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21 February 2009

The Post Where The Fawn Gets It Out Of Her System

The last week or so has been a little rough around the edges. We've had so many appointments to go to & finally, as of yesterday afternoon, I am starting to feel better about everything. What's up, you ask? Well, about a week ago it became apparent that Gretchen wasn't gaining back any of the weight that she lost after she was born. Thankfully she was 9lbs 6oz when she was born & has a little more leeway. However, this stuck a worry chord in my heart & until yesterday I was feeling very, very stressed about my little girl. Basically, she's getting enough to sustain herself & be hydrated, but not enough to grow.

The lactation consultant that I spoke with yesterday was fabulous to us & so helpful -- she estimated (after observing me pumping some milk) that Gretchen is probably getting about 50% of her caloric intake from me, so I would have to start supplementing. So, I've rented a big fancy pump (since the $70 hand pump that I bought doesn't seem to do the trick) and I will be supplementing with both expressed breast milk (when I can get enough) and with formula. I had been worried about giving her formula (some sort of mother guilt, I think... though I know I have no reason to feel ashamed or upset about providing sustenance for my child) but I will do whatever it takes to fatten up my little sprog. There is a good chance that I won't continue with formula, as long as I can increase my milk supply, but if not, I'm going to be perfectly as ease with using both. Phew.

Last night I started topping her up with about and ounce or so of formula after she nurses & it's already making a world of difference. She's happier, she's sleeping a little better & she just seems to be so much less fussy. It kills me to know that I wasn't making enough for her to be completely full after each feeding and this is why she was fussy & upset & wanting to feed 24/7. It's also frustrating to know how easily my mood effects her. When I am stressed, she is stressed. When I am calm (as I have been since speaking with the lactation consultant) she is calm. We have an incredible symbiosis & I want to keep it balanced. As hard as I tried, I was so upset that I had tears when I was nursing her because I couldn't keep her happy & the pain in my breast was so great. Now I will be pumping after most feeds to try & increase my milk supply. I've also started taking domperidone which helps to stimulate lactation as well.

I also want to get the following off my chest: Yesterday I also saw a pediatrician (just in case he could figure some other reason for Gretchen's lack of weigh gain) and it was one of the most awful experiences I have had to endure. This may sound terrible, but I'm beyond feeling sorry about it -- the pediatrician was a man, easily in his 60s, wearing a terrible red bow tie. He treated me like I was the dumbest person he'd ever come across, prescribed some pills without helping me with the breast pain or offering any other suggestions for why she might not be getting enough milk. He also said not to feed her so often & to give her a pacifier in between because this way my milk would build back up before her next meal. Seriously? My child is almost a pound underweight & you want me to feed her LESS and give her a hunk of plastic instead of my breast? If Gretchen hadn't been crying & upset in the doctor's office I may have screamed at the man. Now, I don't think that there is anything wrong with a pacifier, but not when she is clearly hungry & not just looking something to hold in her mouth. She's three weeks old, for goodness sake. Skewed logic, old man. He was just so rude to me. He also scoffed at me when I told him I'd been drinking fenugreek tea to help with my milk supply & he said, and I quote, "There is no science to that, but you can keep drinking it if it makes you feel better. It mostly just has caffeine." WHAT?! My eyes almost fell out of my head at this point. For one thing, fenugreek is not caffeinated. It's also been proven to help with milk production & it was recommended by two lactation consultants & my midwife. When I told this to the lactation consultant yesterday she had the same reaction to me & said to ignore the pediatrician. I'm sure you can sense by now that I am ranting like crazy here, but if you've ever heard similar bullshit from a medical professional then I'm sure you understand my frustration. This doctor also wants me to come back on Monday to see if the domperidone is working (which is MUCH too soon to tell a difference). Cringe! Scream! Bah!

Alright, if you've made it this far you deserve cookies & tea & a big hug for putting up with my rambling. I appreciate it very much. It's so hard to be worried about your child & have someone like that come along to infuriate your further. Thank goodness I saw the lactation consultant afterward & have had all anxiety cast aside by her kindness & helpfulness. There are always good people in this world who will be there to pick you up when you feel like you've hit the bottom.

