ‘fat rolls on infants == perfect health’). I have good days, where I can thank God that we did get it figured out (well, unless the ped orders bloodwork and finds an underlying issue, but I doubt that) and rejoice in her development; other days I still just look back and think why Greg and I didn’t push the old doctor more to look at the lack of weight + length gain and TRY and see if something was wrong, why we didn’t try solids for Elise more often (she didn’t really get into them until 8 months)…I have a litany in my head on those days, that I have to forcefully shut off or else I end up quite bummed.
    One novel of a comment later, *many more hugs and prayers*

  • honorh says:

    Oh, sad! Don’t feel bad, though–you’re doing all you can for your daughter. May she grow to be a strong and healthy woman!

  • amenquohi says:

    Even with two functioning breasts, I was never able to pump more than an ounce or two per feeding. Both my kids did a mix of breast and bottle with formula (sometimes even in the same feeding) without any issues. I fretted and worried about “nipple confusion” and lack of proper bonding, but when all is said and done they had none of those problems and both kids were healthy and thriving. Let the guilt go, and just focus on what’s doing best for your baby with what you’ve got to work with.
    I’m glad to hear it’s easy enough to resolve – that’s a big relief for you, I’m sure.

  • krikketgirl says:

    Oh, I’m so glad you were able to get it figured out. That is so frustrating and upsetting, that here you were doing everything as well as you possibly could and you had no way of knowing that things WEREN’T working the way they ought! *hugs*

  • camstone says:

    Alexis (my daughter) had to have supplements due to my wife not being able to keep up. We used the Enfamil Lipil Powder because of the DHA and other ingredients included in it. She’s doing just fine now at 21 months!
    And you should not feel bad at all. I know you might feel like you should… but listen, it’s not YOUR fault. And the great thing is, we have the ability to supplement your child’s needs and she will be just fine.
    So, if anything… be glad you have a happy, healthy daughter who will grow up lively and strong because you know -and- can help her grow up to be healthy and happy!
    Count your blessings… it will beat the mommy blues any day!

  • lilia2000 says:

    Awww Dawn! *hugs* I am so glad you figured out what was going on. I will be praying for you and the baby that she’ll continue to get strong and healthy and that you will be encouraged daily. I have no doubt you’re going to be an awesome Mom. *hugs*

  • DT says:

    Yeah, I got an email from Baby Center on Saturday with my “Your Baby at (xx) Week” and at four weeks it said she should be gurgling, cooing and even laughing out loud. The only sounds she makes is crying. It’s upsetting to think that she isn’t hitting developmental milestones because she’s not getting enough food.
    But she has been so mellow and quiet tonight, rather than the usual screaming till midnight. It’s nice to see what a full tummy does for her.
    On a positive note, I just pumped an ounce and a half!! Here’s to praying for more and more.

  • DT says:

    Thank you! She’s actually NOT been crying tonight, which is a first since she was born. Poor kid.

  • DT says:

    Yeah, I’ve decided to nurse her first, and then top her off with a bottle. The doctor told me to pick one method of feeding– either supplementer (wow, can you say HASSLE) or bottle to avoid nipple confusion. But I think she knows the difference between flesh and silicone. She latches really well– just tends to fall asleep before she’s done.
    It is a relief– at least it doesn’t look like there’s something physiologically or congenitally wrong with her.

  • DT says:

    Why didn’t God give us ounce markings on our boobs? That would have been so useful. 😛

  • DT says:

    Thanks, Cam! Right now, we are doctoring up some organic formula with Cod liver oil, and a pro-biotic, but I also have a recipe for homemade formula. But man… It would have been so much cheaper if I could have exclusively breastfed!!!
    She’s having such a peaceful evening, for the first time in her little life tonight.

  • DT says:

    Thanks, yeah, as a new mommy, I’m so paranoid that every little thing has me immediately running to the doctor.

  • camstone says:

    Not to be a push, but my wife is all about organic foods. So we picked the Enfamil based on so many reports of product acceptance, hospital use and the care they seem to provide in their product development.

  • hannahsarah says:

    Don’t give up yet! I was able to nurse my daughter, and she’s adopted. I used Domperidone http://www.asklenore.info/breastfeeding/domperidone.html Read the whole Ask Lenore website, it’s fascinating.
    You get your doctor to write a prescription, and you can order it here
    You may not have enough milk ducts to do exclusive breast feeding, but this will increase your chances of success immensely.

  • bojojoti says:

    Oh, poor you and poor baby!
    Babies are very resilient. Ella will be fine. Our daughter practically starved for her first 18 months, and she is a bright, healthy college student today.
    Your little one will catch up quickly. Our daughter didn’t talk until she was three, but once she started she caught up with her contemporaries quickly.
    Look, motherhood is all about guilt! We all have it, and it never goes away; so you accept it and do the best you can. And that’s what you are doing.
    You are a good mother, and your daughter is so lucky to have you.

  • ladyfaith3 says:

    You did your very best, praise God that there is formula so that your baby will be just fine 🙂 Don’t feel guilty this isn’t your fault! I would praise you for the effort!

  • frodo_esque says:

    I’m so glad you guys figured out what was bothering her, and remember, you couldn’t have known. She’s got a lovin’ Momma!

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