Saturday, November 19, 2011

Milk Milk Baby

Feeding my baby. Definitely my biggest concern throughout my pregnancy. Unfortunately our feedings haven't gone according to the plan I laid out for our family.

I had planned to breastfeed exclusively. I was hoping to not even pump for at least the first few weeks as to prevent nipple confusion. I had planned to avoid formula like the plague. Everything I'd read basically called formula poison; and I wasn't about to give my son anything less than the best Mother Nature had to offer.

I really loved the hospital I delivered at, however, I was not a fan of how they handled Harry's feeding situation from birth. When I was in labor one of the nurse's told me that I would not be breastfeed and that Harry would be immediately given a bottle of formula after he was born. I think the reasons given were a) Harry was a preemie and they needed to measure how much he was eating and b) I was on magnesium sulfate during labor (and for 24 hours afterwards), and most people have negative side effects on the drug (I however, had none of them).

Harry's first bottle

The day after I delivered (after Harry was put in the NICU) I did meet with a lactation consultant who brought me a breast pump to encourage my milk to come in. I think I got maybe three drops of colostrum with the pump while at the hospital. When Harry was already three days old, I was finally able to try breastfeeding him. He did latch on, but he never really took to it for longer than a few minutes.

After I was released from the hospital I rented a breast pump to continue to encourage my milk to come in, and to bring the small amounts of colostrum I did produce to the NICU. My milk finally arrived when Harry was about seven days old. Since we brought Harry home last Sunday I've tried to get him to latch a number of times, but it just hasn't worked. It's been more than disappointing, and I've definitely shed a few tears over not being able to breastfeed him. And even though my milk has come in and I am continuing to pump, I just don't make a lot of milk. In a 20 minute pumping session I get anywhere between one and two ounces total, whereas most mothers can produce about three ounces per breast (so I've read).

Ohhhh... and my breast milk isn't good enough on it's own. Because Harry was a low birth weight baby and had a hard time feeding, he was put on the high calorie formula. When giving Harry a breast milk bottle we have to add a scoop of the high calorie formula to bulk it up a bit.

So, right now Harry is eating about two ounces at each feeding. I'm able to give him one to three bottles of breast milk a day, which is better than nothing I guess. And with Ant going back to work this week I don't know how much I'll even be able to pump, but I'm determined to continue to provide my son with the best I can.

I guess the moral of the story is that I should have been more of an advocate for myself in the hospital. I wish I would have discussed his first feeding more with the nurses and tried to see if we couldn't breastfeed first and then supplemented with the formula to make sure he was eating enough. Le sigh...

Okay, enough about my breastfeeding fails. Here are some pictures of my sweet Harry D!

I bought this preemie hat on Amazon. It's kind of oddly shaped, but at least it fits him! 

Harry's first faux hawk!

H-man managed to sleep on his side, which was cute, but hopefully won't happen again!


  1. Don't give up on pumping, you'll start getting more milk! In the first two weeks that's about how much I was getting and now (after 8 weeks of pumping) I can get anywhere from 6-14 ounces per session. Morning pumps get you the most since that's when your hormone levels are the highest so do not skip those pumps if you can help it. It's frustrating for the first 2-4 weeks but gets much easier, hang in there!

  2. Ditto Megan. I had supply problems with Mara and I managed to pump exclusively for twelve months. Once you get into a routine, it will be much easier for you. Keep up on your water, increase pumping sessions for a few days and you should see an improvement. Those first few weeks take awhile to establish your supply. Most of all try not to stress about it, that can easily hurt your supply (easier said than done...I know, I remember it being tough!) AND, don't ever feel bad about what Harry is getting---formula is not the devil and a happy stress free mama = happy baby :)


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