Really I could write a different account every time I’m asked, but a few things hold true. My baby was losing weight. I let her at the breast as much as was possible, over 18 hours a day, I couldn’t pump the milk out, so the conclusion became that it wasn’t all there.
As to why I’m still here? In some ways I was stubborn, in some ways I fell into it, and in some ways I wanted to prove those who told me to give up wrong (oh how I wanted them to be wrong).
How we really got here though, well I don’t know. I probably have some hormonal issues and I may lack glandular tissue. I don’t know which or if both even are the issue. She seemed to suck ok, but maybe that wasn’t right either. No one ever said the latch was off (and many people checked it) and the main difference now is that she has a bigger mouth. I have no idea if there is underlying posterior tongue tie or lip tie. She doesn’t hang on to the breast as well as she might be expected to, but I don’t know what is normal. There’s a lot of maybes and after we started supplementing due to her weight loss I got no help with breastfeeding at all. So here we are. I made my own way and accidentally did what I likely would have been advised to do in this situation, if I’d had anything like advice.
So why are you here? You are probably looking for information on combination feeding, low milk supply or breast feeding problems. I’ll share what I know, what I wish I’d been able to find when everyone told me this doesn’t happen. Maybe by putting this information out there in one place you won’t have to reinvent the wheel.
My first piece of advice is make sure someone is advising you, not brushing you off. I was so lost and helpless that I thought I was getting advice, but I was being brushed off. I didn’t know what can be done in this situation and I missed some opportunities for diagnosis.
So, if your baby isn’t gaining weight, make sure your care providers do some of the following:
Pre/post feed weighings to check intake
Watch you feed for at least 20 minutes, if not longer. Checking not just latch, but chin movement and swallowing and trying to increase both.
Advise you on how to proceed with supplementation without losing your supply
Help you rent a hospital grade pump if you need it
Examine your breasts for IGT
Do some bloodwork to check various hormone levels
Talk to you about galactalogues or medications
Refer you to a specialist, be it a lactation consultant, a BF friendly pediatrician, or something else to help you with whatever they think your issue might be. Even if not much can be done, something should be done just to help you feel that you’ve done your best in finding out what is causing the problem. I think a lot of my guilt stems from me not realizing at the time how badly I was being failed. No one should have to do it alone. Chances are though, if you’re reading this you aren’t getting the help you feel you need.