On this note, I hope everything is going well for you & your families on this fine, sunny Saturday. Cross your fingers that my little loinfruit puts all of that weight back on & is a chubby little munchkin in just a few weeks. Thank you for caring. Peace.

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Blogger ada and the fox said...

i understand what you are going through. it actually seems like a lot of us are having a tough week or so. as with fawn, i too nursed nat and because she had severe jaundice she had to be hospitalized several days after we brought her home. i had to nurse and supplement every 2 hours for three days and once we came back home she had nipple confusion. i trudged on and promised to nurse her until she was one but bc of that incident, i just wasn't enough anymore. it was such a difficult year, especially when you want to just give her the best and what is natural. so, i can understand your woes.
as for that doctor, get a new one! he is definitely in the dark ages and is no help. how is he suppose to identify with parents and children when his logic is so antiquated. boo to him!
so pretty much the gist of this entire comment is, i feel ya and don't feel bad for rambling on. ♥

February 21, 2009 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger elsa.elsa said...

Crap what a ridiculous doctor! Fenugreek has caffine in it?!?!?!? Does this guy even know what fenugreek (or caffine) is?!? I would have been so beyond pissed (in fact I am rightously angry for you!) We decided not to go to the ped at the last minute (like 10 mins before we were suppose to leave) because we were worried about this kind of "advice".

I'm glad you've gotten some good help though (hooray lactation consultants!) You're doing such a good job! Having a newborn is such hard work - your post sounds like you spirits have risen and you've got a good plan.

February 21, 2009 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Desiree Fawn said...

Thankfully this isn't our family doctor so I hopefully don't have to deal with him again. Our actual doctor is wonderful and nice and a woman. We only went to the ped just in case he could figure another reason, but the only thing I'm listening to him about are those pills -- since the lactation consultant also recommended them :)

February 21, 2009 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger Melanie said...

I've not been where you're at but I've most definitely born witness to the same scene many, many times over. I'm glad you have an extended support system of friends and professionals to cheer you on in your commitment to breastfeeding but it really makes me angry that the process is not better facilitated from the beginning. That hospitals even allow formula companies to provide free samples to new mums grinds my gears...but that's another argument for another time.
Don't feel defeated. Your body knows what it needs to do and is doing it. You're on a sound path toward full on breastfeeding if that's what you find you want after all of this and there's something to be said about some bottle feeding and its ability to provide pops some quality feeding time with the sprog too.

February 21, 2009 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger mikki roo said...

Oh I totally understand! I think one of the most frustrating things about having a small baby is the infuriating medical "professionals" who think they know your baby better than you... you who have carried this baby inside of you for 9 months and now respond 24/7 to his/her needs and wants. And what got me is from one doctor to another they couldn't even agree! Bah! I never used to be a naturalist but if I have another baby it will definitely be with a midwife. Stick to your guns, Desiree... you are the mommy and you are in control!!

February 21, 2009 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger mikki roo said...

Oh, and btw I only breast fed Buster for 3 weeks and I felt like a terrible failure as a mother. With Noodle I was determined and I made it 3 months (yay!) before my body gave up but I felt so proud of myself because I gave it my best. So honestly, however it works out, just remember you gave it your best!!

February 21, 2009 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger MommyTime said...

I am so sorry you are struggling. I know how difficult it can be when nursing doesn't look like those shiny happy posters of (staged) women "nursing" their newborns. Trust your instincts, your midwife, and your lactation consultants, and I promise things will get better.

February 21, 2009 at 2:07 PM  
Blogger Elly said...

I can't believe the arrogance of the paediatrician!! I'm glad that in the very least you have other people (like your midwife and lactation consultant) to offer sound advice - it would be horrific if all you had to go off was the paediatrician!

February 21, 2009 at 3:50 PM  
Blogger heartshapedbox said...

