Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Poor Little Punkin

So, Will is getting more yellow and his billirubin count has further increased. He is still not in the "critical danger zone" that requires the special lighting to come to our house, but they are worried that perhaps my breastmilk is not the best thing for him right now. I have been forced away from the good Dr. Google by my parents, friends, and my husband, so I don't really understand all of it, but there is some enzyme in breastmilk that inhibits the natural function of the liver. Sometimes, babies cannot be breastfed if they are not resolving jaundice on their own. I am on a 24 to 48-hour pump and freeze cycle and he is on formula.

This has been a hard pill for me to swallow. I would never be one to judge what another woman chooses to do as far as feeding her baby. I know many very healthy babies who have been formula fed. But based on reading about the benefits of breastfeeding and in consulting with his pediatrician, we had decided that it was worth giving it a shot. So, I did more reading and researching, attended a La Leche meeting, and had daily lactation consultations in the hospital. It wasn't easy, it hurt more than a bit, but we got it down.

And I loved it.

I loved the fact that I finally felt as if my body was doing exactly what it was supposed to do. It was feeding my son. He was gaining weight. He seemed to love it, too. I loved the feeling of absolute closeness, of feeling as if I could be exactly what he needed. I loved that for several hours each day, I had no choice but to be with Will. And who can argue with that? Who can say, "The dishes should be done" when the baby needs to be fed?

Not to say that we can't go back to breastmilk when the jaundice turns around. But I am concerned that he will get used to the far easier sucking that he gets with a bottle. He slurped down his first four ounces with glee. I winced as he sighed with contentment, even though I want what is best for him and his health.

I know this is what being a parent is truly about: doing what is best for your child, even if it makes you feel sad inside. I would never go against the recommendation of his pediatrician, but my heart aches when a bottle is put to his lips. The good news, of course, is that I can always pump and give him breastmilk that way. It's just not quite the same.

Has anyone had any experience getting a baby back on breastfeeding after a break?


JuliaS said...

I had to do a pump and dump for 48 hours with my daughter. She was also a bit tongue-tied which made breastfeeding miserable - but bottle feeding even worse! She couldn't latch on to any bottle nipple that we could find, so trying to feed her was pretty miserable. I was very glad to go back to nursing her. I've had a baby who got sent home 5 days before me, 2 nicu babies, and jaundiced tongue-tied girl who all spent significant time with a bottle. I'm happy to report that I was able to breastfeed them all successfully despite that - to 6 months for one, another 8 and the other two for 13 months.

Good wishes!

Annalien said...

Hope the jaundice clears up soon. I know of a number of women who both breastfed and bottle fed almost from the beginning. I introduced bottles from around 4 to 6 weeks with both my kids to get them used to the bottles, otherwise they refuse them later on and I went back to work after 4 months. It should be fine. If he took the breast from the beginning, he should not have a problem going back to it. Good luck.

Gibson Twins said...

My twins were in a NICU for their first 18 days so the nurses there just bottle fed them high cal formula to get them to gain weight. I did nurse both of them in the NICU and both were successful, however, I was more concerned with the amount they were actually getting (I like numbers), so I kept using bottles so I could be accurate with their feedings.

I did pump at home and give them bottles for the first 2 months, but then succumbed to the ease of pre made formula after that. Neither of mine would nurse successfully at home when we did try, but I was not as persistant as I could have been.

Hang in there, it will probably be just fine. He's a full term baby so likely he will go right back to nursing after this 48 hours. I will be thinking of you!

Waiting Amy said...

Oh Katie, don't worry. My preemie twins have had bottles for the first 2 months, and unfortunately they are both a bit "nipple confused". However, the lactation consult was VERY surprised. She said despite the number of preemies who get many bottles, she really very rarely sees nipple confusion. She is however also VERY hopeful that I will be able to nurse sucessfully. There is a lot of stress in our lives right now and she feels once we get settle in a couple weeks, we will have much more success. She also said that waiting a little longer to try and get the to nurse won't necessarily make it harder. So I'm sticking with bottles for the moment because we have to do our big trip to California. Then we will try again.

