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Breastfeeding Problems: My Happy Ending (Part 3 of 3)

(Go back to Part 1 and Part 2)

My new little guy is 4 weeks old today and our breastfeeding journey has had several challenges of it’s own. After his delivery, I was trembling and somewhat incoherent. We later found out this was possibly because I have postpartum preeclampsia. When I was finally taken to my room and my new son was brought to me, I felt like we already had a lot of catching up to do. I tried to get him to latch on, but it just wasn’t happening.

New Breastfeeding Problems

Breastfeeding-Problems-Happy-EndingsI proceeded to give him a bottle and he seemed to choke on it. I called the nurse and he was quickly taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I tried to stay clam, but it was literally hours before we got an update or I was able to see him again. They ran many test and everything checked out just fine, but he was kept in the NICU for the following day for observation. 

He did great in the NICU, but as soon as he came out and back to my room it was like a re-run of the same choking nightmare as the day before. Back to the NICU for another day. Finally he made the sound in front of our pediatrician, who quickly told us the choking sound was due to a thin larynx and being excited. Nothing to worry about, although the sound wasn’t pleasant, there was nothing to worry about and should dissipate over time.

Breastfeeding Problems CrystalWhile in the NICU, I would go to feed him every 3 hours. He only latched on once in that time. My yet-to-be-diagnosed postpartum preeclampsia had me exhausted and asleep nearly every minute I wasn’t in the NICU. I would think to myself after leaving the NICU that I would just take a short nap and then pump, but before the pumping would happen I was being woken up to go back to the NICU to feed my son.

On day 3 after my son’s birth, we were able to go home and I could hold my bundle of joy as often and for as long as I liked. I was so tired and felt so horrible. I didn’t remember it being this hard with my other children. He hadn’t latched on again since the one time in the NICU, but I was sure we would get the hang of this. I was able to pump about 1/2 of what he was eating at this point and I was thrilled. That was more than I was ever able to pump or probably produce for my older son.

Postpartum Preeclampsia

I was home from the hospital for 3 days when unstoppable shaking and a tremendous headache and neck pain found me in the Emergency Room. This is when I was diagnosed with postpartum preeclampsia and placed back in the hospital for the following 3 days. I wasn’t even able to get myself to the bathroom, I have no idea where I found the motivation to pump. That being said, I only did so about half as often as I needed to and my milk supply was slowly becoming less with each pumping session. Adding to a depression that was setting in from being away from my newborn was a fear of loosing my milk.

Breastfeeding after Cancer: My Happy Ending

Breastfeeding ProblemsNow, my son is eating about every 3 hours (and I should add he is latching on perfectly each time), and I am only supplementing with formula with 1 or 2 of the feedings a day. We know it’s time to supplement when a feeding takes twice as long as normal and instead of waiting his normal 3 hours after a feeding,  he only waits about 45 to 90 minutes before becoming hungry again.

Depending on what I am doing at the time he is either fed a bottle immediately or he latches on and we switch from one breast to the other twice then feed him a bottle. The later process takes around 2 hours, so for it to happen I have to be able to sit for that long. I am very happy about how breastfeeding is going this time around. I haven’t worked very hard to increase my supply yet, I decided to wait until I’m totally over the postpartum preeclampsia (which still very often leaves me completely wiped out and has me taking many more pills than I’m really comfortable with).

We are using 3 to 6 ounces of formula a day at this point, and I have faith with a little bit of effort we can decrease or possibly eliminate the need for formula most days. I know I will never have enough ‘extra’ milk to leave for a sitter or store it up for after we stop breastfeeding, but I have to say that I am really impressed with the amount of milk I am producing. I am very excited about breastfeeding over the coming months and sharing this experience with my new son.

CrystalCrystal is the momma to four spectacular little blessings and the wife to the most amazing, compassionate man ever. She has 11 years experience as an educator either in public schools or through homeschooling. She enjoys using her creative side to educate her kiddos, working with kids in her community, and doing crafts. You can follow her on her blog On The Go Homeschoolfacebooktwitter,pinterest, and instagram.

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