I just got back from the third doctor's visit since Tommy was born, which was slightly less than two weeks ago. They have been weighing him in every few days to monitor how much weight he is gaining, since he not only lost a lot initially, but was very slow to gain any weight back. Also, he went almost a week without a bowel movement. The culprit? My inadequate milk supply.
While it is incredibly disappointing, it is not surprising; I had to supplement with formula for both Danny and Charlotte as well. In the end, I quit breastfeeding both of them within the first month, which looks like what might happen with Tommy as well.
I have tried everything, and believe me, I have gotten advice from everyone imaginable. With both the older kids, I pumped between all the feedings in a very painful attempt to stimulate more milk supply. After pumping several times within a 24-hour period, I would have yielded less than half an ounce of milk from both breasts combined. I have tried letting Tommy feed off me all day long, but he still wasn't gaining weight or pooping, so I had to supplement in order to keep him healthy. With Danny, I even tried this little device that you hook up to the breast so that the baby gets milk and formula all while sucking on the breast. It was a lot of work and didn't ever seem to help with my production.
After reading many books and websites, I realize that the experts don't really believe that a woman could have an inadequate milk supply. Rather, the inadequacy lies in what lengths the woman will go to in order to make more milk. They advise staying in bed for 24 hours with the baby at your breast at all times. Obviously, these women don't have more than one child at home. How in the world am I supposed to nurse constantly? I already feel like I do, but you know, once in a while, I need to put Tommy down so I can get lunch or dinner for Danny or Char or so I can pick Danny up from school. Sometimes I even put him down, so I can (gasp!) go to the bathroom alone or eat a meal. And that doesn't even take into account how exhausting it is to nurse so much. Yes, I do occasionally doze off while nursing, but I never get really good sleep that way, and I am already sleep-deprived enough.
Anyway, the weigh-in went really well today. Tommy has gained about 5 ounces in the last few days, so I was instructed to continue doing what I have been, which is giving Tommy a bottle after every breastfeeding. He has been downing his bottle each time, which is still more evidence that he isn't getting much breast milk. The problem is, he seems to be sucking much less vigorously when nursing and I feel like I am making even less milk than I was a couple of days ago. Another problem is how time consuming feeding has become. I spend almost an hour breastfeeding and then at least another 20 minutes with the bottle.
I find it interesting how fraught with potential guilt this whole feeding issue is. Of course, I have always had a pretty overdeveloped sense of guilt, not sure why, but as my mom keeps telling me, as long as the kids are happy and I am doing my best, I should let go of the guilt. Probably, I should channel the guilt in a more productive area. Instead of feeling guilty over things I can't really control, I should direct it to the areas that I CAN control, like my short temper with the kids and Bil...