I'm sure your smart little guy will pick right back up where he left off.

Samantha said...

I'm sorry about having to abstain from breastfeeding. I'm sure it seems like a personal blow, even though it's not your fault. I can't help you with question, but it sounds like it should be possible to go back.

Polka Dot said...

I'm sorry, Katie. I know how important it is to you to be able to do this. I don't have any advice, but the other commenters seem to say that it'll be ok.

Jen said...

I've heard dozens of stories of women who have been able to go back to breastfeeding. Don't worry about it, you are doing the right thing. :)

Beth said...

What do the LCs say about the BF restriction and jaundice? Sometimes the peds and LCs don't agree about feedings for jaundice. My first son had jaundice and I nursed him exclusively, and it disappeared. He spend some time in the sunshine that came in our window too...

As a current BF Mama, I can say that if you and Will both love nursing, then you should have no problem going back to it - and in the long run, 24-48 hours will be not quite enough time to fall in love with the bottle, but plenty of time for him to miss his Mama! In the meantime, do lots of skin-to-skin time and lying together, and when you can, go right back to exclusively nursing. It will be fine!
Another thought - can you do 1 or 2nursing sessions a day, then the rest formula?

Hang in there, Katie, you're doing a fantastic job!


Jen said...

I'm sorry to hear about the jaundice and what will hopefully be a temporary hold on the breastfeeding. I have no advice obviously. But things never quite go to plan no matter how hard we work at it sometimes. Hopefully you two will be back on track soon.

Julie said...

I don't have any experience with this but just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you! I'd be super bummed if my ped wanted to use formula too...even if it's only for 24-48 hours, I'd still be disappointed.

So lots of hugs are coming your way! Keep up the good work!

Joy said...

No matter how your baby is fed you still love them... and they know that. I can say that I understand what you're feeling completely because I couldn't breastfeed without the help of a shield (which you can only use short-term).

I felt like a failure. But after a couple weeks passed, my emotions settled down, and everyone was content and happy. My two little girls are healthier than a lot of their breastfed peers. I think every child is different, no matter how they're fed.

Anyway, all of that to say--- don't give up yet! He may surprise you and be perfectly happy to switch back. And if he doesn't, don't beat yourself up about it. When he's 12 it won't matter if he had formula or breastmilk.

Kristen said...

When mine were jaundiced, I'd nurse first, then supplement with formula. I hadn't heard from our MD that it was caused by breastmilk - rather they needed more food to poop more - more poop meant the jaundice could work its way out of their bodies.

Nursing then supplementing also meant they would not get so used to the bottle.

Best of luck!

Fertilized said...

Katie- you hang in there - you know what is best for you and your lil man. You go with your gut and that is what is right. As you know i pumped/bottle fed only til A was 6 weeks, then all of a sudden he latched on. He still does both. A few days should not make or break bf-ing. For you do lots of skin to skin. You and he will still feel the closenessa nd still love it. Saying my prayers for you and him.

Just hang in there - those post partum hormones are evil and twisted -and can make you feel worse in a not ideal situation. I am cheering you on from afar and it sounds like there are lots of people making sure you and lil Wil get hte best care

Tracy said...

You've gotten a lot of good advice from better qualified BTDT moms, but I have no doubt you can get back to BFing once little Will is back on track. Hang in there! Maybe contact your local LLL?

Doing great, mama!

Ceophus' Mom said...

Try using First Years Breastflow bottles. It has a plastic nipple within the nipple and the construction is set up so that to get the milk out the baby has to use a sucking motion like breastfeeding.

Pain in the butt to clean, but my son had no problem switching back and forth between these and breastfeeding when we had to use bottles. He will have to work a little harder to get the milk out so he won't get used to chugging down the formula.

Good luck, and congratulations!