I really hope you have the option of finding a new pediatrician, it's someone you're going to need to have a close relationship with for the next several years of your/Gretchen's life. I am a very emotional driven person, and this is why I 99% of the time see female healthcare professionals, ESPECIALLY when it comes to women's health! No one can ever convince me that a man can a. even understand our female problems when they can't even physically experience it themselves and b. understand how we feel, seeing as men are emotionally wired SO differently than us.

Maybe he needs to retire or get over himself because there's more to medicine than just our closed off western thinking world. There's plenty of medicinal alternatives that have been proven effective. Tell him to get his head out of his ass then "fire" him, lol.

February 21, 2009 at 5:49 PM  
Blogger thewindhover said...

I wish I could offer some good breastfeeding advice but since I'm a bit inexperienced in that area I'll just offer my love and support. You are doing a wonderful job; breastfeeding (at least for the majority of women) is not easy at first; like anything it takes patience and practice - so even if you need to top up your supply with formula for now; if you keep perservering it will definitely become easier and more abundant. The health benefits are immense too. Hang in there! I'll be sending hugs and lactation thoughts your way :p

February 21, 2009 at 6:18 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Caffeine actually stimulates milk production. So, when the doctor acted like YOU were the idiot... well... I just wish I had been there. LOL

Obviously you don't want to start loading up on caffeine because that means Gretchen is also loading up (and she'd never EVER sleep lol) but it's something to take into consideration when you're moderating your fluid intake. =D And it might be something you could ask the lactation consultant about as well.

(You can google "caffeine stimulates milk production" if you'd like to do some reading on it)

February 21, 2009 at 6:59 PM  
Blogger Auntie Ann said...

Not looking forward to these kinds of things!!! Your daughter is so beautiful!

February 21, 2009 at 11:26 PM  
Blogger Pappnase said...

Dear Fawn,

I´m so sorry for you that you have to make such experiences.

I hope you will find another pediatrician and I really hope that your wonderful daughter will gain weight in the next weeks.

You are a great mother. Always listen to you intuition.

I wish you all the best.




February 22, 2009 at 3:04 AM  
Blogger Tracey said...

Grrrrrr.... Crappy doctor. Can you get a new one?

It sounds like you're doing everything you should be doing. Keep up the good work, hon. Having a newborn is never easy, but they're so precious... Good luck with the pumping and I hope that your milk supply increases soon. :)

February 22, 2009 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Desiree Fawn said...

Thanks for all of the support, mes amis! Thankfully I won't have to be seeing much more of this pediatrician, since we have a family doctor who will be the primary health care provider for us and Gretchen! Thank goodness!!

February 22, 2009 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger katevp-a said...

oh Fawn!
I have recently been following your blog via the Noisy Plume, the plume and i have been kindred friends since highschool, and it was funny to me to discover you lived so close to me!
anyhow, I am writing because of this most recent post. I am now a registered nurse and I work on the mother-baby unit in Ottawa. While I have do not yet have babies of my own, I have helped many a mom and babe learn the art of breastfeeding.
I only see the beginning stages of breastfeeding in the hospital, but i have helped out a few friends in the long term as well as gone to a la leche league meeting with some moms that i know.
I am glad that you are at ease with using both breastfeeding and formula (as it's needed). it seems like it can be a such a disappointment, but that little Gretchen is still getting all that wonderful breastmilk. she just needs a little more, but the important thing is that she is getting bigger and stronger and staying healthy!
and try to forget about that old pediatrician, obviously he needs to retire (unfortunately we have a few pediatricians like that in the hospital).
You look like a lovely little family unit.
also, i pray that Gretchen will be like my friend's baby Carys. she suddenly developed monster thighs and the chubbiest cheeks! Now she is a healthy 3 year old.

be encouraged!!

February 22, 2009 at 7:12 PM  
Blogger Desiree Fawn said...

Awe, you are pretty close! Thanks for stopping by my blog & thank you for your support!

February 22, 2009 at 7:59 PM  
Blogger Heart Felt said...

Such a big change in your life....you are doing so well, keep close to your support and ask for help when you need it. You are such a good mom! xx

February 23, 2009 at 12:43 AM  
Blogger Desiree Fawn said...

Merci, merci <3

February 23, 2009 at 8:01 AM  

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